If you have been on the St. Paul campus anytime since May, you have seen the large hole in the ground just off of the main campus quad. If you have not actually seen the hole, you may have read about it. In the fall of 2010, this hole will have been transformed into the new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. It is well on its way to becoming a reality. Obviously this will provide our students, athletes and non-athletes alike, with wonderful facilities in which to exercise their bodies. After all, educating the whole student means attention to mind, spirit and body. Whether students want to train with weights, swim, or run, among other options, the new facility will have much to offer.

What you may not realize is that the new complex also will house an important academic department of the College of Arts and Sciences: The Department of Health and Human Performance, otherwise known as HHP. Under the leadership of Professor John Rohwer, HHP has as its core mission “a drive to understand and encourage the human body in motion.” Students in HHP are working to become health and physical education teachers, physical therapists or community health workers, to name just a few of the many career possibilities. Their classroom work is enhanced by important internship opportunities and the possibility of collaborating with faculty members, such as Bridget Duoos or Dan Carey, on various research projects. With support from outside granting agencies, the new building will be outfitted with equipment that will significantly enhance these undergraduate research opportunities.

All of this is rooted in collaboration. The program and the university’s Athletic Department work closely together, sharing facilities not simply to maximize resource efficiency (though that is important) but also to draw on one another’s expertise to enhance both our academic programs focused on physical well-being and our athletic programs. This partnership is truly to the benefit of St. Thomas students, athletes and non-athletes alike.

So when the new complex opens, don’t just stop by the gym or the pool, come by and say hello to the faculty and students in Health and Human Performance. They will be happy to talk with you about the academic side of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex.

Read more from CAS Spotlight