Sizing Up The RAWC

Jason Gallagher didn’t realize how big it was. Now he’s inspired.

Shayna Legg didn’t realize how tall it was. Now she’s eager to get to the top.

Those were the reactions of two OBU students to the grand opening of the Recreation and Wellness Center, and the building’s 29-foot-high climbing wall.

When Gallagher ventured into the center, nicknamed the RAWC, he was amazed by the size of the 59,500-square-foot facility.

“It inspired me to work out and to start running, really for the first time in three years,” said the junior public relations major.

Before going home to Mansfield, Texas, for the Christmas break, Gallagher utilized the center every day since it opened on the afternoon of Nov. 29. He was already looking ahead to 2008.

“I feel pretty excited about going there in J-Term,” he said.

For Legg, the center has already provided a learning experience. By the end of December she had scaled the climbing wall twice  picking up a popular fitness sport she had never tried before.

“The second time was a lot better than the first,” said the Prague junior. “The first time, I climbed two steps from the top and I looked down and freaked out.”

Along with her new-found climbing ability, Legg also has expertise in many of the cardio and strength machines found in the center. She is part of a staff of about 90 students who run the place under the guidance of Amy Lassetter Riggins, ’84, director of recreation and wellness.

Riggins has heard many reactions similar to Jason and Shayna’s in the first month of the center’s operation.

“There is a lot of a ‘wow, this is cool’ response from students,” she said. “I see a lot of energy and satisfaction on people’s faces  both students and faculty and staff.”

That response fits in well with what Riggins articulates as the mission and focus of the recreation and wellness program.

“We want to encourage wellness behaviors for everyone,” she explained. “It goes beyond the walls of the center into a campus atmosphere of wellness.”

The RAWC is helping to inspire individuals across Bison Hill.

“It makes people aware of how God has designed our bodies to move. As we are more active we are better able to fully serve Him with more strength and stamina to fully do what God has called us to do,” said Riggins.

“I’m glad the center and program are named ‘recreation and wellness,’” she said. “It really needs to be both aspects.”

She has a three-pronged emphasis for the program: helping individuals increase activity, exercise regularly, and become more aware of their food choices.