Section: News

Cox Center launches ‘Owl Be Outside’ wellness program

On Sept. 1, the Cox Health and Counseling Center launched its newest wellness program, ‘Owl Be Outside.’ Students participating in the program earn points by taking part in self-directed outdoor activities, such as playing lawn games, going on walks and attending certain Kenyon-sponsored events, which are announced through monthly emails. For the month of September, activities include outdoor painting at the Brown Family Environmental Center and playing capture the flag outside the Lowry Center. 

“The main idea behind the program is we hope students will see and receive the benefits of spending more time outdoors,” Student Council Safety and Wellness Committee Chairperson Madeline Vandeberg ’25 wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We also hope this leads to change beyond the duration of the program leading students to continue to keep spending time outside after the program ends.”

Participants keep track of their points on a personal Google Sheet. Taking part in highlighted Kenyon activities is worth 10 points, while every twenty minutes spent outside is worth 2 points. Students can sign up for Owl Be Outside at any time in the year by using the link posted on the official website

Students can earn prizes such as Hydroflasks and sunglasses by earning points. There is no point threshold to earn these prizes. As long as a participant earns points in a given month, they are entered into the raffle for that month’s featured items. According to Vandeberg, this is because Owl Be Outside is not a competition; it is about encouraging students to enjoy their time outdoors. 

Research indicates a positive correlation between time spent outdoors and mental health, according to Associate Director of Health Promotion Holly Levin, who spearheaded the program. According to a study published in the Journal of American College Health in 2022, spending even just 10 to 20 minutes in nature can significantly improve mood among college students. 

Vandeberg encouraged students to participate in the program. “It is an opportunity to try new things, attend campus events and benefit from the many different benefits the outdoors provide all while having the chance to win prizes for doing so,” she said. 

Vandeberg requested that any questions about the program be directed to wellness@kenyon.edu. 

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