Wellness Series

Recreation & Wellness has created a monthly Wellness Speaker Series to take a dive into wellness beyond the basics. Come explore wellness topics with a lens of intersectionality, health equity and diversity. Our hope is to create a space for students to learn from a wide array of speakers with diverse lived-experiences in well-being; opening eyes and minds to experiences beyond their own.

*Please register so we can confirm we have enough seating or send a Zoom link for virtual participation.

Presentation Topic


Date & Time


What is Wellness?

Katie Jourdan and WIT Peer Educators

September 8, 2021

5:00-6:00 pm

Kirkhof Center, Room 1142

or Online

Self-Compassion: Understanding Self-care, Compassion and Loving Yourself (INT 100 approved)

Kristy Dayson, MSW

October 6, 2021

5:00-6:00 pm

Kirkhof Center, Room 1142

or Online

Wellness Beyond Religion (INT 100/201 approved)

Kaufman Interfaith Institute

November 10, 2021

5:00-6:00 pm

Kirkhof Center, Room 1142

or Online

Addressing Health Inequities in the City of Grand Rapids (INT100/201 approved)

The Urban League of West Michigan

Jahaven Haye and Gregg Hampshire

December 1, 2021

5:00-6:00 pm

Kirkhof Center, Room 1142

or Online

September 8

What is Wellness?

Wellness may seem like a buzzword - especially in the time of social media, self-care “gurus” or the ongoing pandemic - but when you really dive into it, wellness is a life-long journey of finding and achieving our full potential. This session will introduce you to the 8 dimensions of wellness, explore how wellness intersects with all of our identities, and explain how you can explore and enhance your well-being at GVSU. You will get a baseline understanding of wellness before our other speakers in the series dive deep into a variety of topics.


A picture of Katie Jourdan smiling on top of a mountain with lake peyto in the background

Katie Jourdan and WIT Peer Educators

Katie is the Student Health Promotions Coordinator with Recreation & Wellness. She has worked as a health educator for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians and with District Health Department #10 working  in nutrition, sexual health and substance abuse prevention among youth and young adults. Katie received her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University majoring in Public Health Education and Health Promotion, Spanish, and minoring in Nutrition. She got her Master of Public Health in Health Behavior & Health Education from the University of Michigan. Katie spends her free time hiking, doing yoga, traveling and eating donuts (mostly in moderation).

October 6

Self-Compassion: Understanding Self-care, Compassion and Loving Yourself (INT100 Approved)

Self-compassion is all about taking care of yourself and understanding how to accept yourself with kindness and love. Attendees will learn to identify what self-care and self-compassion is and simple ways to implement self-compassion into your everyday life.

Kristy, wearing glasses with long brown hair, smiling in a selfie. She is wearing a gray sweater.

Kristy Dayson, MSW

Kristy is a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Kristy graduated with a Bachelors and Masters in Social Work from Grand Valley in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Kristy is currently a Home Based Therapist working with children, adolescents and their families. Kristy served as a Youth Services Coordinator for her tribe for 6 years. Kristy has been involved with many local, state and national youth leadership organizations since her teenage years.

November 10

Wellness Beyond Religion (INT 100/201 Approved)

This event is also now part of the GVSU Teach-in as "Activism and Wellness with an Interfaith Perspective" and as such will be a virtual session. If you still want an in-person experience, we will be having a "watch party" in Kirkhof 1142 and a short discussion session after the speakers conclude.

When it comes to wellness, we're no strangers to things like yoga, meditation, breath exercise, and fasting. Yet, many of these now common techniques and disciplines find their original home in the rich cultural and traditions of specific communities. This workshop will offer a discussion of such wellness practices and the spiritual traditions out of which they grew.

An image of flowers and medicinal beverage in a copper cup

Kaufman Interfaith Institute

In promoting interfaith understanding and mutual respect, the Kaufman Interfaith Institute offers a broad range of programming (over 200 events/initiatives each year) that seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable West Michigan Community for persons of diverse cultural and religious/secular/spiritual identities.

The spirit of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute is represented in the cooperative programs held in the community to enlighten, inform, and promote inclusivity. These events bring together diverse voices and worldview traditions to find common ground, foster interfaith cooperation, and elevate individual experiences and stories.

Whether it is working with others in the community to host a healthy discussion about polarizing issues or organizing celebrations that welcomes all and encourages learning through differences, the institute has found great success carrying out its mission through these community collaborations.

December 1

Addressing Health Inequities in the City of Grand Rapids (INT 100/201 Approved)

Health disparities in Greater Grand Rapids, MI continues to be an issue for BIPOC communities in the City of Grand Rapids. In the Urban League of West Michigan's review of public health data in their 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment, the issues faced by communities of color were identified as significant within the city and more disparate than other cities throughout the nation. In this presentation, Urban League staff will discuss the issues at hands, their roots, and discuss evidence-based solutions to overcome these inequities.

picture of a Black male standing, smiling in front of an ABC 7 Chicago logo wearing a salmon colored button down shirt and blue dress pants.

The Urban League of West Michigan - Jahaven Haye

Jahaven Haye is a young native from Negril Jamaica, who prides himself as a poised leader with a distinctive chameleon-like work ethic. Jahaven firmly believes that every child can learn and must learn, a mantra instilled in him from a young age.

He is a recent first generation graduate from Grand Valley State University where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in 2019. Jahaven was a student-athlete, peer mentor, male mentor and the Vice President & Community Service Outreach chair for his fraternity; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Jahaven began his professional career working for the historic nonprofit civil rights organization; Urban League of West Michigan.

Jahaven currently works as the Youth Development Specialist for the Center of Health, Wellness and Youth. He oversees the Our Girls Rock and Urban Fellows youth programs (grades 9-12); where he focuses on developing programs that are critical to addressing systemic and societal issues especially faced by students of color. These critical life skills surround professional branding, personal branding, S.T.E.A.M, Entrepreneurship and so much more. Jahaven is adamant that young people should be at the forefront of every conversation regarding their future. He is a person that leads by example and supports philanthropic efforts in the community. He has worked for the City of Grand Rapids Grow 1000 program, formally served as the Community Outreach Chair for BL²END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions) and serves on the Grand Valley State’s Young Alumni Council Engagement Team.

headshot of a white male with brown hair smiling in a blue suit

The Urban League of West Michigan - Gregg Hampshire

The Urban League of West Michigan proudly serves African Americans and other Communities of Color in the greater Grand Rapids area as well as Muskegon County, metropolitan Muskegon; specifically Muskegon Heights.

Urban League of West Michigan is a multi-service, non-profit impact agency, organized in 1943, with an overarching goal to promote stability among African American families and racial inclusion in our community. Our range of programs can benefit anyone in need of employment and career development, housing and homeless prevention, education and health, wellness and youth development; however, our target is to ensure we are meeting the needs of African Americans in the greater Grand Rapids area. We serve people from all economic levels - from area professionals to those living within under- resourced neighborhoods.

Gregg Hampshire is the Director, Center for Health, Wellness, and Youth at the Urban League of West Michigan. He oversees their Tobacco Cessation, Youth Development, and Violence Prevention programs. In 2021, his team launched a new coalition focusing on Black Health Equity for the City of Grand Rapids and was selected as the implementing agency to address growing violence in the community through the Cure Violence program.

Winter 2022 Events

Stay tuned for our Winter 2022 events and dates! We are planning to dive into sexual health, identities in the outdoors, soul/community care, and body identity.

Logo for WIT: Wellness Information Team in black and white with the logo for Recreation & Wellness: Division of Student Affairs

Can't make it to the events? Check out our WIT Peer Education programming to learn more about wellness at GVSU.