The Science of Well-Being
With the grand opening of the Randall Lewis Center for Well-Being and Research, the university charts a new course.
November 19, 2019
On October 18, amidst the fanfare of Homecoming and Family Weekend, the University of La Verne officially launched a bold new initiative: the Randall Lewis Center for Well-Being and Research.
The shared vision of President Devorah Lieberman, lead donor and well-being enthusiast Randall Lewis, and several faculty members, the Lewis Center will provide every student with the knowledge, tools, and support to learn about and improve their own well-being — both during their time at the University of La Verne and throughout the rest of their lives. It will also act as a hub for faculty and student research, and engage in community partnerships to develop public programming and resources, ultimately aiming to improve the well-being of the entire region.
Taking the helm at the Lewis Center is Sarah Rodman-Alvarez, who joined the university in July following a nationwide search. Rodman-Alvarez, a nationally-recognized public health expert specializing in health equity and environmental sustainability, is the first Bauccio Endowed Executive Director of the center. She earned a PhD from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, where she worked for seven years at the school’s Center for a Livable Future, which focuses on eliminating social disparities in health by improving food and agriculture.
The University of La Verne’s commitment to educating the whole student — mind, body, and spirit — aligns with Rodman-Alvarez’s background and professional philosophy.
“Equipping students to thrive can no longer be limited to the classes they are taking to fulfill their degree requirements,” she said. “We must do right by them, by building their resilience in our rapidly shifting world in a multifaceted way. This means addressing mental health, social connectedness, finances, navigating the work world, navigating families, and much more.”
Rodman-Alvarez is beginning her tenure by listening to students to gauge their needs. She distributed a brief survey at the center’s soft opening in early October, and has been visiting classrooms and holding open office hours and listening sessions. She has also been offering tours of the center.
“Listening to student priorities around their well-being — what they are concerned about, what they want to learn about — is critically important to me in deciding the direction of programming for the center,” she said.
As Rodman-Alvarez takes the time to get to know the students and the region, the greater future of the Lewis Center has yet to unfold. For now, students and other campus constituents are enjoying the benefits of a new and expanded fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment that can stream Netflix or Hulu during workouts, or track workout progress over time. The fitness center, along with several studios where well-being programming is already being offered, form the core of the new facility.
Follow the Lewis Center on Instagram.