Syracuse University’s Barnes Center at The Arch Sets Standard for Student Wellness


Syracuse, N.Y. – A celebration of the Barnes Center at The Arch – Syracuse University’s pioneering health, wellness and recreation complex – was held on Friday, Sept. 13, at the newly renovated facility.

Guest speakers included Kent Syverud, Chancellor and President; Steve Barnes ‘82, Chairman Emeritus, Board of Trustees; and event emcee Sean McDonough ’84, ESPN sportscaster.

National trends show college students are increasingly faced with challenges related to mental health, stress and overall wellbeing. According to the American College Health Association, approximately 87 percent of college students report feeling overwhelmed by their workload. Additionally, a report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health shows that the number of college students receiving mental health services has increased by 55 percent over the last three years. Wellness encompasses mind, body, spirit and community, and addressing these challenges requires a holistic, integrated approach to support student success in and out of the classroom.

Barnes Center at The Arch

The Barnes Center at The Arch includes all campus health-and-wellness services in one central and convenient location. Those services include counseling, health promotion, health care and recreation. Among the many features are a pharmacy, Crowley Family MindSpa, Walters Pet Therapy Room, smoothie bar, multipurpose activity court, rock climbing center, indoor track, new and improved pool, and esports gaming room.

“There’s no wrong door – our services are integrating together, not just moving in together,” said Dr. Cory Wallack, interim executive director of student health and wellness and a national leader in the field of student mental health. “What’s unique about this model is that a student who makes an appointment to see a health care provider can be prescribed other opportunities within the Barnes Center to benefit their holistic well-being, such as an appointment with a personal trainer, relaxation training at the Crowley Family MindSpa, or participation in one of our outdoor recreation programs.”

The fitness centers are just one of many ways to be well at the Barnes Center at The Arch. (SU photo)

The Barnes Center at The Arch brings together counseling, health care, health promotion, and recreation staff and services into one central hub for student wellness. Different from our peers, we did more than co-locate these units; we integrated the functions so that the student health-and-wellness experience is holistic, diverse and interconnected. Applying a stepped-care model, the approach allows for personalization based on the student’s level of intervention needed – from the most serious mental health crisis to self-guided meditation tools.

So what does this look like in practice?

 A student makes an appointment to see a health care provider because of body aches. When the provider meets with the student, they learn that the student isn’t eating regularly and has been spending a lot of time in their room alone. In addition to any medical services needed, the provider prescribes other opportunities within the Barnes Center to benefit the student’s holistic well-being, such as an appointment with a nutritionist and going on an interesting outdoor adventure trip. Some of the Barnes Center at The Arch features include: • Drop-in fitness classes • Group therapy • Indoor track • Meditation • Crowley Family MindSpa • Peer education • Walters Pet Therapy Room • Pharmacy • Psychiatry • Recreation/lap pool • SoulScape • Yoga

The Barnes Center at The Arch was made possible through the vision and generosity of Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Steven W. Barnes ’82 and his wife, Deborah.