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Meet the PlayMakers: bringing play and wellness to you between classes

October 17, 2018

If you’re looking for a way to relax between classes, learn about resources to help both your mental and physical health or just want to play some giant Jenga and feel like a kid again, there’s a new team on campus who wants to help.

Meet the PlayMakers — a group of students who work through Sun Devil Fitness to promote a variety of health and wellness topics. They want students to become more aware about their mental health, physical health and nutrition and raise awareness about the resources that the Sun Devil Fitness Complex has to offer. Their aim is to bring the resources to you by visiting different parts of campus.

Two PlayMakers at a Live Well ASU table

“It’s a getting out there, boots on the ground type of engagement,” said Katie Cross, a wellness supervisor and sophomore studying sports business and sustainability.

The PlayMakers use different activities such as playing ring toss, Uno or popping bubble wrap to engage with students while discussing a variety of different topics such as stress management.

“What we really like to do is while people are playing and engaging with us, we like to be able to talk about health promotion and ways to make ASU a healthier and happier place,” she said.

All ASU campuses began sending PlayMaker teams out starting in the fall 2018 semester. In Tempe they post up several days a week in varying locations: hosting games in the atrium of the Farmer education building or in front of Noble Library, leading meditation with Herberger students or hosting dog-petting events in the SDFC lobby. Keep an eye out for their orange PlayMaker shirts.

Jacob McMichael, a wellness supervisor and junior studying digital culture, said, “It’s such a big campus and there’s so much information all the time, it’s hard to pick through and see which information is the most valuable for each person, but we’re trying to get it out there.”

McMichael said it’s important for students to stop and focus on themselves every once in a while.

“It’s very easy to get into the rhythm of going to class, not having time for anything then just going home, and you really are crunched for time studying for homework, staying up late, but you need to take breaks throughout the day, or you’re just going to get tired out too quickly,” he said.

Cross said the PlayMakers like to target different times of the year. For example, during Homecoming they make a Homecoming safety pack and during flu season they like to hand out hand sanitizer. As finals approach, time management, study tips and stress relief will be topics they’ll cover.

“It’s a little bit of doing hopscotch on their way to classes. It’s really a moment to feel like a kid again,” Cross said.