Recreation & Wellbeing

Play Hard. Get Fit. Live Well.

At Recreation & Wellbeing, we move Badgers to play hard, get fit, and live well. Our facilities, programs, and services are designed to remove barriers, build community, and support student well-being. From group fitness classes to intramural sports, personal training, massage therapy, and more, we offer a variety of opportunities for students to find their fit on campus.

In 2014, students passed a referendum approving our facilities master plan, allowing us to design and build two state-of-the-art buildings and two synthetic turf fields. With the Near West Fields and Nicholas Recreation Center officially open, our sights are now set on the new Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center and Near East Fields, both of which are expected to open in 2023. Join us in building state-of-the-art facilities and developing programming to help Badgers play hard, get fit, and be well.

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Interesting in supporting a Sport Club? Learn more here.

86% of students surveyed about Rec Well agree that their involvement has helped them develop healthier habits.

Rec Well employs 700 students every year.

91% of students surveyed about Rec Well agreed that services Rec Well provides have improved their mental health.

Building a Movement

The future of health and well-being at UW-Madison is bright. Now that the state-of-the-art Nicholas Recreation Center is open, we’re looking ahead to the next building project of our Master Plan, a $113 million facility that will replace the Natatorium. Construction began in early 2021 and the new building is expected to open in 2023, featuring eight courts, a 25-yard recreational pool, four multipurpose studios, an indoor jogging track, ice rink, and cardio and strength spaces. The new Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center also includes a dedicated area for well-being services, where students can enhance their physical and mental health through programs like yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and peer wellness coaching.

With generous donor support, peer wellness coaching launched in spring 2021. The program trains students in motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and peer education so they can successfully coach other students on their wellbeing journeys in both 1:1 and group formats. Grounded in the seven aspects of well-being and designed in partnership with the Samaritan Family Wellness Foundation and the Center for Healthy Minds, we are excited to see the future growth and impact of peer wellness coaching on campus.

Above all, we exist to help students build healthy habits. Whether they come to us to relieve academic stressors, learn a new skill, or find their campus community, students need our support, and we are excited to continue building the facilities, programs, and services that can serve them best.

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"Education isn't just about the mind. It's about figuring out how to live one's life as an effective and productive person, and that means integrating both the mind and the body."

Chancellor Becky Blank

Real Students, Real Stories

“I think a facility like this will be essential to a lot of students that are looking to not only be fit, but just be well.”

“This space will really help students achieve the health that they need and desire, and being able to do that is a luxury that not many students can afford.”

“Group fitness classes always get my day off to a wonderful start. The instructors are motivating, accommodating, and friendly.”

“I met some of my best friends through club sports and now we continually work out at Rec Well together.”

“I really appreciate having a space where I can regularly go to move around, relax, and be well.”

“I think having physical activity for all students is essential, especially after the long six months of staying at home. Appreciation is an understatement. The Nick is awesome.”


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