The USF Health WELL Grand Opening Celebration
The new community space at the USF Health WELL is now open for business, offering a new dining facility, The Table at Four Corners, among other beneficial additions for interdisciplinary student and faculty use.
In grand USF style, the ribbon-cutting ceremony included USF Health leadership and excited students thrilled to have the long awaited space, part of Phase II of the total project. Everything from the choice of food to the selection of the furniture came from student input and ideas.
“This is a space for students to gather together, to nurture and support one another, located in the heart of the USF Health campus,” said Joe Ford, assistant vice president for USF Health Shared Student Services. Ford and colleagues worked tirelessly alongside student leaders to bring the concept of the community space to fruition.
“This is really a day to celebrate USF Health,” said Charles Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. “The WELL is the glue that brings all the different student groups together to create a culture of connectivity and wellness.”
The expansion not only includes a new dining area for students, but also a patio area, study rooms, a serenity room and a lactation room. The WELL has over 12,000 square feet of indoor space and 3,000 square feet of landscaped patio space to accommodate students and faculty.
Former Advisory Board student member and USF alum, Ruan Cox, PhD, describes the WELL as “a shared space that impacts all disciplines.” Cox was part of the initial planning of the WELL through the Student Advisory Board and emphasized that student ideas really do impact the growth and development of USF Health as a whole. “This space was designed by us and for us,” Cox said.
University of South Florida College of Nursing student Cecelia Ferguson shared her excitement about the dining options available at The Table at Four Corners, a name decided on through a naming contest to represent the four USF Health Colleges coming together over a meal at the new WELL space. “The selection of The Rising Roll Gourmet Café is the result of a student taste-off last year,” Ferguson said. “This café will provide healthy food options, such as vegan and vegetarian offerings, which is really great for healthy food choices.”
Rising Roll Gourmet is part of the newly expanded dining area that also includes a Central Market convenience store. Both locations will be housed within The Table at Four Corners.“We are honored to be a part of the food service offering at USF and appreciate their commitment to fresh gourmet food. We look forward to serving the students, faculty, and staff,” said Mike Lassiter, president of the Rising Roll Franchising Company.
Starting Monday, Rising Roll Gourmet will be open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. Central Market hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.
The WELL phase II expansion has attained Gold LEED certification status, incorporating sustainable options wherever possible. The design favors green and gold accents to complement USF colors and has lots of details to remind students to “Be well, live well and eat well.”
Morsani College of Medicine student Lauren Terpak was involved in the initial grand opening of phase I of The WELL, and was particularly pleased with the Leadership and Learning Room that will be available to students.“The name says it all,” Terpak said. “It’s a place for greatness, where ideas, collaborations between disciplines, and new friendships continue to shape health care, starting now in our USF community and beyond.”
The next part of the project, Phase III, is expected to bring a fitness center, set to open in Spring 2017, and an additional 12,600 square feet of space that is still being planned by Shared Student Services.
School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences student Stephen Brock is encouraged by the new fitness facility being developed. “The fitness center at the WELL is going to be a central addition to the USF Health community, “ Brock said. “With a myriad of exercise modalities offering, spanning from group classes to state-of-the-art equipment, this facility can meet a majority of health and fitness needs.”
College of Pharmacy student Reema Rifaie shared the importance of adding the Serenity Room, a space to promote overall student wellness. “The serenity room offers students a place to pray, meditate or simply seek a quiet moment in the midst of all the challenges they may face with academics and busy schedules.”
USF College of Public Health student Nathanael Stanley shared his excitement about the sense of community that the dining facility will bring for students at USF Health. “I have to admit I’m excited about the new dining center,” Stanley said. “I love food. I also understand its significance to society. Food is a method of celebration. It brings people together.”
The interdisciplinary collaboration and sense of community of a shared space for USF students and faculty is the main theme of the USF Health WELL, and now, with this official opening, let the connectivity and positivity of the environment bring on that sense of togetherness. Let the good times roll!
Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Office of Communications