Built for Wellness

How where we work and learn helps us LIVE WELL

“Built for Wellness: How where we work and learn helps us LIVE WELL” is an initiative to inform our faculty, staff and students about the thoughtful and evidence-based design of Jane E. Heminger Hall to advance and promote the well-being of its occupants. Each month, we delve into a different building element, sharing insightful facts on how each aspect supports our goal of being the healthiest university in the world.

November 2023


Comfort is a word and relative term for every one of us. When comfortable, we can relax, connect with people, and accomplish our best work. Thermal comfort is an important aspect of overall comfort level. In past times, fire was used to help us keep our caves, tents, homes and rooms well-lit. Notably, our college has many features designed to promote comfort and enhance our wellness, and one often used during the winter months and that cannot be undervalued is our fireplace in the Atrium of Jane E. Heminger Hall. The fireplace is beautifully nestled on the first floor of our building to conveniently provide the space for heat to rise and warm everyone in the building. The fireplace also provides an inviting atmosphere and comforting environment; it serves as a gathering space and promotes social interactions and community. Also, a study suggests that the crackling sound of fire and the sight of flickering flames can reduce blood pressure, promote relaxation, reduce stress, and increase a state of calm. Overall, the thoughtfully constructed fireplace in Heminger Hall contributes to a conducive and supportive environment for the mental well-being of our faculty, staff, students and visitors. The next time its chilly outside and you need some warmth, be sure to grab your laptop or favorite book and relax by the fireplace in Heminger Hall.


October 2023: Mind — Access to Nature

As the colors of the leaves change and the weather becomes a bit chillier, October is the perfect month for our faculty, staff, and students to enjoy getting together and learning with one another in a peaceful, warm environment, especially in a building with visually appealing and safe interior finishes and furniture. Research shows that environments have strong implications on productivity.

students in white coat collaborating in classroom in Heminger Hall

Here in Heminger Hall, our interior finishes are conducive to our mental well-being. The combination of soft grays and wood paneling on the walls and the mixture of mauves and browns alongside vibrant pops of scarlet on other chairs and sofas promote tranquility and relaxation. Inspirational phrases posted throughout the building remind us of our purpose as an essential element to help us thrive where we work and learn. Additionally, the thoughtful placement of comfortable seating areas, quiet study spaces, and eye-catching artwork of nature contribute to a positive and restorative environment to enhance your creativity, focus, and a sense of community within our building. Finally, the materials selected for finishes and furniture comply with rigorous design standards for limitations on volatile compounds, as a vital component in support of our health and well-being.

students studying in comfortable scarlet chairs in Heminger Hall atrium

September 2023: Light — Exposure and Education

atrium of Heminger Hall


This month's feature focuses on the intentional use of technical glass throughout the building. Walking around Heminger Hall, you will quickly notice a plethora of large windows. One of the main benefits of technical glass is that it optimizes natural light transmission while minimizing unwanted glare and reflections, promoting visual comfort for those engaged in long hours of studying and working with complex materials, because our bodies respond to increased national light by becoming more alert (CDC NIOSH light and circadian rhythms). Also, because of its energy containment capabilities, technical glass aids in maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the building, which is adaptable throughout all seasons. Overall, the technical glass throughout the building helps create a space where we all, faculty, staff, and students alike, can be our best selves and thrive.

detailed photo of glass panes with frit