While gaming is one of the more common VR applications, the technology has proven useful as a health and fitness tool.
With a focus on health, Loyola Marymount University has implemented VR to help students reduce stress and anxiety.
Yesterday, the Associated Students of Loyola Marymount University (ASLMU) announced its new VR program focused on supporting student wellness.
ASLMU says the program utilizes creativity apps like First Touch, where users can paint in VR with brushes and spray cans.
Currently, students can sign up for experiences in 15-minute blocks.
VR to Meet a Need
ASLMU says VP of Student Wellness Bailey Woinarowicz was instrumental in bringing the VR wellness program to the school.
Woinarowicz says she values wellness after having a close family member who struggled with mental health.
As part of the swim team, Woinarowicz has prioritized personal wellness but has focused on students during the past year.
“During my first year at LMU, I got involved in student government as the NCAA and varsity athletics senator, then I became the speaker of the Senate last year, and all of the work I was writing resolutions on during that time pertained to student wellness,” says Woinarowicz. “One of my main objectives was to work around trying to increase awareness about mental health and wellness resources available to students on campus.”
ASLMU says much of Woinarowicz’s work involves pointing students toward available resources and helping them discover personal wellness options.
Woinarowicz interned at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County during the summer of 2022.
While at the facility’s Medical Intelligence, Information, Investigation, and Innovation Institute, she observed physicians and learned about emerging medical innovations.
During the internship, Woinarowicz tried AR and VR experiences at an XR Play Day event.
A recent CHOC Nursing Research and Innovation study demonstrated how nursing staff participants exhibited significant burnout reduction after three sessions of a classical music VR experience.
ASLMU says scores of CHOC nurses and other healthcare workers participated in the novel study.
Woinarowicz says she thought VR could help support student wellness after witnessing its effectiveness and positive impact on NICU nurses.
“ASLMU had the funds to support a program like this, and so the next piece was finding somewhere the program could be housed, which brought me to FitWell inside the Burns Recreation Center,” says Woinarowicz in a press release. “FitWell offers great programming, so this collaboration is a great fit and will also help students become more familiar with where FitWell is located on campus.”