Athletics, Wellness and Physical Education

Physical fitness and wellness are essential parts of our overall well-being as humans. Athletics, wellness and physical education (AWPE) courses strive to provide you with an introduction to activities that encourage and promote lifetime wellness and fitness, as well as excite and energize you to develop healthy habits and continue a lifetime of participation in wellness activities.

Athletic and Wellness Center building

Promoting lifelong wellness and fitness

Wellness at Earlham is defined as an active, lifelong process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Course variety

You can choose from a wide variety of wellness activity courses, including Pilates, backpacking, lifeguard training, learning how to ride a horse and more. Participation in varsity and club sports can also count for wellness credits.

Top-of-the-line facility

The Athletics and Wellness Center features an indoor running track, a cardio and strength training room, a group fitness studio, an indoor climbing wall, four indoor tennis courts, two racquetball courts, a six-lane 25-meter pool and a performance gymnasium. It also houses Trueblood Fieldhouse.

Learn more about the AWC

Our faculty

Athletics, wellness and physical education courses are taught by a combination of coaches and faculty with backgrounds in the fields of public health, exercise science and more.

Program details

Wellness is an integral part of general education because understanding and caring for one’s physical, psychological, spiritual and community selfhood is a fundamental prerequisite for all-knowing. Further, the wellness requirement promotes a lifelong focus on both personal and community health in the broad sense, and on skills applicable to maintaining bodily kinesthetic, intellectual and emotional effectiveness.


Students can fulfill the wellness requirement by completing one of three options:

  • Completing four wellness activity-based courses
  • Taking and passing one analysis-based course (carrying two or more semester hours) designated as a wellness course AND completing two wellness activity-based courses
  • Completing two seasons of varsity sports.

Note: Participating and successfully completing one season of a sport fulfills half of the wellness requirement (either two wellness activity-based courses or one analysis-based course — carrying two or more semester hours — designated as a wellness course). Participating and successfully completing two seasons of a sport completes the wellness requirement. Club sports may only be counted one time toward the requirement and equine studies may count for two wellness activities.

Analysis-based courses carrying the wellness designation may simultaneously satisfy other general education or major requirements for that student if appropriately designated.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

The goals of the wellness requirement are to:

  • Promote balance among academic, occupational and recreational aspects of life.
  • Provide opportunities to fulfill human needs such as belonging, achieving, competing, participating, socializing, exercising, relaxing and having fun.
  • Promote positive health and wellness behaviors for individuals and the community.

Activity courses aim at promoting physiological health, as reflected in cardiovascular functioning, muscular strength and conditioning, motor coordination skills and flexibility. They involve regular and extended practice of the activity as approved by the Department of Athletics, Wellness and Physical Education — typically at least 18 hours spread over seven weeks. Activity courses are ordinarily graded on a Credit / No Credit basis.

Academic wellness courses focus on the integration of cognitive and experiential learning, connecting experience with strategies for reflection, integration and continuation. Typically, courses are personally directed; they focus on building knowledge and skills that contribute to creating wellness in one’s personal life and on helping students make choices toward a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Earlham’s emphasis on community entails a recognition of the individual’s responsibility for the society’s overall approach to wellness. Therefore, Wellness courses focus on a practical approach to the cultural dimensions of health and wellness, including issues of social location and social justice, and incorporate training in how to access and assess information related to wellness. Classroom work may be supplemented by student participation in experiential co-curricular workshops or programs on such topics as sexuality, substance abuse, eating disorders, use of performance enhancing drugs in athletics, the use of prayer or stress management.

Most athletics, wellness and physical education courses are held in the Athletics and Wellness Center (AWC), although some (like canoeing, backpacking, or equine studies) take place mainly outdoors and in other locations.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.