McKenzie “Kenzie” Sorrells has hit the ground running – and no one should expect her to slow down any time soon.
Sorrells, who jumped in as director of wellness and the university’s popular BroncoFit program near the end of May, isn’t wasting any time. Because while many students and some employees are taking at least a bit of a summer break, she’s knocking on doors, meeting key people and assessing where the myriad of programs and activities and services and initiatives that make up Boise State student and staff well-being are housed.
Sorrells is a proud Boise State College of Health Sciences graduate; she completed the undergraduate kinesiology program in 2017. A former resident assistant, she pursued her passion for health education and wellness coaching at the University of Utah, where she earned her master’s in those areas. Utah born, she then went to work for Utah State University – but Boise State, and the too good to pass up BroncoFit opportunity beckoned her back.
“I wanted to try something new,” she said. “I’m really passionate about creating a culture of well-being on campuses.”
BroncoFit, which was only about two years old when she was first on campus, has grown, along with the campus itself and the student and employee populations. Sorrells sees huge potential, not necessarily in terms of more programs, but easier, more understandable ways to serve up options for busy people across the spectrum of campus life.
“We’re all doing a lot of great programming,” she said. “I don’t want to take away ownership of anything.
Partnering for better student and employee wellness
“I think it’s more partnership stuff. I think it starts with creating that culture of well-being on campus, in students and employees, one wellness initiative that gets people excited.”
Within that, it’s clear that there are priorities. Mental health looms large as a focal point; ditto health relationships, substance use and abuse – and financial well-being, perhaps particularly for employees.
“You have to have healthy faculty and staff to support students,” she said. “Both populations deserve to be helped and assisted.”
Significant attention is being paid to the urgent demand around the mental and emotional health and resilience needs of college and university students. Sorrells sees that working upstream, before intervention may come into play, is where the opportunity falls. She envisions more opportunities for the campus community to connect and get involved, be it workshops, or incentives … Sorrells is thrilled by the possibilities.
A positive contagion: infectious enthusiasm
Julia Beard, who runs University Health Services as executive director and whose other team members often contend w
ith the fallout when upstream measures aren’t in place or aren’t deployed is all for it – not to mention, Sorrells’ enthusiasm is positively infectious.
“She’s just great,” Beard said. “She has come with great ideas and on-the-ground experience with some of these things.
“One of the things about BroncoFit is that we already have a lot of really great programming,” Beard said.
“It’s making it all make more sense. We are looking for her to take BroncoFit to the next level.”
Sorrells isn’t waiting around for a fall homecoming.
“It excites me to come back as an alum, having my background knowledge,” she said, describing the new position as a “full-circle moment,” since this passion was sparked by BroncoFit years ago as an undergrad.
Beard can see that the spark is catching fire.
“How excited we are to have someone who already knows us and has a really good lens around what’s going on and what needs to happen next,” she said.
“To some degree, I’m just letting her run with it.”
Zen advice from BroncoFit’s director (now she just needs to take her own advice!)
- Create boundaries.
- Understand what your needs are.
- Take time for yourself.
- Allow time and space for reflection. Consider what’s going well, what’s not going well and what needs focus.
- Fill your cup before you fill others’ cups.
Plus a special throw-down challenge: Don’t be afraid to connect with each other!