Ellie Horton, Feature Editor

Through the double glass doors of the Nina B. Hollis Wellness Center, every student is greeted with a plethora of outlets to meet their exercising needs. Whether it is lifting weights, utilizing the numerous workout machines, calming the mind in yoga or sweating the stress off in group exercise classes, the Wellness Center is a place where any student can discover their workout niche.

The countless opportunities provided by the wellness center would be implausible without the professional staff. Although they are usually behind the scenes, the coordinators for each fitness zone are the oil that keeps the machine running smoothly.

Recently, Florida Southern College hired two new employees, Abigail Elias and Jillian Dolicato, to manage the fitness and aquatics center.

Elias oversees those who serve as fitness attendants, exercise instructors and personal trainers. All of the students that assist in the gym, whether they are grabbing you a foam roller or teaching you the correct way to do a sit-up, are Elias’s trainees.

“I chose a career in campus recreation and wellness because of my love for fitness, my love for teaching fitness and my love for teaching others how to teach fitness,” Elias said.

With a career as a fitness coordinator, Elias isn’t just earning an income. She is sharing a passion. In turn, she watches her employees gain confidence and experience from their training that is transferrable to any of life’s hurdles. As a result, her employees have nothing but good things to say about her.

“Abby came to FSC with tons of experience under her belt when it came to working with recreational centers,” Stephanie Carrillo a fitness attendant said. “She always has an eye for improvement and works with such a go-getter attitude. Abby offers an incredibly fun environment to work in and I’m very grateful to have her on staff.”

Elias elected to share her fitness fever with FSC because of its small size, which allows for easy connections and networking with fellow colleagues. And besides, who wouldn’t want to work in a gym that overlooks a gorgeous lake with its own running track?

“I love that it sits right next to the lake,” Elias said. “It is a perfect view for those who are doing cardio and for those who are participating in group exercise classes, especially yoga. Also, there isn’t much of a need for us to have an indoor track because the lake has excellent accommodations for walkers and runners.”

While the wellness center is amply equipped, even for those who opt to Olympic and power lift, Elias has great ambitions in store for the gym. Eventually, Elias said she hopes to help all of her fitness attendants become certified personal trainers and/or nutrition specialists as well as train them to teach water aerobics, Aqua Zumba and other water-based aerobics classes.

“These classes would be great for populations who have joint pain or for those who just enjoy being in the water,” Elias said.

Jillian Dolciato recently splashed into the aquatics zone as the new coordinator at the end of May. Similar to Elias, Dolciato selected the wellness center to become her new home because of the small but friendly atmosphere and the positive impact it creates on campus.

“I was blown away by how invested the students are not only on campus, but also within the wellness center,” Dolciato said.

One aspect that Dolciato loves most about working at the wellness center is the student-interaction component, since it is the largest employer of students on campus.

“I love the team I work with; we really are such a collaborative and supportive department,” Dolciato said. “What makes our staff great is the dedication and love they have for our programs. They have so much pride in our facility.”

Dolciato’s crew consists of 20 lifeguards and 10 waterfront employees who man the pool and the waterfront.

“Jillian is one of the best bosses I have ever had,” says Libby Erdelac a wellness lifeguard. “Her skills are at the highest level and she knows how to cooperate with all of us. She is an amazing role model, is very determined and puts 100 percent effort into her job. Jillian makes the aquatics program run smoothly and safely, while creating a fun environment in which for us to work.”

Dolciato’s area includes the pool, which has eight 25 yard lanes that are available for recreational swimming and is a great, low impact way to stay in shape. Free swim lessons are also available. According to Dolciato, the pool is a great area to unwind after a stressful week of school. Her zone also includes the waterfront where students can utilize Lake Hollingsworth and enjoy its scenic beauty on kayaks.

This semester, Dolciato said that the aquatics center is hosting a variety of fantastic events that she encourages students to attend. Among these are the intramural swim meet on Sept. 30, a zip lining trip on Oct. 21 and a snorkeling trip on Nov. 7.

Unlike popular belief, the wellness center is not just a smelly, sweaty gym where workout fanatics spend their time. Students can actually have fun and enjoy numerous, awesome activities, none of which would be possible if it weren’t for the support and service of the superb wellness center employees.


Photo Courtesy of the Wellness Center