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Health Can Be Fun, Collaboration Joyous

As the new issue of Wabash Magazine reaches mailboxes this week, readers may do a double-take.

We’re counting on it.

It’s been a while since a WM cover promised to tell you “What Women Want from Their Wabash Men” or offered tips for “More Sex & Better Sleep.” Not to mention shown Wally Wabash leering at them over a set of dumbbells in what appears to be a knock-off of a cover from Men’s Health magazine. (We prefer the word “parody.”)

But when we first envisioned this issue and I asked Kim Johnson—a health educator by degree and our designer, photographer, and writer in Public Affairs—to co-edit, we knew one thing: If we were going to try to convince Wabash men to take care of themselves, we were going to need a hook to hold their attention. A big hook.

So we took a little advice from Vic Powell (“I don’t know how you get through this life without a sense of humor”) and we took a light-hearted approach to some serious matters. Threw in Garrison Keillor, sex, a little erectile dysfunction. Did I mention Garrison Keillor?

Will it work? You’ll be the judge of that.

What I do know is that putting this one together has been joyous. Dozens of alumni and faculty freely contributed their thoughts and experiences (and a recipe) to Kim for her many contributions to this "Be Well" issue. Kim’s question—"How do you define well-being, and how do you achieve it?"—drives the book, and the energy and creativity she brought to it never flagged, no matter how many obstacles she encountered.

Professor Greg Redding ran 100 miles in the mountains for us (at least he wrote about it for us.)

President White offered an illuminating take on “live humanely,” First Lady (and family nurse practitioner) Chris White batted cleanup with a thoughtful End Notes piece.

And senior Daniel King as Wally Wabash not only didn’t complain from inside that sweatbox of a costume (no matter how many places Kim dragged him around campus), but enlisted his friend Sara Bobay for some of the funniest photos in the book.

By the time all the material got to WM art director Cathy Swick (including Kim’s great cover idea), we were on a roll. The greatest reward of being on a team is seeing your teammates at their best, creating something different, and better, than any one of you could have imagined or done yourself. That’s the joy of collaboration, and it has been a joy to be a part of these past few months.

And there’s more to come. Kim has enlisted Dean of Students Mike Raters ’83 to chronicle his own efforts to get in shape starting later this month in a blog we call “Fit for a Dean.” It’s a response to the number-one answer we received when we asked wives of Wabash men what their husbands could do for their wives’ well-being: “If he would take better care of himself, my well-being would be improved.”

Those words are printed on the back cover of the Winter 2010 issue of Wabash Magazine, coming to a mailbox near you (and available on campus later this week.) We hope you enjoy it, that it gets you thinking, and, even better, gets you moving.

And for a sneak preview, check out the new WM Online site here.