James Summerlin, Sports Editor
The Wellness Center has taken on some new changes this year, including the appointment of Dustin Donnor as the facility’s new interim operations manager until the end of the school year.
Donnor took new roles in the Wellness Center, while Matt Brunet, director of the Wellness Center and assistant professor of sport management, physical education, wellness and sport, will be working in a supervisory role over Donnor and Blake Pennington, intramural director.
Brunet transitioned from the Wellness Center to working behind the scenes of Wellness Services in order to take a position as a full-time faculty member. Brunet earned his doctorate in February 2010 and became an assistant professor Sept. 1 of this year.
“The PEWS department was in need of an additional full-time faculty member,” Brunet said. “With my experience as an adjunct professor for four years, director of Wellness Services for seven years, and after completing my doctorate, I was qualified to fill this role and gladly accepted Dr. (Carla) Sanderson’s offer to serve in this dual-role capacity.”
While the search for a full-time operations manager continues, Donnor has taken the day-to-day operations of running the Wellness Center. He served three years in the center as a student and two years as a graduate assistant. He has also served as the assistant director of recreation at West Jackson Baptist Church.
“(The job at West Jackson) gave me a lot of opportunities through experience,” Donnor said, “Learning how to handle different situations, practice with memberships, developing guidelines for a facility and running a facility was great practice for the next step.”
Since Donnor began the job as interim operations manager, the Wellness Center’s reported attendance has gone up 26 percent. Donnor attributes the rise in attendance to the opportunities the center offers.
“We want to influence (students) with promotions such as water polo tournaments, Cash for Calories and ‘Wii-kends at the Wellness Center,’” Donnor said. “We are going to be doing new programming designed to get different types of students in here.”
This type of ministry is what brought Donnor to Union. Seeing that the university offered sport ministry opportunities, he transferred and got his bachelor’s of science degree in sport management with a sport ministry emphasis. He later received his master’s degree at Union.
In the Wellness Center, Donnor said he feels his job is a ministry to not just the people that come in to work out, but also the students he employs.
“I see myself as responsible for the student workers as my ‘flock,’” Donnor said. “There’s going to be opportunities for me to meet basic needs, and I’m here to provide that to them.”
Donnor said he would like to run an inner-city facility in the future, similar to Rocketown in Nashville, near the Pacific Northwest to be near his home in Washington, but he is open to other job options.
“I am always looking for a new job at Union,” Donnor said. “I hope something opens up. If I wasn’t working at Union, I would be in the Pacific Northwest.”