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Making use of your money at Mills

Jackie Kennedy

Savannah Kilner works out three times a week at the gym, does morning laps in the pool, and occasionally enjoys a therapy spa.

Kilner does this all on the Mills campus between classes at no additional cost to her, since access to the Fitness Center and Trefethen Aquatic Center, which includes both a pool and therapy spa, are included in the cost of tuition.

These services are just a few of many students can access. With the average cost of undergraduate living on campus being $43,300, knowing what is at students’ fingertips can help stretch those dollars.

Students can cope with budgetary blues by working them out at the Fitness Center, located in Haas Pavilion. The Fitness Center is open for Mills students Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For weekend hours, check the Mills website. For students unfamiliar with gym equipment, physical education classes are available, which can teach students how to exercise solo. Running is also free on Pine Top Trail, a fitness trail that goes all around campus.

Access to the Trefethen Aquatic Center, better known as the pool and therapy spa, is also available to Mills students for recreational and lap swimming. According to Carol Berendsen, Aquatics Director, approximately 5,900 students use the pool during the school year.

The only complaint Kilner had of the Fitness and Trefethen Aquatic Center was that they close early on the weekends, at 3 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. respectively. However, Berendsen said that over the past three years Mills has “almost doubled the number of lap swim and recreational swim hours available for student use.”

For students whose blues are of the mind and not the body, the Counseling and Psychological Services housed in Cowell are the places to go. Whether students want individual, group or even couples counseling, ten counseling sessions are included in tuition.

According to Dorian Newton, Associate Dean and Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, couples counseling can be sought as long as one member of the couple is a student enrolled at Mills. Of the Fall 2006 semester alone, “over 11% of the student body sought such services,” said Joanna Iwata, Dean of Students.

At the Writing Center, in Rothwell rooms C and D, dollars can be turned into good grades. As a part of their federal work-study, the Writing Center is staffed with graduate students from the English Department that are seeking to be professional writers themselves.

“I used it three times last year,” said Kilner of the Writing Center, “It was really helpful one time. It can depend on who you get, but it can be really helpful.”

Students can also improve their vocational opportunities through individual career counseling, resume review sessions and interviewing skill workshops. The Career Center offers students information on scholarships, internships and help with career planning. It is located in Cowell and is open Mondays through Fridays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“It was really helpful,” said Kilner. “I went in with a resume and they helped me spiff it up, and even gave me sample resumes.”

Another way to feel better about the resume, polished by the Career Center, is to print it for free, which can be done on campus either in the Stern or dormitory Computer Labs. Students who want to improve their technology skills can use these same computer labs to learn how to use computer applications through Element K, an online tutorial website. Students have Element K access as part of tuition, and can learn everything from Microsoft Word to Dreamweaver.

Additionally, students that need to get away and explore the Bay Area can do so free on the Mills Van – a shuttle service that drops off in Rockridge, a shopping district in North Oakland, and at the UC Berkeley campus. Originally intended to shuttle students to and from health appointments at the UC Berkeley Tang Center, it has become popular for running errands and looking for fun.

While tuition dollars may seem many, there are plenty of ways to stretch them on campus with student services. According to Iwata, there is no such thing as”good or bad” services, “just a commitment to improve what we do offer to meet the diverse needs of our students.”