Wellness Pods Are Added to HBCU Campuses - Home & Texture
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These Designers Are Implementing Wellness Pods on HBCU Campuses

May 5, 2023 at 2:41 AM PST

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country are getting a mental health upgrade. Two designers—Kīyonda Powell, based in Washington, D.C., and Saudah Saleem, based in Maryland—have teamed up to help young Black women navigate mental health. Together, these designers are implementing wellness pods on HBCU campuses with Taraji P. Henson’s help.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but these wellness pods can benefit young Black women who attend HBCUs across the nation throughout May and beyond. The program, called She Care, was launched by The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, an organization created by Henson herself. This year, Henson collaborated with fashion company Kate Spade New York to bring the initiative to fruition.

How Wellness Pods on HBCU Campuses Are Helping Black Women

Photo credit: MW Concepts

The She Care Wellness Pods, created from repurposed shipping containers, will give HBCU students a mental health outlet by offering activities such as yoga, meditation and more tools to help navigate the stress of college life. The pods are curated specifically to reflect Black culture and life, so the designers chose art, music and Black urban aesthetics to create an inviting mood. The first of the pods launched at Alabama State University.

In a recent interview with Business of Home, the designers explained their design process. “We were brought on to outfit the space and transform it into something that felt uplifting, joyous and feminine,” explained Powell. “Just really creating a mood and a vibe that supported the wellness activities they wanted to do.”

Wellness Pods on HBCU Campuses
Photo credit: MW Concepts

Henson’s foundation plans to add more pods, and its end goal is to have pods on every HBCU campus. The Henson Foundation and the designers both believe this is long overdue for the Black community. It’s equally important that the pods also help with self-esteem, which is why the designers were intentional about adding motifs that are familiar to the students.

“It’s so important that these young people can see themselves in this beauty, so it’s not just a beautiful space,” says Saleem. “It was about: How do we send this message that you matter—your joy, your birthright—and it’s important for you to be happy and healthy mentally.”



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