9 Dimensions

Whole Person Learning

“Make Your Life Count” is the guiding ethos of a Gustavus education. But it cannot be achieved with “education-as-usual” thinking. It requires a new approach: whole person learning.

The Wellbeing Initiative advances whole person learning by helping members of the Gustavus community develop the knowledge and skills to cultivate a meaningful, balanced life. We catalyze an interdisciplinary environment to address issues that transcend any single academic discipline or program. We work with next generation leaders to align personal values, external commitments, and the world’s deep needs. We are also an incubator for new ideas and projects, helping to create a remarkable return on education for “Gusties” of all ages.

Every Choice Counts

When it comes to wellbeing, making choices isn't optional. Every thought and action produces a positive outcome (wellbeing) or a negative one (imbalance, physical decline, disease, even death). In other words: every choice counts.

Wellbeing is not static—it constantly evolves. To thrive in the world, we must align our daily practices with our values. The Wellbeing Initiative promotes lives of purpose, vitality, and connection through nine dimensions of wellbeing: Career, Emotional, Environmental, Intellectual, Physical, Relational, Spiritual, Physical, and Vocational.

Nine Core Dimensions


Emotional Wellbeing is acknowledging, managing, and expressing your feelings. It includes pursuing a clear view of the world as it is, finding your place in it, and recognizing challenge, risk, and conflict as opportunities for emotional growth.


Physical Wellbeing is taking care of your body and striving towards your physical potential, while recognizing and respecting limitations.


Relational Wellbeing is the ability to engage effectively with the surrounding communities by developing positive relationships, respect for others, multicultural competences, and concern for community welfare.


Spiritual Wellbeing is the discovery and celebration of the deeper meaning and Divine Reality in life. It includes the exploration of the values, beliefs, practices, and connections that provide meaning and direction for your life as well as a respect for the spiritual path of others.


Intellectual Wellbeing is having the tools, awareness, motivation, and capability to integrate learning into your everyday life. Learning to be curious, skeptical and fair-minded are essential qualities of an individual who has intellectual wellbeing.


Career Wellbeing is having the clarity, confidence, and connections to use your strengths to daily engage in meaningful and purposeful work.


Financial Wellbeing is the ability to make educated, values-based decisions to achieve confidence and security with your financial situation.


Environmental Wellbeing means living as an integral part of an environment that supports physical, mental, and social wellbeing, while at the same time living consciously to maintain and improve a healthy environment.


Vocational Wellbeing is the intentional, life-giving alignment of who you are, what you do, and what the world needs.