The Employee Wellness Initiative is working to enrich and support healthy lives of faculty and staff to implement the university’s well-known seven aspects of wellness from the inside out.
“It’s like telling someone else to clean their house while yours is still dirty,” said Sallie Scovill, a health promotion professor.
Students on campus are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle through programs by Student Health Services, a student fitness facility and the desire to provide sustainable food options. It is possible employees are being overlooked when it comes to wellness support.
“We’ve never had a full-time wellness program coordinator,” Scovill said. “It’s always been a challenge to find dedicated individuals willing to step up.”
Since the plan has not yet been implemented, ideas regarding how the coordinator would go about promoting healthy exercise and eating habits are circulating.
“They could set up an exercise competition in which there would be incentives in place that could motivate each department as a team,” said English Professor Lynn Ludwig.
Ludwig said when employees demonstrate healthy exercise and eating habits, they are acting as great examples for students and the community.
According to a 2005 study performed by health professor Jim McKenna, exercise causes an overall work performance boost of almost 15 percent.
“Employees who exercise will possess higher retention of information, less stress and increased job satisfaction,” Scovill said. “There would also be a decrease in presenteeism, which is when people are physically at work but not there mentally.”
Scovill said Faculty Senate, classified staff, and Student Government Association have passed separate resolutions supporting the Employee Wellness Initiative. The major hurdle is finding the funds to support it.
“I see this initiative as a huge recruitment tool,” Scovill said. “I think by promoting our university as a wellness campus, we could bring in more publicity and therefore more students.”
The next step is taking this implementation plan to the leadership team and strategic planning team and coming up with creative ways to fund a new program.