WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Jan. 11, 2017 — Employees at West Liberty University have been taking part in wellness initiatives meant to curb weight gain over the holidays, promote walking and measure fitness.
The healthy campus initiative began last fall and was coordinated by the WLU Wellness Committee. Members include: Athletic Training Program Director Dr. David Hanna, Assistant to the Provost Crystal Lorimor, Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education Dr. Cathy Monteroso, Health and Safety Specialist Anthony Salatino, Human Resources Generalist Brian Schamp and Executive Director of Marketing Tammi Secrist. The committee has been active for about five years.
“There are many small things that employees can do to work fitness into their daily routines to improve health. We work together to advance some of these ideas and help the campus community to think about wellness in the workplace,” said Monteroso, who is the committee chairperson. Monteroso is in the College of Education.
The overall goal of wellness can also improve employee morale.
“The Wellness Committee works diligently to provide various health initiatives and opportunities that appeal to our employees. They welcome employee feedback as well as new ideas that will get more folks involved,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Diana Harto. As of today, WLU employs 268 full and part time employees.
Since Oct. 19, the campus has enjoyed Walking Wednesdays. This program encourages every staff member to take a walk around campus on Wednesdays.
Maps were distributed to assist in mileage mapping and a new sign was placed on the indoor track explaining distances, which quickly garnered thanks from a campus runner.
Staff can log their miles, steps or minutes, adding up all days of walking throughout each month. Employees then submit their log sheets at the end of the month and one employee’s name is drawn monthly for prizes. In July, at the end of the year, a grand prize drawing will be held for two employee parking passes, worth $50 each.
“The Walking Wednesday program is proving successful. The emails and comments of thanks from folks on campus — even those who may have their own fitness programs and don’t necessarily participate in the walking — is what keeps our committee going,” said committee member Crystal Lorimor, who is a walking advocate.
“It’s about building a culture of wellness. We all like different activities and are motivated by different things and our committee recognizes that. We also recognize that health and fitness can be very personal and private to many people. Some are hesitant to sign up and that’s okay. Folks don’t have to officially register for our programs we just want them to be mindful of their health. If the weekly email reminder about walking motivates someone to start doing yoga, walking or simply to eat healthy, that’s success.”
Another part of the walking wellness program is a free webinar, Beyond the First Step that takes place today, Jan. 11. Employees can take part in the hour-long walking education program from their desk and learn more about America Walks and its benefits.
The Wellness Committee also brought a PEIA-sponsored fitness assessment to campus just in time for New Year resolutions. Employees were invited to take part in a free fitness assessment with an exercise physiologist on January 10.
Health Promotion Consultant Janelle Humphrey-Rowan coordinated the fitness assessment and is part of the PEIA’s Pathways to Wellness program for state employees. She helps employees determine fitness levels and assists in setting fitness goals by testing them on cardiovascular endurance: a three-minute step test (using a 12 inch high step at 24 steps per minute), muscular strength: testing upper body strength, muscular endurance: push-ups and/or abdominal crunches and flexibility testing: (using sit and reach protocol).
“Anything we can do to help West Virginia public employees is a plus and we are pleased to assist West Liberty University in its wellness program,” Humphrey-Rowan said.
Humphrey-Rowan is also a lifestyle coach for the Wheeling region and offers four annual individualized counseling sessions for those interested. (The state is broken into nine regions and she serves Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Harrison, Doddridge, Tyler, Pleasants and Gilmer counties.)
PEIA partnered with Marshall’s College of Health Professions and its Research Corporation to create the workplace wellness and healthy lifestyle programming. More information is available online at www.peiapathways.com.