Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The University of New Orleans to Launch Workplace Wellness Initiative

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The University of New Orleans will launch a broad-based workplace wellness program to support the well-being of its employees. The program builds on existing initiatives and combines them with additional organized campus activities, national health-related campaigns and incentives for employee participation.

The program recommendations were generated by a committee of UNO faculty and staff representatives and proposed last month to university administrators, who indicated full support for the initiative. A program kick-off is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Recreation and Fitness Center.

The UNO Recreation and Fitness Center has been a campus gem since its opening in 2002. Faculty and staff volleyball intramurals are long-standing traditions that will resume in the spring semester, and President John Nicklow launched a twice-weekly cross-campus walking club earlier this year with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from employees. To complement these activities, the new wellness initiative proposal includes the designation of a Workplace Wellness Corner, which is a space in the Recreation and Fitness Center dedicated to faculty and staff resources for exercise and nutrition. Participating employees will be offered workout cards, a system for keeping track of their workouts, which can be kept on file in the dedicated space. Weigh-in sessions will be conducted once every three months—staffed by Recreation and Fitness Center employees as well as students enrolled in the Human Performance and Health Promotion degree program—for employees who want to monitor changes in weight, body fat, hip and waist measurements and blood pressure. In addition, faculty and staff will be able to use the fitness center at no charge on the first Wednesday of every month during normal operating hours with their UNO ID.

Beyond the resources within the Recreation and Fitness Center, additional new components of the wellness initiative include implementation of a campus walking path, completion of an annual project aligned with the existing 5-year campus beautification plan and monthly activities driven by national health promotion campaigns. For example, the proposal includes workshops during American Heart Month in February that provide training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED). In May, recognized nationally as Mental Health Month, employees may attend lectures about reducing stress and anxiety.

At roughly the same time the University is launching its wellness initiative, the Recreation and Fitness Center is lowering its membership rates for faculty and staff for the first time ever. New fitness center membership rates go into effect January 1, 2018. While fitness center membership is not required for participation in the wellness program, employees who are members will see a reduction of as much as $100 in the annual cost. New members will receive one month of complimentary membership.