Wellness Emerges as Key Theme for Year

September 27, 2023 By David Meany
Facade of the University Recreation Center

With the launch of the new academic year a handful of initiatives are emerging as the university looks to address key challenges over the next several months. And one theme you will hear over and over focuses on your well-being and self-care, as the university believes prioritizing those issues will have a significant impact on employees and the institution.

During her first year on campus, President Shari McMahan – who is a certified fitness instructor – led the charge by offering a series of free and well-attended Zumba and exercises classes. But that was just the start. A series of conversations on campus culture reaffirmed the importance of promoting wellness.

“Through the listening sessions, one clear theme emerged: we need to support not just students, but faculty and staff — the need to strengthen our whole campus community and improve our sense of belonging,” McMahan explained during her University Convocation on Sept. 19.

Inspired by those campus discussions last year, the president convened a task force aimed at exploring ways Eastern could integrate wellness initiatives into our daily routines.

“The Task Force was asked to develop and provide recommendations to the Executive Leadership Team on potential organizational strategies that could be implemented to enhance the campus community culture,” says Associate Vice President for Human Resources Deborah Danner, who helped facilitate the Task Force. “The areas of focus for the Task Force included self-care and wellness, connecting with values, creating accountability and employee training and development.”

More specifics on those key recommendations were unveiled during the recent Convocation.

The first improvement we will roll out is the creation of EagleWell, a one-stop website that is focused on employee professional and personal development, and includes links to important programs and services readily available to employees like the  state’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the state’s SmartHealth wellness program – both of which you will hear more about this year.

“This is a way to better organize and bring awareness to that support and the many resources we offer,” said McMahan. “The website will include information on various trainings, state employee assistance programs, campus safety resources, and onboarding plans for new employees.”

Other ideas that emerged from the Task Force include:

  • The return of the annual Benefits Fair on Nov. 2.
  • In-service Days will be held twice a year to continue building connections and improve campus communications.
  • A Spring campus cleaning day to keep the grounds beautiful.
  • Special $20 employee pricing for use of the URC to better support your health and wellness goals.
  • Plans are in the works to offer employees discounted tickets throughout the year for different sports.

Danner says Human Resources is also working with I.T. to develop websites for wellness training and professional development, and more news on that will be shared when it is available.

Inside EWU will also feature weekly “Wellness Wednesday” tips via email to the campus community.

In the meantime, please visit this link to learn more about the Wellness and Self-Care Task force and its final report.