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Fostering a Culture of Safety and Well-Being

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Phuc Pham/New University

UC Irvine LivingWell, the Be Smart About Safety initiative and the Wellness & Safety Partnership held the Sixth Annual Faculty and Staff Wellness and Safety Fair at the Anteater Recreation Center on Wednesday, May 23.

The Wellness & Safety Partnership includes the following UCI departments: Campus Recreation; Environmental Health & Safety; Facilities Management; Health Education Center; Human Resources; Material & Risk Management; Distribution and Transportation Services; and the Police Department.

UCI employees who attended had 93 booths to frequent — they ranged from several UCI campus and medical center departments that provide programs and services related to health and wellness, to companies highlighting the benefits like insurance and discounts on services available to employees.

Dyan Hall, the Worklife & Wellness Program Manager in Human Resources, said the most important goal was to increase awareness among UCI employees on the benefits available to them.

“The goal of our fair is to educate our employees on what wellness and safety programs are available to them,” Hall said. “It’s an education and awareness tool that we have, and people look forward to this every year.”

From Hospitality & Dining to Campus Recreation, the various UCI departments present marketed the wellness benefits of their respective programs. Fair attendees learned about healthy on-campus eating options and the various workshops available to them, including cooking classes at the ARC and Health and Fitness Fridays, both services provided by Campus Recreation.

Several community businesses were also present, including Albertsons, who presented information regarding their nutritional labeling and in-house pharmacy; Farm Fresh To You, who advertised their organic produce delivery system; and Road Runner Sports, who provided running and walking shoes at discount prices.

“If we don’t have a service or benefit available on campus for our employees, we try to go outside and look in the community,” Hall said. Fair participants were also able to participate in the third annual UC Walks by walking to the fair from wherever they were on campus.

UC LivingWell coordinated this UC-wide event, encouraging faculty, staff, retirees and students to take 30 minutes out of their day to walk in the hopes of building community and campus spirit.

According to the UC LivingWell website, in 2011, 3,608 individuals participated in UC Walks, logging a total of 95,945 minutes and 6,396 miles.

The Wellness and Safety Partnership and Step Up UCI, one of several “Up” wellness programs at UCI created by Campus Recreation, organized the subsidiary UCI Walks team to promote the general health of faculty and staff through daily movement.

Created seven years ago, Step Up UCI, along with many of the other “Up” programs, have become models for other UC campuses to create and enhance their own wellness programs.

“We’re sharing programs that we created,” Hall said. “These programs are branded UC, and they will be available online to every campus and medical center in the UC system.

For next year, we’re constantly thinking of things to add and incorporate. We try to go bigger and better every year and get more people involved.”

Hall drew a comparison between the employees and college students who do not take advantage — or are not aware — of the services and programs available to them in their respective environments and do not become involved in campus life.

Other than the fair, she said there has been an increased focus in providing information and services online to reach the various members of the university community.

2012 also marks the second year in a row UC Irvine has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a platinum-level Fit-Friendly Company for its efforts in enhancing and promoting employee wellness and fitness.