By Melissa Lafrance on June 4, 2019
This month, we feature a recap of the 2019 Staff and Faculty Sports Day, which took place on May 3 and brought together UBC employees to take part in fun and collaborative challenges.
It was a record-breaking year for one of UBC’s largest events for faculty and staff. Hosted by UBC Human Resources and UBC Recreation, the annual Staff and Faculty Sports Day saw more than 800 participants from over 130 different departments, units and faculties in Vancouver and the Okanagan being active and having fun. Teams of four to six colleagues competed in a variety of fun recreational challenges and activities that could only be accomplished through collaboration and team spirit.
In Vancouver, the prize winners included:
- UILO So Good (Top Competitive Team Award)
- Team Peeps (Top Team Spirit Award)
In the Okanagan, prize winners included:
- Blue & Gold (Top Points Team)
- The Health Angels (Most Spirited Team)
- The BLUEs Brothers and the GOLDen Girls (Best Dressed Team)
Sports Day Benefits
In a post-Sports Day survey, over 92% of Vancouver participants noted that the event had a positive impact on their sense of community with colleagues at UBC.
One participant said that “the event really helped [them] get to know [their] new colleagues.” Because it was their first year working at UBC, taking part in Sports Day “really makes you feel like a part of a community.” Another participant thought Sports Day was “a great event that brought people in [their] unit together just for fun. It built a great sense of belonging.”
Paul Cyr, captain of UILO So Good, the top competitive team in Vancouver had this to say about this year’s event:
Sports Day provides a fun and social event to help build team spirit while getting a break from the usual workday routine. Having so many participants from all across UBC adds to the experience and sense of community.
Jonathan Easey, captain of Team Peeps which received the UBC Vancouver Top Team Spirit Award shared the following:
Our team had a fantastic time in this year’s Sports Day! This was our second year participating, and after the fun and camaraderie of last year we were eager to participate again. We know that we won’t ever be the fastest or the most competitive team time-wise, so we just like to have fun and cheer each other on as much as we can. We love getting to let loose, wear funky costumes and run around campus having a blast doing different activities, so winning the Spirit Award two years in a row really is such an honour for us. It’s great that the organizers see the value in having fun and supporting one another as a team in addition to competing for the best time.
Relive Sports Day
Hope to see all of this year’s participants – and some new faces – at the 2020 Sports Day. In the meantime, stay active with your colleagues!
Photo Credit: UBC Recreation
By Miranda Massie on March 4, 2019
Ready to celebrate the end of the school term? Be sure to sign up early when Sports Day returns for its ninth year! UBC’s annual Staff & Faculty Sports Day will take place on Friday, May 3, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. An “Apres” Sports Day social and beer garden follows from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Open to UBC faculty, staff and grad students, this free event is an exciting team-building afternoon that encourages inclusivity, accessibility, mental and physical wellbeing, and fun! Participate in what your time allows.
The event sells out every year so mark your calendars for March 18 and be sure to sign up!
Full details available on the Staff & Faculty Sports Day page.
Looking for UBC Okanagan information?
You’re in luck! Staff & Faculty Sports Day is also happening on May 3. Visit the UBCO Sports Day website for more details in the coming weeks.
Photo credit: UBC Recreation
By Marlene Dong on January 8, 2019
Thriving Campus highlights stories about health and wellbeing from UBC staff members. This month, we feature the UBC Bookstore’s staff and management team as our Thriving Campus profile. A special thank you to Debbie Harvie, Managing Director of University Community Services, for her contributions to this article.
The next time you step into the UBC Bookstore, think beyond the textbooks and UBC-branded merchandise. The store’s staff and management team are among the most engaged and active members of the UBC community. In addition to supporting students in their academic pursuits and enhancing campus life and the UBC brand, the UBC Bookstore represents a thriving, diverse workforce where staff are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work each day. They are motivated to fully participate in the campus community and to balance their work and personal lives.
Inclusivity on Display
Each year, the Bookstore’s buyers and marketing team develop a calendar of in-store displays to highlight a variety of interests and celebrations, including Freedom to Read Week, Lunar New Year, Pride Week, Black History Month and Remembrance Day.
To complement campus life, the Bookstore partners with a number of UBC departments and services to host special events in the adjacent outdoor plaza. The weekly UBC Farm Pop-up Market (May to October), annual Summer Sizzler (June) annual Blueberry Festival (July), Meet Your Maker food sustainability series (September) and UBC Athletics & Recreation pep rallies are just some of the ways the Bookstore builds connections across UBC. As well, Bookstore staff participate in several campus committees, such as sustainability and textbook affordability.
For UBC students, the Bookstore provides opportunities for them to pursue their hobbies and passions through events and sales initiatives. For example, students can DJ an event, try modelling, take photography or gain experience in event management. The UBC Bookstore hires over 80 students each year to support the busy back to class selling season. The store also hires “work learn” students interested in pursuing a career in graphic design and art as an “agency of one”, which simulates what it would be like to work for a marketing agency, from brainstorming and pitching to conducting meetings and completing projects for Bookstore “clients”.
Wellbeing in Action
The management team at UBC Bookstore recognizes the importance of supporting staff in their health and wellbeing. It’s why they encourage and sponsor staff to participate in the annual UBC Staff & Faculty Sports Day, Storm the Wall, or UBC Library Spelling Bee.
“Our staff like to get active,” says Debbie Harvie, Managing Director of University Community Services, which includes the UBC Bookstore. “Our in-store merchandiser conducts a morning stretch session for the early morning crew. We host monthly games nights and yoga classes with our vendor partners, and at our annual staff BBQ, there’s bocce, soccer and Frisbee games.”
And then there’s the food. Healthy, delicious, ethnically-diverse treats abound at the Bookstore during birthday celebrations, potluck lunches or retirement parties. During the busy back-to-class periods, sharing a meal or some snacks has become a great way for Bookstore staff in different departments to spend time together and enjoy a break.
Beyond the physical, emotional and social wellbeing benefits, the Bookstore recognizes the value that learning, training and professional development can bring to a team.
“Learning is a big part of our workplace,” notes Harvie. “Our Human Resources team coordinates lunch and learn sessions on a wide range of topics, including how to use your professional development funds, preparing for an interview, PowerPoint skills and retirement planning. We also send staff to training sessions and buying shows – both local and in Canada and the United States – to keep everyone’s skills and knowledge current and to encourage staff to make industry connections.” The Bookstore also honours retirees by displaying the names and years of service of retired staff.
Harvie adds, “It’s important for people to be given opportunities to engage with the campus community and for individuals to take advantage of these opportunities. UBC is an amazing, diverse, engaging and physically beautiful place to work. Tuum Est – it is yours!”
About the UBC Bookstore
The UBC Bookstore operates three retail stores: two on the Vancouver campus and one on the Okanagan campus. The Bookstore’s selection includes a full range of course materials, general books, stationery and UBC spirit items including logoed giftware and clothing.
The Bookstore employs over 85 full-time staff and up to 100 additional part-time staff during peak selling periods at the beginning of the fall and winter terms. Staff members have expertise in a wide range of areas, including buying, accounting, merchandise processing, display and customer service. Bookstore staff are recognized as experts in the campus store industry and many have served as training facilitators, committee members and association presidents both in Canada and in the United States.
Photo credit: Debbie Harvie
By Miranda Massie on May 3, 2018
Staff and faculty at UBC’s Vancouver campus are invited to join the 4th annual Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge. This four-week challenge is a fun and inclusive way to encourage our community to keep fit by taking the stairs.
Stair climbing is a great way to boost cardiovascular health, build muscle and strengthen the core. The best part? It’s free!
The challenge will include weekly participant prizes, photo challenges, and an overall prize for both the top team and top individual.
Everyone, of all ability levels, is invited to participate. Visit the website for accessible participation options.
How it works
- Register as a team or as an individual (team rankings are scored based on an average of all team members’ achievements, so a larger team won’t have an advantage over an individual)
- Select the peak you’re aiming for – from Diamond Head (232 metres) to Mount Everest (8,848 metres)
- Log your flights of stairs climbed on the Daily Step Tracker for a chance to win participation prizes
- Submit your grand totals at the end of four weeks
Your steps to success
Last year’s participants stepped up to better health!
Over 60% of last year’s participants reported that the challenge had a positive impact on their overall wellbeing as well as their physical health, while 66% reported that their relationships with colleagues improved. 69% of participants took the stairs once a day or less before the challenge, with some reporting a 30% increase in their stair climbing/physical activity after the challenge.
By Miranda Massie on April 5, 2017
Celebrate the end of another school year with some fun! Register now for UBC’s seventh annual Staff and Faculty Sports Day on Friday, May 5, 2017.
Open to UBC faculty, staff and grad students, this free event is an exciting team-building day that encourages inclusivity, accessibility, mental and physical wellbeing, and fun!
Why take part?
Make connections: 90% of survey respondents from last year’s event reported that it positively impacted their sense of belonging within their team.
Improve your health: Last year’s participants reported positive increases in mental health (90%) and physical wellbeing (84%) after participating in Sports Day.
2017 Highlights include:
- New spaces and places: Events will take place in Brock Hall, War Memorial Gym, the Student Recreation Centre, the UBC Alumni Centre and more!
- A Recognition Wall: Help recognize the personal and professional achievements of your colleagues. Submissions can be made in three ways:
- Special guests: VPs Lisa Castle (HR) and Louise Cowin (VPS) will be in attendance to present trophies and prizes at the Awards Ceremony.
- Free lunch and social: All participants are invited to socialize and celebrate while grabbing a free lunch. Check out the booths, watch the awards ceremony and add to the recognition wall.
Last year’s event sold out and spots are already filling up fast, so teams are encouraged to register as early as possible to secure a space. Registration is first come, first served and closes on April 26.
Posted in Events, Information Update, Physical Health | Tagged celebration, challenge, event, fitness, fun, games, lunch, puzzles, sports day, staff and faculty, team-building, UBC, year end | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on April 5, 2017
UBC’s favourite departmental funding program is back! The Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program provides funds to departments and units to support grassroots activities that promote wellbeing in the workplace.
The program provides the start-up funds and support for health-related sustainable activities and initiatives like yoga classes, health challenges, mental health training, bike share programs, creative activities and more.
In 2016, the program funded four bike share programs, five patio gardens, eight health challenges, six innovative new ideas, two arts-based projects, three mental health training workshops and nine fitness classes in Vancouver and the Okanagan.
Have a great idea? Want to boost team-building and the health of your colleagues? It’s easy to apply – and the benefits to your department or unit can be far-reaching.
To learn more about the program – including regulations, funding toolkits and application forms – go to our Healthy Workplace Initiatives Program webpage.
Applications close on April 21, 2017.
Posted in Events, Healthy UBC Initiatives, Mental Health, Nutrition, Physical Health | Tagged application, deadline, funding, grant, healthy workplace funding, Healthy Workplace Initiative Program, HWIP, Support, team-building, UBC | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on June 3, 2014
In March of this year, UBC’s Department of Human Resources changed homes. We moved from the centrally located General Services Administration Building (GSAB) to the south end of campus, to join the TEF3 building family.
The move has made me realize how spoiled we were in terms of location in GSAB. There is something to be said for being steps away from transportation, ample food choices and for the ease of knowing it would never take more than 10 minutes to walk to a meeting. The thought of having to walk farther to get to the office each day, in addition to the prospect of adding additional time to get to and from meetings, caused me anxiety and frustration.
Three months later, I realize that the move has provided us with a great opportunity. We have been given the chance to be outside more often during the day, to explore a different corner of campus and to walk. I plan on taking full advantage of walking on campus this summer and in doing so, hope to promote not only my physical health but my mental health.
Too busy to get out of the office? Try a walking meeting.
Walking meetings are becoming more popular as they allow work and productivity to continue while promoting healthy behaviours.
Take advantage of the nicest months that Vancouver has to offer on campus and become healthier and more productive in the process. Studies show that walking increases creativity and cognitive function. The multitasking that occurs when a person walks and talks does not hinder performance and can actually boost focus and attention. Want to make your walking meeting even better? Take it outside.
According to studies, “forest bathing”, a short leisurely visit outside, particularly in a forest or highly green area, can lead to decreased stress levels and a healthier immune system. Forest environments promoted lower cortisol levels (a hormone released in response to stress), lower blood pressure, and a heightened parasympathetic nervous system (promotes digestion and slows heart rate).
Here are some tips for hosting a walking meeting. I hope to see more of our UBC colleagues out this summer, walking and talking their way to increased productivity and better health.
How to Host a Walking Meeting:
Keep meetings small and manageable
Host one-on-one meetings, small group brainstorms, or break a larger group up into small working groups
Set out the meeting objectives ahead of time
Provide notice to participants to dress appropriately
Proper footwear is a must for walking meetings.
Bring small note pads or a recording device
You might want to jot down or record ideas that come up.
Map out a basic route ahead of time
This will provide direction to the group and keep you on task
Keep it concise
Be mindful that people have others tasks to accomplish in their day.
Add a walk to a conference
Think about adding a walk as part of a conference or meeting break.
Campus and Community’s UTown has provided us with some suggestions for walking tours around campus. They have provided the approximate times and notable stops along the way!
Pacific Spirit Park is always another good option. Find the trail map here.
Until next time,
Kline, J., Poggensee, K., Ferris, D. (2014) Your brain on speed: cognitive performance of a spatial working memory task is not affected by walking speed. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Vol. 8.
Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning,Memory, and Cognition.
Park, BJ., Tsunetsugu, Y., Kasetani, T., Miyazaki, Y. (2010) The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): Evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. Vol 15, Issue 1.