By Marlene Dong on October 3, 2018
Congratulations to Derick Chan, Liz Hudson, Harmony Johnson, and Alexa Love (UBC Press) and Kathy Manson (School of Kinesiology) on being the inaugural recipients of the 2018 President’s Staff Award for Wellbeing. On October 18, they received their awards at a special reception held at Norman McKenzie House.
Recognizing the important role faculty and staff play in promoting workplace health, a new wellbeing category was added to the President’s Staff Awards for 2018. The award recognizes individuals and teams that create opportunities for others to thrive at UBC: from leading activities and initiatives that promote social, physical and/or mental health and wellbeing, to inspiring community members to care for themselves and each other.
“A great inspiration”
At UBC Press, Derick Chan (Finance Assistant), Liz Hudson (Inventory Manager), Harmony Johnson (Academic Sales Manager), and Alexa Love (Advertising and Promotions Manager) go above and beyond to promote social, physical and mental health and wellbeing for staff – from leading their local health and safety committee to encouraging colleagues to participate in the 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge and Sports Day.
Derick, Liz, Harmony and Alexa are also community builders and champions, organizing presentations to increase awareness of health and wellbeing resources at UBC, such as the Employee and Family Assistance Program, Ergonomics program, and Risk Management Services. They organize healthy potluck lunches – not only to encourage others to recognize that healthy options are achievable, but also to build community and connections across the three units within UBC Press. Recently, the group secured a grant for an office bike to encourage on-campus active transportation and exercise. To ensure the initiative was inclusive for riders of all skill levels, the group provided a workshop on road safety and basic bike mechanics.
“They are a great inspiration to the staff at UBC Press,” says Kerry Kilmartin, Publicist and Events Manager at UBC Press. “They have worked together to provide interesting opportunities to learn about health and they have promoted the existing UBC wellness activities already available to their colleagues. Above all though, they have worked to make the UBC Press a great and healthy place to work.”
“She enriches the UBC experience for all”
In the School of Kinesiology (KIN), Kathy Manson is the Executive Coordinator & Program Administrator, but to the students, faculty and staff she interacts with every day, Kathy is a role model, a “coach”, the “head and heart” for many in the department.
As the ‘go-to’ person in KIN, Kathy helps others overcome obstacles with empathy and compassion. Whether advocating for diverse faculty voices to be heard or providing encouragement to students, Kathy’s collaborative approach inspires others to care for themselves and each other in the workplace.
“Navigating through graduate school and postdoctoral fellowships can be like a modern pentathlon,” notes Sarah Koch, Erica Bennett and Anne Lasinsky, members of the team that nominated Kathy for the Wellbeing Award. “In Kinesiology research, we often examine the ways in which coaches guide athletes to their maximal athletic capacities. Just like a coach, Kathy assists all of us to achieve our best performances when it counts the most… Kathy not only embodies the mission and vision of KIN, but also exemplifies many of the qualities that UBC aims to impart on its university family.”
Kathy is seen as a role model for how she integrates physical activity throughout her work day, her participation in the School’s outreach programs (BodyWorks Fitness Centre), and her involvement in community-based activities. Kathy invites all students, faculty and staff to participate with her, regardless of their skill or fitness level.
“On a daily basis, Kathy embodies the head and the heart of the School of Kinesiology,” says Patricia Vertinsky, Distinguished University Scholar & Professor in KIN. “From the moment she arrives on her bicycle after riding across town through rain, snow or sun, to the end of the day…she lends an intelligent and supportive hand with a smile and constant encouragement. That’s the kind of dynamic and gracious leadership that enhances the UBC experience, all the time, and for all of us in the School of Kinesiology.”
Tell us how you thrive
Photos: Paul Joseph
By Melissa Lafrance on August 7, 2018
This month, we share the results of our popular Stair Challenge, an annual health and wellbeing initiative that encourages UBC staff and faculty to use stair climbing to boost their cardiovascular health and build strength.
The 2018 Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge achieved a high water mark this year with a record turnout of participants. For four weeks (May 28 to June 22), over 490 staff, faculty and postdoctoral fellows took steps to climb their way to better health. The annual initiative is organized by UBC Human Resources’ Health Promotions team and offers a fun, easy, inclusive and accessible way for UBC employees to take an active role in enhancing their overall health and wellbeing. As individuals or in teams, participants can take the stairs, gain elevation by hiking, or stay active on stair climbers. For non-stair climbers, there is the option of walking or tracking wheelchair distances. Weekly and top performing prizes are awarded during and at the end of the challenge.
This year’s Stair Challenge had UBC employees stepping up from across the university, from Point Grey, the Okanagan and Robson Square to the hospital sites at VGH/DHCC, St. Paul’s, BC Women’s and Children’s. Collectively, they climbed 547,748 metres – the equivalent of scaling Mt. Everest 65 times!
The effort, enthusiasm and level of engagement was high throughout the challenge. Participants not only achieved astounding altitudes, but they also reported being more active at work and outside of work through social connections. In a post-challenge survey, the majority of participants reported that their top motivations were to improve their physical fitness and increase the incentive to take active breaks during their work day. 96% of participants agreed that the challenge contributed to their overall wellbeing.
“It’s one of many fantastic motivators to be more active,” said one challenge participant in their survey response. “It inspired me to finally try going up Grouse Mountain…it was something to keep in mind when I stood waiting for an elevator…I really value this incentive to keep moving.”
Participants found creative ways to motivate themselves and others, including organizing active breaks, sending daily email encouragement and posting funny posters to liven up stairwells. For UBC Vancouver’s Brock Warriors, one of this year’s top performing teams (averaging 1,172 flights per person), they stayed motivated by participating as a group and accomplishing shorter bursts of activities. In particular, team members Ritu Dabla, Laurie Dawson and Janice McGill enjoyed the social aspect of the challenge and felt it enhanced their friendships:
“The most interesting part was how [we] felt engaged and connected to the larger UBC community…It led to better physical fitness, social connections and enhanced [our] mental health and wellbeing.”
UBC Okanagan’s Heather Bradshaw (Centre for Teaching & Learning) was the top performing individual this year, achieving a total of 2,966 flights. She challenged herself by setting her eyes on the highest virtual peak – Mt. Everest. Heather did not have teammates to stay accountable to, but that did not stop her:
“I was motivated by trying different methods of reaching daily and weekly goals. I climbed the stairs to the 9th floor of my condo building five times as a morning routine and took breaks during my work day by going up and down the building stairs.”
The Next Challenge
For the UBC HR Health Promotions team of Miranda Massie and Melissa Lafrance, they are already looking ahead to the future:
“We appreciate all the valuable comments, feedback and suggestions we’ve received,” said Lafrance. “They will help us make the annual Stair Challenge even better next year.”
Massie added, “Thanks to our generous corporate discount partners for donating prizes, but most of all, thank you to each and every participant. You embody the spirit of what the Stair Challenge is all about – inspiring and supporting your personal, physical and social health and wellbeing. Melissa and I hope to see you all back next year, and we hope you’ll encourage new colleagues to join the fun!”
For More Information
Visit the Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge page for photos submitted by 2018 participants. For upcoming health and wellbeing events and initiatives, visit our Events & Workshops page and stay tuned through Healthy UBC.
Photo Credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
Posted in Information Update, Physical Health, Thriving Campus | Tagged 2018, challenge, Peak performance, physical activity, Pick your Peak, Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge, stair challenge, stair climbing, UBC, winners | Leave a response