Six OSU Institute of Technology departments made the list in a record year for OSU's 2021 Certified Healthy Department initiative. Across the system, 126 departments received recognition for their contributions to providing a healthy environment and supporting the culture for an overall healthy campus and surrounding communities.
Awards are based on a tiered system, with Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, respectively.
Prospective Student Services and Student Life received the Gold Certificate. The Office of Academic Affairs received the Silver Certificate, and the Cowboy Café and the School of Arts, Sciences & Health both received the Bronze certificate.
To receive Gold status, a department must achieve a score of 76-100; Silver winners scored 56-75, and Bronze winners achieved a score of 30-55.
"This was a record year, and we saw an increase in applications across many areas on the OSU Stillwater campus as well as the branch campuses," said Kim Beard, assistant director of Employee Wellness at OSU Stillwater. "Departments had to get creative with their wellness programming throughout this past year. Many departments relied on virtual challenges and opportunities to keep employees engaged during COVID-19 restrictions."
In addition to becoming a CHD, departments also compete for the prestigious Award for Excellence in Innovation. This year’s winner was presented to the School of Global Studies and Partnerships at the OSU-Stillwater Campus.
All Certified Healthy Departments receive a window cling, an individual certificate for display and their name listed on the OSU Stillwater Wellness website.
Our own OSUIT Student Life, a Gold winner, leads by example by encouraging others on campus to live a healthy lifestyle. They focus on fostering a multi-dimensional healthy department to offer a variety of options for students and employees.
"By meeting most or all of the criteria to become Certified Healthy, our department provides an environment to practice a healthier lifestyle while at work and the means to take this information and share with others," said Sam Nguyen, sports and wellness coordinator at OSUIT. "This recognition is important for our department because we want to provide a healthy environment for faculty, staff and students, thus supporting the culture for an overall healthier work environment."
Each month Student Life sends out a wellness newsletter with tips on mental health and healthy recipes. They provide fresh fruit for the campus every Friday and frequently offer BMI and body fat percentage checks. In addition, intramural sports, online workouts and diet tips, personal training, fitness challenges and free massages are also provided throughout the year.
The Office of Academic Affairs, a Silver winner, takes advantage of Student Life's resources, such as the 30-Day Self Care Challenge from the monthly Innovators Newsletter.
"Being recognized as a Certified Healthy Department is important because it's a reminder to practice healthy habits," said Angela Byars, administrative assistant for Academic Affairs. "Our department has reminders to walk, get fresh air and eat healthy."
The School of Arts, Sciences & Health, a Bronze winner, focused on physical and mental health, noting the importance of a stress-free environment during the current conditions.
"Our school has worked very hard to adapt to the current lifestyle change, but still maintain healthy living," said Megan Williams, program support strategist for the School of Arts Sciences & Health. "We have strived to eat healthier and workout for 30 minutes at least two to three days a week."
"Becoming a CHD is an excellent way to show that your department strives to create a culture of wellness that provides a healthy environment for faculty, staff, students, visitors and community members," said Beard. "It is a true honor to display your CHD certificate and window cling and show that wellness is a priority in your department!"