Ongoing Wellness Initiatives at Lawrence

Last Tuesday through Thursday Sept. 27-29, the WELLU-Wellness Initiative coordinated personal health assessment screenings from 6-10 a.m. The screenings were designed specifically for faculty, staff, and their spouses to assess how their lifestyle choices affect their overall health. The screenings measured the participants’ cholesterol levels, blood, pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index (BMI) which would provide a Biometric score. The lifestyle rating is based on the participants’ daily habits related to nutrition, physical activity, alcohol consumption, stress and depression, and tobacco use. The results are confidential.

Senior Human Resources Generalist Wendy Holub and Director of Human Resources Rochelle Blindauer partnered with ThedaCare to get screenings communicated and rooms set up. In the Multipurpose Room of the Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center there were stations offering privacy: two blood draw stations and height and weight stations. The screenings took about 10 minutes. There were 60-70 slots per day. “All slots were filled,” said Holub. “Healthier employees can encourage other students to be healthy and give doctors things they were otherwise not aware of. An issue everywhere is growing obesity, and we owe it to ourselves to be healthy and a reminder to stay active and live well.”

Director of Wellness and Recreation Erin Buenzli and registered nurse and Educator For Faculty and Staff Laurie Alers also talked about the importance of the personal health assessment screenings. The results showed the total aggregate instead of individual results. The trending data was a tool to plan and organize more events in wellness. Food and drinks were provided to the participants afterwards because they had to fast before the blood tests. Healthcare costs are constantly rising. “As a whole we don’t want our health insurance to keep going up mitigate what everyone is paying,” commented Blindauer. Alers is a certified diabetes educator, and said, “We know poor sleep and high stress levels can make blood sugars tired for patients with diabetes cardiovascular and diabetes.” Results of health assessments determines what we need to focus on next year.

WELLU has been coordinating personal health assessment screenings for eight years, but so far this is not available to students. “This is mainly because students are covered by health insurance and the screenings provide to the faculty and staff who would not otherwise be covered by insurance,” said Blindauer.

However, the student organization WELLU, the Wellness Committee, provides students with ways to improve their personal health and talk about wellness issues around campus. Juniors and co-presidents Colleen Nowlan and Natalie Kramer excitedly discussed their plans for this year. So far the Wellness Committee has not collaborated with other student organizations but this year they hope collaborate with other clubs with the same goals.

The Wellness Committee have organized an event called the Wellness Fair for Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. where about 50 vendors including church organizations and different resources from the Appleton community and schools will host activities and talk about all aspects of wellness. Some of the more popular booths to check out are Happy Bellies that serves good gluten-free treats, spiritual home remedies, flu shots, Appleton Parks and Recreation giving a discussion on how we engage with nature and wellness and pet therapy where students and faculty can play with dogs. The Wellness Fair provides the campus an opportunity to see what goes on in the community outside the “Lawrence bubble” as well as to learn about ways to live a healthy lifestyle and maintain wellness.

During ninth week the Wellness Committee will be coordinating alcohol awareness week. “At our age a lot of students don’t understand consequences of alcohol,” said Kramer. The Wellness Committee has a display where they reveal the amount of alcohol consumed every weekend, which shocks everyone every year.

In Spring Term the Wellness Committee will be hosting “Sextravaganza,” an event that is all about sexual health. Students are encouraged to ask any question about sex that did not get answered in high school sex education. It is important to know about the consequences of sexually transmitted infections and safe sex and relationships.

A healthy lifestyle would incorporate eating healthy, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. “When people stay in stationary positions throughout the day stress mentally brings students to their wits end and makes it harder to concentrate on their workload,” said Knowlan. Kramer advises students to get “at least eight hours of sleep to complete the REM cycle and be energized for the next day’s activities.”

As far as eating right, “make healthy food choices and avoid sugars in the commons,” Buenzli said. “I tried to stay active for 30-45 minutes a day and choose real food as a general rule—that is eat foods from nature that are not processed.” Health and wellness is not just physical, it is also mental, emotional and spiritual. A healthy lifestyle balances the soul, mind and body.