HealthierU, a new employee wellness program, will launch this fall with the creation of a website and the hiring of Annalisa Mazza as assistant director of employee wellness.
The position was created to provide wellness programs centered on the 10 Dimensions of Wellness for faculty and staff at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Mazza, who took office in June, brings recreation and wellness experience to campus to implement a variety of programs to benefit university employees.
Dubbed “HealthierU,” the program will debut this fall with a wellness and community resource fair, wellness education and programming, and wellness webpage and blog. Mazza will also provide support to employees by connecting them to resources that will highlight the different dimensions of their well-being, whether it’s nutrition services, sustainability awareness, mindfulness workshops or of the employee assistance program.
“I really want to be a resource, kind of like a university employee at Google,” Mazza said. “Advocating and letting employees know about the resources they have on campus and the programs we offer is really important to me.
Mazza is passionate about employee wellness because of the impact employees can have on campus culture as well as the significant impact wellness programs could have on employees.
“I think it’s important for people who are here day in and day out to enjoy the sunshine when it comes to wellness,” she said. “Students have been here for four or five years on average, while we have employees who have been here for 30 or 40 years. These programs will give them the opportunity to learn and try new things over a longer period of time, which you don’t do with students.
Two months into the job, Mazza wants employees to know that wellness programs shouldn’t just focus on things like step competitions. They can include on-campus Zoom yoga sessions, having lunch with a familiar face, having a productive work day, or anything that supports the 10 dimensions of well-being adopted by the university.
“I want to teach individuals on this campus how to view wellness in a way that works for them, instead of doing X number of extra things just to be considered healthy,” she said. “Yes, going to the doctor, eating healthy, and exercising are all very important parts of wellness, but you don’t have to be a D-1 star athlete to be considered healthy. . You can make wellness a part of your daily life and find pleasure in it. Wellness should be enjoyable, something you look forward to.
The new role and accompanying programs were identified as a need after hearing requests from university employees. The Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs and the Vice-Chancellor for Business and Finance proposed this new position. It is housed within Campus Recreation.
“From the perspective of Campus Recreation, our goal is to enrich the educational experience by promoting healthy living throughout life, which for us means having a positive impact on the university community,” said Amy Lanham. , director of Campus Recreation. “So I appreciate this position being hosted with us, as it gives us a great connection to the campus and a great way to promote our services. Often companies will host this position in their HR division, but I really consider Campus Recreation as a service to the university community and a resource, so I think it fits in well here.
One of the primary goals of the role and programs is to impact all departments on campus, which began with the research process. The process included members of the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women, Chancellor’s Commission on People of Color, Chancellor’s Commission on Sexual and Gender Identities, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), campus recreation, College of Education and Humanities, faculty senate, employee benefits and more.
During the process, applicants were asked to pitch their ideas for employee wellness programs. Mazza’s presentation was outstanding.
“It was Mazza’s approach to developing this programming for the community and her background that helped us select her for the job,” Lanham said. “I think she was familiar with the resources on campus and she made it clear that she would work to make this a very sustainable program from the start.”
Mazza is no stranger to college. She first set foot on campus in the summer of 2019, when she worked as a youth programs intern for Campus Recreation to fulfill the requirements of her master’s degree program at Springfield College in Massachusetts. . After completing her master’s degree in sports and recreation management, Mazza packed her bags and made the three-day trip to Nebraska, where she worked as a group fitness coordinator for two years before being appointed to his new role.
“2019 was my first time to go this far west, and I had a really great experience in Nebraska,” Mazza said. “So when the opportunity presented itself in the spring of 2020 to be a full-time Group Fitness Coordinator here, I jumped on it.”
Once on campus, Mazza became interested in employee welfare on the university campus.
“I’ve always been interested and curious about employee well-being on campus,” she said. “I had not heard of it on a large scale, just intra-department or within colleges. I enjoyed working with employees as a graduate student and always felt that if I had the opportunity to participate in an employee wellness program, I would take it.
This won’t be the first time Mazza has implemented a wellness program.
After working in on-campus fitness and recreation as an undergraduate, she led a wellness program with employees during her graduate program at Springfield College.
“That’s why I was pretty passionate about bringing a wellness program here because I saw how much the employees loved it and I think it’s going to do well here,” she said.
Of the employees who initially signed up for the challenge at Springfield, about 75% completed the wellness challenge, Mazza said. She also received positive feedback from employees she interacted with.
Mazza will translate this program into two five-week wellness programs, one starting in October and the second taking place next spring. Above all, Mazza looks forward to continuing to connect with the campus community and help employees.
In addition to the wellness programs, Mazza is thrilled to announce the Wellness and Community Resource Fair taking place from 8-11 a.m. on October 13 at the Colosseum. This lounge is open to all university employees and will help connect employees to resources on campus and in the local community.
“After the experiences our university community has had over the past few years, we are really excited that this has become an initiative and a priority on campus,” Mazza said.
To learn more about the programs, events, and offers available through the HealthierU Employee Wellness Program, visit the official webpage or contact Mazza at [email protected]