University Honored for Promoting Workplace Health
Southern Adventist University recently received the 2014 Governor’s Healthier Workplace award, part of the state's Healthier Tennessee initiative, for meeting all 32 of this program’s requirements and being an involved community advocate for wellness.
The normal lifestyle on campus met a lot of the simple criteria for having a healthy workplace, including vegetarian meals and an alcohol- and smoking-free environment. A sample of additional areas where Southern excelled were the university’s health-related lunch and learn programs, employee participation in group activities such as intramurals, and the availability of hiking and biking paths.
“At Southern we don’t just promote being active and fit, but look at health in a more holistic way,” said Robert Benge, chair of the Employee Wellness Committee and dean for the School of P.E., Health, and Wellness. “We’re focused and intentional about what we’re trying to do here on campus.”
David Edwards, director of project implementation for the Governor’s Healthier Tennessee Workplace program, was so impressed with Southern that he expressed an interest in featuring the university on his group’s website as a participant and partner with the state for promotion of healthier living in Tennessee.
And while the Seventh-day Adventist health message does place an emphasis on physical well-being, there are pragmatic reasons for all the time and energy Southern spends providing these benefits to employees.
“We definitely want people to live a long, healthy life,” Benge said. “But another reason this is important is that the healthier you are in the workplace, the more productive you’re going to be!”
The university’s care and concern extend beyond simply their own employees; there are some special health perks for spouses and children of faculty and staff also. Beginning in June 2012, Southern provided complimentary membership to the Hulsey Wellness Center—including the pool, weight room, gymnasium, and everything in between—for all employees and their families.
“This has been a blessing not only to me but to my husband and kids, too,” said Kendra Stanton Lee, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Communications. “I am forever grateful for this benefit.”