SUU Employee Fitness Program Earns National Gold AwardFebruary 09, 2017
Author: Cami Mathews
Southern Utah University’s T-Fit program was recently awarded gold in the 2016 Optimas Awards for vision for employee success. The awards are presented by Workforce, a national multimedia publication for human resource professionals that covers the merging point of people management and business strategy.
The Optimas Awards, given annually for the past 26 years, focuses on celebrating creative solutions to new challenges in human resources. The awards, given by editors Frank Kalman and Rick Bell, include ten categories, as well as the winner of the Optimas General Excellence Award.
SUU’s T-Fit program won gold in the vision category. The T-Fit program is a newly implemented program that focuses on employee wellness at the university. Renee Ballenger, SUU’s wellness coordinator, established the initiative in hopes that it would motivate faculty and subsequently reduce the costs of health care.
“It is an honor to have all the hard work and effort that has gone into the development and implementation of the program recognized by a leading national employment trade association,” said Ballenger. “Such affirmation really is invaluable.”
The T-Fit program has grown in participation by employees since it began, with spouses also invited to participate. The holistic approach to personal wellness strives to include programming in physical, mental, intellectual, nutritional, occupational, financial, and social wellness.
“There are a variety of ways and opportunities to get involved,” said Ballenger. “We have made a shift from a quantifiable objective to a mission of supporting positive changes in lifestyle behavior which has enriched the program immeasurably.”
Approximately 40 percent of the campus employee population is currently participating in at least one programming experience with T-Fit. Experiences include activity groups, annual health screenings, “Lunch-n-Learns,” education presentations, a weight management group, wellness coaching, and semester challenges.
With silver and gold awarded in each category, SUU was the only university to win gold in the vision category. Workforce awarded SUU’s T-Fit program due to its “willingness to try wellness, typically a corporate trend, in the traditional environment of an academic institution.”
Other winners recognized at the Optimus Awards included the company AAA in their California, Utah, and Nevada divisions who won gold in corporate citizenship for their focus on child passenger safety in vehicles.
T-fit continues to nurture a happier, healthier employee culture at SUU. For more information, or to get involved, visit the T-fit website.
Nikki Koontz- assistant director of marketing communication