Team caps off 2016 On the Move challenge with mountain climb!
The Plymouth State University wellness program reached a peak last fall – specifically, the peak of Mount Washington, New Hampshire (elev. 6,288 feet). On a Saturday in October, a group of 20 faculty members, students, staff members, alumni, and partners spent 10 hours traversing the 9.9-mile Jewell Trail that led them to the summit and back.
“It was a long day, but so well-orchestrated by our PSU Outdoor Center guides,” said Denise Normandin, program manager for Healthy PSU. “Hike leaders Christian and Julie Bisson, along with student leaders, knew how to safely lead us up the mountain, and paced our groups by taking breaks when they knew we needed to.
“Between the fall colors, sunshine, and blue sky, I don’t think we could have planned a better day.”
The hikers, including the campus President Donald Birx, left the outdoor center at 5 a.m., but in reality their march up the mountain had begun a several years earlier, when the university launched its research-based health and wellness program after becoming self-insured.
“I believe employers and families are concerned now more than ever with rising healthcare costs,” Normandin pointed out. “Health and wellness professionals have a unique opportunity to educate, provide guidance, advocate for policy change, and create environments for people to thrive.
“There is no better time than the present, given the current state of inactivity during the school and work day, than to promote purpose-driven physical movement and more holistic approaches to health.”
Building on comments from On the Move participants, the idea for PSU Summit Day was sparked. The project was approved by campus leaders, and an invitation to climb Mount Washington was extended.
Participants attended trainings sessions to build their endurance and learn proper trail techniques, and their efforts culminated in a climb that elevated the university’s status as a leader in wellness. Plymouth State University was designated as a platinum Well Workplace by WELCOA in 2016, as well as a Fit-Friendly Innovative Worksite by the American Heart Association.
“The experiences gathered from the On the Move initiative and PSU Summit Day have inspired a sense of community building and social connectedness at PSU like no other programs we have implemented,” Normandin commented.
Read the full article Plymouth State makes it to the top by J.J. Keller and Associate’s, Inc. in their online LivingRight®: Health & Wellness Awareness Program June 2017 Newsletter.