Wellness initiatives kick off the new year

By: Gerry Rucchin
January 9, 2020

Mental health and physical wellness will be at the forefront for faculty, students and staff at Western Education in 2020.

The Faculty of Education’s Wellness Committee has – for the first time – released a comprehensive wellness events calendar that will champion wellness across the Faculty and build a healthy workplace and learning culture for faculty, students and staff.

“We want to help everyone become more relaxed and enjoy their time here,” said Wellness Committee member, Katie Mentone.

In January and February there will be up to three activities each week and Mentone said activities were chosen based on the skills and interests of committee members. For example, committee members are teaching yoga, bridge and knitting.

“We have a wide array of different backgrounds and interests,” said Mentone. “It’s really dependent on volunteers and people taking the initiative to run a program. We’re lucky to have a core group of very engaged committee members.”

When the committee was created over a year ago, it focused solely on teacher candidates. Collaboration with these students was also important because they provided the committee with their feedback on wellness activities. One consistent response was their desire for the committee to host more events. In particular, the wellness activities’ popularity with students led the committee to include the entire Faculty.

“We wanted to expand to serve everyone. We had focused on teacher candidates but there’s also graduate students, international students and faculty and staff,” said Mentone.

The committee has also adopted a less formal approach to their organization. Everyone from Western Education is invited to attend meetings, which allows those in attendance to participate in the decision-making process.

The creation of the wellness committee is part of the Faculty of Education’s five-year Strategic Vision, which specifically highlighted wellness as a priority for the Faculty.

“It is critical for all of us to recognize that while wellness supports can and should be developed for individuals, our institutions must also take a close look at any systemic barriers or pressures that may be contributing to an unhealthy environment. The Wellness Committee has worked together to be inclusive and broad in its mandate to create a healthy teaching and learning environment for everyone,” said Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education, professor Kathy Hibbert.

The first wellness events start Jan. 8.

Read more about the Wellness Committee.