The now annual event aims to bring students, employees and the community together under the umbrella of well-being
Greta Kooy, News Editor
Photos by Taehoon Kim
Capilano University’s Human Resources and Student Affairs departments teamed up this year to introduce the University’s first annual Experience Well-Being Week. Events took place from March 11-15 on the North Shore campus and included activities like yoga, therapy dog sessions and fitness testing, among many others.
Erin McFadden, CapU’s Human Resources manager, responsible for development and engagement, explained that many of the past events held in relation to well-being were separated between students and employees. “We wanted to devote a whole week of shared experience,” she said, “thinking of it more in a campus community well-being perspective.” McFadden, along with HR Advisor Louise Allison and HR Assistants Hayley Elliot and Nina Kasikovic, partnered with Student Affairs’ Community Wellness Strategist Jody Armstrong to coordinate the week’s events.
Planning began late in 2018, just before the end of the Fall semester. Months before, the University had signed the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges, which was developed in order to “guide and inspire action… generate dialogue and research” and “mobilize international, cross-sector action for the integration of health in all policies and practices.” The Charter, McFadden explained, provides the framework for post-secondary institutions to create well-being on their campuses. “That’s been something that we’ve really put muscle behind,” she said. “We as an institution want to make a really big impact on our student well-being and our employee well-being. This is our commitment… We want a holistic viewpoint.”
CapU Human Kinetics instructor Heather Macleod Williams was tasked with creating a strategic well-being plan for the University, explained Armstrong. Macleod had initially approached the group with an idea of supporting both students and employees together, which would eventually turn into Experience Well-Being Week. “Well-Being Week [was] really just a kickoff and a start to everything that we’re going to be doing and everything that’s going to come out of [Macleod’s] report,” said McFadden. “She’s going to have a lot of great recommendations going forward of what we can be doing on campus to be more organized and more strategic with what we’re doing.” Macleod’s report will cover aspects such as programming available to students and employees, university policies and physical spaces.
Following the success of the first Experience Well-Being Week, the group hopes to expand on the now annual event. “It’s really given us a good idea of what we can build on from here,” said McFadden. She explained that there was no initial funding for the event, only limited internal resources were used. They did, however, receive a grant from Chartwell’s for $500 which was used to provide free, healthy snacks to students during the Experience Well-Being Expo. “It was really awesome on their part that they wanted to support something that was happening on campus,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong explained that a key aspect of the Okanagan Charter was the inclusion of the broader community, something the group wanted to integrate heavily into one the week’s most popular events. “With our Experience Well-Being Week,” she said, “we not only included our on-campus departments, but we invited external vendors to come in to do some Lunch & Learns and different sessions throughout the week, as well as participate in our expo.” The expo was held on Wednesday, March 13 from 11 am to 2 pm in the Birch Cafeteria. “It was great to showcase that well-being is more than the physical and mental that we often think about,” she said. “We included sessions all the way from quitting smoking and personal finances to responsible renting – all those things that really contribute to your overall well-being.”
McFadden explained that these events, and the ones to follow, are a way of creating a connection amongst the campus community. After committing to the Okanagan Charter, the group is excited to host more actives on campus that build on the successes of CapU students and employees. “We’re now situating ourselves in a less traditional space,” she said. “We’re no longer thinking about just one piece, we’re thinking about the whole puzzle. And now we’re creating the structure for us to be able to succeed in that.”