Kent State’s Wellness Offerings Help Employees Stay Active and Eat Healthy

Employees report benefits of university’s OneWellU program

Kent State University’s wellness program, OneWellU, provides programs, services and resources designed to support faculty and staff physically, mentally and emotionally. Kent State finished 29th in the recent 12-week On the Move Challenge and earned the designation of a Top 50 Most Active Company. Kent State’s OneWellU program has provided a variety of programs ranging from stress management, personal health coaching, nutrition and several physical activity programs. 

The On the Move Challenge proved to be one of the most engaging activities as it allowed employees to participate in a team challenge that met them where they were in their physical activity journey. It offered a realistic and supportive environment for them to make changes when, where and in what increment they could. 

“It also presented a very holistic approach to healthy living,” says Kim Hauge, manager for university wellness and healthy campus promotions. 

Ruth Ruggles, applications support analyst with Kent State’s Division of Information Services, participated in the On the Move Challenge and continues to stay active through other wellness programs offered by the university.

“I joined the Fit for Life program last summer,” Ruggles says. “It’s a class for faculty and staff, and you can sign up for it as many times as you want. I’ve been going to the 5:30 p.m. class that meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. The Fit for Life program has a variety of physical activity breakouts that you can participate in and you can change it up from session to session.

“I also did the On the Move Challenge, and what I found from participating in team-oriented challenges is that I can lose the weight, and the different programs that are available help me to lose the weight, but keeping it off is what’s hard for me,” Ruggles adds. “So what I’d like to see is some sort of follow-up; something after the competition is over.”

In addition to exercise programs, Ruggles participates in nutrition programs.

“In January, I started seeing nutritionists,” she says. “One was through Be Well Solutions, one of the university’s wellness partners. I see her every month. I also see another nutritionist through the university’s Nutrition Outreach Program. Between the two I meet with, they’ve helped me evaluate my food intake.”

For Ruggles, inspiration helps her stay focused on her wellness goals.

“My motivation for staying active, this time, was the birth of my granddaughter,” she says. “I want to be able to keep up with her. I hope I’ll be successful in keeping the weight off because, unlike losing weight for an event such as a wedding, and then gaining it back once the event is over, I’ll be chasing her for a long time.”

Through taking advantage of the programs Kent State offers, Ruggles has noticed improvements to her overall health and wellness.

“In all, participating in the On the Move challenge, Fit for Life and Be Well Solutions helped me lose 16 pounds,” Ruggles says. “As the pounds come off, it feels like the exercise and healthier food choices have helped unclutter my brain, too. I feel like I think more clearly.”

Mark van’t Hooft, sponsored programs administrator in the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs, also has noticed lasting effects from participating in the On the Move Challenge.

“I’m getting into the habit of exercising every day, even if it’s just for 30 minutes,” van’t Hooft says. “I’ve started walking a lot more and do a three- to five-mile hike at least three times a week now, usually in the evening.”

He also notes “having more energy in general and being more focused at work” after the On the Move Challenge. He is also taking advantage of other wellness offerings.

“I’ve been attending monthly meditation sessions as an Institute for Excellence alumnus,” van’t Hooft says.

In addition, van’t Hooft participated in the Colors of Summer Challenge, a 28-day challenge offered by Be Well Solutions and Kent State, designed to help participants incorporate more fruit and vegetables in their diets.

“I try to live by the 80/20 rule, meaning you try to be good 80 percent of the time, but it’s ok to deviate sometimes,” van’t Hooft says. “This gives me some flexibility and motivates me to live healthy most of the time.”

For more information about Kent State’s OneWellU offerings, visit