On The Move Challenge team members from Kent State University at Ashtabula have fun while working out.

Kent State Employees Report Benefits From On The Move Challenge

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Kent State competes in national fitness initiative 

Kent State University is competing against employers across the country in the On The Move Challenge, a 12-week corporate fitness challenge promoting more movement throughout the workday.

Nationwide, On The Move has 84 participating companies and 78,075 total participants. The companies are grouped by enterprises, businesses with more than 100 employees and small businesses – companies with fewer than 100 employees. Kent State is competing in the enterprise category and ranks between 25 and 27 of 55 companies, depending on the week. Team Kent State has 1,181 members, led by team coordinator Kim Hauge, manager of university wellness and healthy campus promotions.

“We decided to engage in the On The Move Challenge with the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) for a variety of reasons,” Hauge says. “WELCOA is a well-respected resource for building high-performing, healthy workplaces, which aligns with Kent State’s aspiration to be the healthiest campus in the nation.”

Hauge says the On The Move Challenge provides a platform for easily reaching across all campuses to engage employees and educate them on the importance of moving and doing so throughout the day. The challenge is not built solely around moving and who moves the most, Hauge says. Rather, a more holistic approach empowers each individual to learn, assess and share his or her goals each week.

“An additional component that was a draw to me is the social aspect of the challenge where we participate in this challenge as a team, Team Kent State.” Hauge says. “We support our team through ‘boosting’ each other individually and for the greater good of our team. This helps to build our sense of community and that we are stronger supporting and uplifting each other.”

Building Team Spirit

Offices around the university are working together to improve the team’s national ranking. For example, the Office of Institutional Advancement has created an internal committee that plans activities for anyone in the building or division who would like to participate, including musical chairs and hydration meet-up, where staff members gather in the lobby for an afternoon water break.

“We’ve been trying to mix it up in hopes of appealing to more than just one group – whether it’s the 10-minute walk or the hydration breaks and things of that nature,” says Lawrence Carter, asset manager for the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.

The committee seeks to keep participants engaged and offer a variety of activities to meet varying needs.

“We also had a step-in, where we had everyone meet to just walk up and down the stairs through all the floors around the building,” says Katie Young, associate director of annual giving. “Everyone was high-fiving each other. Some people even stopped to do pushups at the bottom of each floor.”

“We even had some people who weren’t registered for On The Move join in on the step-in,” Carter says. “So the nice part is, even for some who may not have felt comfortable to sign up, they’re still finding ways to participate at their own comfort level.”

Carter says the committee at Institutional Advancement is working to make sure its activities are inclusive. For Institutional Advancement, Carter says it was important to reach out to participants on all of Kent State’s campuses.

“The challenge isn’t just for some of us wanting to get back on the wagon, but also for some people who might be intimidated by doing too much too quickly or because of work schedules,” Carter says. “Having the committee really helped solidify the message ‘what ever you can do is OK,’ a message reinforced by the On The Move curriculum.”

Employee Testimonials

The On The Move initiative lists reduced stress, increased resilience, heightened creativity and workplace buzz as some of the employee benefits.

“This is so true,” Hauge says. “The pop-up walking groups, emails and testimonials from our employees has been very encouraging and inspiring.”

Carter says he has noticed he is more productive and has more energy. Diana Bocciarelli, senior accountant, says she has noticed a shift around the office.

“The vibe has lightened up quite a bit, especially on days when we do activities. There’s just a bouncier step now,” Bocciarelli says.

“I didn’t always remember to stay hydrated until the On The Move Challenge,” says Paul Krouse, assistant director of annual giving. “Hydrating and staying refreshed has helped me with problems we don’t always recognize at first, such as headaches or the inability to concentrate.”

The On The Move Committee at the Office of Institutional Advancement wants to reinforce the idea this challenge can be for anyone. Their purpose is to support university employees, the challenge and the university as a whole.

“We hope to repeat this challenge annually with the intent to help employees stay connected using ‘Like’ principles – learn, assess, share, boost and move through the On The Move Monthly program,” Hauge says.

More details on the monthly program will follow later this spring.

To learn more about the On The Move initiative, visit onthemovechallenge.welcoa.org.