In February 2020, the University Libraries joined the Wellness Champions program in the Department of Work/ Life & Wellness within the Office of Human Resources.
The timing nearly coincided with the onset of the pandemic, which presented an immediate set of challenges and opportunities. In March, a staff that had been almost entirely in-person became almost entirely remote. Everyone, regardless of their personal circumstances, suddenly needed more support than usual for their physical and mental well-being.
Wellness Champions Jennifer Jean-Baptiste and Nadia Clifton, working with a wellness committee, have implemented a comprehensive set of wellness events and activities in three primary categories: wellness webinars with expert instructors, staff-led social connection events, and asynchronous activities. Expert presentations have included “Managing Worry and Anxiety during COVID-19,” “Walking and Running Don’t Have to Hurt” led by an Olympic runner, live yoga classes, and more. Staff members stepped up to share skills such as kombucha fermenting, granola making, crafting, and haiku writing. Meetup groups for parents, knitters, and meditators provide ongoing connection and support, and offerings such as a Bob Ross lunch hour and a DJed dance party have kept spirits up over a tough year.
Overall, Library staff have benefited from 31 events and 5 ongoing programs so far, with high levels of interest and engagement. Planning for the spring continues, led by Wellness Champions Jennifer and Nadia, alongside their wellness committee of five other members: Monica Figueroa, Lisa Boxill Ruth, Maria Estorino, Emily Jack, and Iliana Burgos.
Thank you, Jennifer and Nadia, for leading wellness initiatives at University Libraries!