How do 180 UVic employees walk across Canada in the middle of winter? Virtually, and with a pedometer, website and amazing team spirit.
Over approximately three to six months, 180 employees of the Division of Student and Ancillary Services (STAS) will clip on a pedometer, track their daily steps on www.speakwell.com/ipedcanada (an interactive website designed by former UVic professor Martin Collis) and ultimately trek a distance equivalent to traversing our great white north, all while having fun and learning about their personal health and wellness.
Organizer Julie Sanders of UVic Career Services got the idea for the trek during a leadership course she was taking. “My goal was to create a dialogue for wellness, empower my colleagues in their well-being and use wellness to unite all 13 departments that comprise STAS,” she says. “Those who do take on wellness goals often go at it alone. By uniting all department employees, it creates a strong community where individuals are empowered and supported together in their well-being.”
Sanders worked with representatives from each department in STAS to launch her program, Wellness Together WE Stand! in December. Guest speakers Collis and business and life coach Delaney Tosh energized the STAS crowd with a motivational talk centred on wellness and how to set achievable goals.
The event was such a success that the UVic Department of Housing Food and Conference Services speed-walked right into Collis’ online pedometer program and have already walked virtually all the way to Halifax.
Conversion charts available online allow staff to transfer any form of physical exercise, such as swimming, cycling, yoga and everyday activities such as vacuuming and gardening, into steps.
Sanders and her STAS colleagues launched their collective walk on Feb. 1. “We hope that others on campus might also take this walk on as a fun initiative that promotes well-being,” she says.