Health & Wellbeing Commission 2016-10-28T23:43:37+00:00

Health & Wellbeing Commission

The severe impact of rising health care costs has created a new emphasis on prevention and holistic employee wellness. Colleges and universities have an opportunity to impact students, employees, and the surrounding community with wellness initiatives. Although some campuses have well established wellness programs to serve this need, wellness is an emerging service for many institutions. Campus recreation professionals have an enormous opportunity to provide major components in the health and wellbeing of our campus communities.

Wellness is a collaborative effort transcending many departments across an institution’s campus. Recreation professionals can serve as relationship builders and catalysts for stimulating robust discussions to develop and improve workplace wellness practices. By recognizing the connectedness of physical health to brain health and productivity, recreation professionals are positioned to have a strong presence in campus wellness initiatives.

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Program Questions for Health & Wellbeing in Collegiate Recreation

  • Do you encourage staff members to practice healthy exercise and nutrition behaviors?
  • Do your resale items encourage healthy physical behaviors? (i.e. sale of water versus energy drinks)
  • Do staff members know and practice safety rules and regulations to ensure patrons’ physical safety during fitness and sporting activities?
  • Does departmental policy reflect standard ethic of care and/or national guidelines for participants’ physical safety and wellbeing?
  • Does your department have procedures to support the students’ personal spiritual practice?
  • Does your department practice equanimity and inclusivity towards all spiritual practices?
  • Does you department provide opportunities for all to engage in the Five Qualities of Spiritual Health (internal locus of control, sense of meaning, hope, connectedness, and forgiveness/empathy/ compassion)?
  • Does you department encourage altruistic values and practices within student development and programmatic efforts?
  • Does your department have a long-term financial plan with sufficient reserves?
  • Do you consider the long-term needs and growth of your department when budgeting?
  • Do you have a thorough understanding of how employee benefits impact your budget?
  • Do you offer financial literacy development opportunities to both professional and student staff?
  • Do you obtain quotes from multiple businesses in order to get best price for services and equipment?
  • Have you sought alternative funding sources to minimize fee increases?
  • Does your staff understand the correlation between physical activity and emotional wellbeing?
  • Does your department communicate those correlations in marketing materials and during program implementation?
  • Does your department provide opportunities for students to be proactive in their mental and emotional self-care?
  • Has your department collaborated with mental health providers on your campus and in the surrounding community?
  • Is your programming inclusive and appealing to diverse participants?
  • Have you purchased equipment to support equal and inclusive access?
  • Do you use the human capital in your department to engage in service projects in your community?
  • Do you have policies and programs in place to lower barriers or negotiate constraints AND encourage participation by all populations? (i.e. LGBTQA, differently abled, people of color, international students, varied religious practices)
  • Have you had a conversation about if/how your department can make reasonable accommodations for all sorts of inclusiveness (physical, religious, gender, sexual orientation)?
  • Do you have a public statement about diversity and/ or inclusion?
  • Do you facilitate and encourage recycling in your facility? Composting?
  • Do you try to reuse products and look for those that are made with recycled content?
  • Do you use environmentally-friendly cleaning products in your facility?
  • Does your facility have water fountains with bottle fillers?
  • Do you have low-flow toilets and waterless urinals in your facility?
  • Do you track your use of resources or waste (electricity, water, energy, recycled/landfill) and set organizational benchmarks?
  • Does your department encourage professional development opportunities for current professional and student staff?
  • Are job descriptions and duties congruent with the department’s mission, values, and strategic goals?
  • Do your hiring processes help recruit diverse and qualified candidates?
  • Does your department hire and train student staff to recognize and build transferable career/job skills?
  • Is your department open to innovation in concepts and ideas?
  • Does your department look for ways to be creative with existing and new programming and services?
  • Does your department implement time for critical thinking, stimulating mental activities?
  • Does your department encourage professional and student staff to engage in various problem-solving techniques?


NIRSA Health & Wellbeing Model

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NIRSA Health & Wellbeing Model

Downloads: PDFHigh-Res JPG


April Moore, The Florida State University

George Brown, CRSS, The University of Alabama


Kimberly Barrett, RCRSP, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Joanne Greene, Washington State University

Jacque Hamilton, YWCA- Corpus Christi

Keli Kuykendall, NIRSA Headquarters

Lindy Lunkenheimer, Arizona State University

Greg Reinhardt, University of Tennessee Chattanoga

Heather Sanderson, North Carolina State University

Jennifer Sexton, Stanford University

Eric Stein, Stanford University

Kimmi Sterner, University of Mississippi


This Commission is charged with developing concrete plans—through concrete objectives that support the Association’s Strategic Plan, pursuing measurable goals, as well as developing and delivering usable resources—within the area of health and wellbeing for the benefit of the collegiate recreation profession and the Association. Additionally, Commissioners may be asked to provide leadership and guidance for the Association in this vital areas of campus recreation.

2015-16 Goals

  • Post monthly to NIRSA Connect discussionas and libraries about programs, services, best practices, research compilations and desired information regarding domains of health and wellbeing
  • Submit proposals to present at local, regional, NIRSA’s annual conferences
  • Consider submitting a proposal for a pre-conference workshop at 2016 Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Expo at the Gaylord Palms in Florida
  • Publish at least one article for the NIRSA news, to be featured in the NIRSA Know
  • Purposefully and thoughtfully increase the scope of collegiate recreation programs, services and facility operations to reflect health and wellbeing beyond physical health

Established in June of 2012

NIRSA was invited to participate in the American College Health Association’s (ACHA) Healthy Campus 2020 initiative several years ago, and Jacqueline Hamilton (Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi) and Eric Stein (Stanford University) have served as NIRSA’s representatives to this initiative. The initiative is generating objectives for student health and impediments to learning as well as objectives for faculty and staff. The NIRSA Assembly identified workplace wellness as an important topic for the collegiate recreation profession and suggested several ways to activate this strategic value to the NIRSA Board. Under the theme “Inspiring Communities of Wellbeing,” the 2013 ACPA/NIRSA Annual Conference will include relevant and timely educational opportunities on this topic.

The NIRSA Wellness Committee became part of a new Health & Wellness Commission, co-chaired by April Moore, Florida State University and George Brown, University of Alabama. Additional members were added to the Commission June 2012. Assembly recommendations, work of the 2007 Wellness Knowledge Community and objectives from the Healthy Campus 2020 initiative have been shared with the Commission. Initial work of the Commission will be to generate options that help address needs in this area of our profession.


Application Process

Commissioners are appointed by the NIRSA President and typically serve for three year terms. Each Strategic Values Commission has two co-chairs that serve three-year terms. The size of the Commissions generally range between eight and 12 members, including the co-chairs. One or two appointments are reserved for emerging professionals to support NIRSA Leadership development. Terms begin after the Annual Conference.

The Strategic Values Commissioner is critical to the success of embedding our values in the daily professional lives of NIRSA members. Below is a list of competencies that we are looking for in future Commissioners:

  1. Communication — Ability to clearly and effectively articulate opinions and ideas as well as acclimate to the various audiences of NIRSA.
  2. Strategic Thinking and Decision Making — Ability to think conceptually, imaginatively, systematically, and opportunistically in alignment with organization’s core purpose.
  3. Critical Thinking — Ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information to inform decision making.
  4. Leadership — Qualities or features that make someone distinctive in a positive and diverse way. Holds a high reputation in that capacity.
  5. Knowledge Competencies — Knowledge about and demonstrated commitment to the value area.


If you would like to serve on any of NIRSA’s Strategic Values Commissions, you will need to submit a Strategic Values Commission Application. The online application is available in the fall and due by December 15 each year.