Promoting health at OU’s annual Benefits and Wellness Fair

With the semester’s halfway point in the rearview mirror, students and staff must maintain stamina to reach the finish line. When studying or preparing for class calls for a pick-me-up, remember to keep your health in mind.

Making healthy choices was the topic of conversation at Oakland University’s Benefits and Wellness Fair in the Rec Well last week.

“We make choices every moment that influence our physical and emotional wellness,” said Kelsey Dovico, representative of the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities (ACHC). “[Look at] people that are feeling stressed, have a head ache and have that sugar craving: Instead of maybe taking the nap they need or grabbing some peppermint and essential oil, [they may grab] a tall coke or a coffee and a pastry, which can exacerbate that stress and tension in the body.”

ACHC is a nonprofit agency located in Auburn Hills. According to Dovico, it acts as a governing body for all of the community coalitions in Oakland County that are based on prevention education and advocacy.

Dovico was handing out free green tea with fliers explaining its health benefits. The ACHC table was just one of several taking up the top floor of the Rec Well. Alongside other health advocacy organizations like Applied Fitness Solutions and doTERRA Wellness Advocacy.

Representatives from benefit providers including American Heart Association, Liberty Mutual Insurance and H&R Block, were readily available to assist OU staff and faculty that need help choosing or changing their health benefits.

“I think we have a great benefits package and a lot of people don’t understand everything that’s involved with it because it can be confusing,” said Coordinator of Wellness and Educational Outreach Stephanie Willis, “so if they’re able to ask those questions and take advantage of [this event] they’re actually able to save money or have resources maybe they didn’t know they already had, just for being an employee here.”

Willis, who works with faculty and staff to promote a healthy lifestyle and assist with any personal well-being needs of employees, said the wellness fair is her biggest event and typically gets around 700 people to participate annually.

Throughout the year, Willis also coordinates events like walks and brings in assistance from professionals like dietitians to meet with OU employees to discuss their health.

According to Willis, the fair also “kicks off open enrollment for employees, so if there are any changed to our benefits this is where they can come and ask questions before they select their providers for the year.”

It’s important for the health benefit providers to meet OU employees in person to avoid any communication difficulty. The fair is a useful opportunity for providers and employees to establish relationships and give the benefit process a personal touch.