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SMCC Earns Healthy Arizona Worksites Award

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South Mountain Community College has received the Healthy Arizona Worksite Program Copper level award for its welfare initiatives in the community, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health announced. According to its website, HAWP recognizes businesses that are making efforts to positively affect the health and well-being of their employees.

All awardees will be recognized at the Virtual Healthy Arizona Worksite annual event on June 11, 2020, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Well-being is one of the five values of South Mountain Community College, and the campus has significantly benefited from the work of the Health and Wellness Committee. The group is composed of Tyler Gillum, Alicia Sangha, Lorrie Shelton and Kathie Hawkins, but the goal is to expand it in the future.

The group has worked to institute a series of initiatives to bring health and wellness to the forefront for SMCC faculty, staff and students. Those include a 50 million step challenge, a Maintain not Gain program during the Holiday season and a hike of South Mountain.

“Our wellness hike that we do is probably my favorite,” said Sangha, the Manager of Organizational Development at the college. “We started it not knowing what the turnout would be, but participation has picked up each year, and it continues to grow and gain momentum.” 

The college renovated its fitness center and weight room in the last year, and the committee has also used several smartphone apps to help members achieve their goals. There are walking stations on campus, where computers can be set up to use on a treadmill. There is one in the fitness center, one in the Center for Teaching and Learning and they are available to anyone.

“Health, wellness and teaching gone hand-in-hand for me,” said Gillum, the Program Director for Health and Wellness at South Mountain Community College. He is also an assistant coach on the Cougar baseball team. “Our Maintain Not Gain program goes from mid-November to mid-January with the goal for participants to go through the holiday season and not gain weight. If they do not gain, they get entered into a drawing for a prize.”

The college has also recently hired an athletic trainer and strength coach, Kim Jones, who provides video presentations on various health and wellness subjects. With Covid-19 throwing a wrench into people’s exercise regiment, Sangha credits the Health and Wellness Committee initiatives for reminding her to stay active.

“For me, working with on the health and wellness committee has encouraged me to get my steps in, and the little reminders are helpful to have and have impacted me a lot. The videos have been helpful, and we have received great feedback on them. This time can be a very stressful and distracting time, so it is important to keep health and wellness at the forefront,” Sangha added.

“We are especially grateful for the support of the college’s administration and Dr. Olson,” Gillum said. “She and the administration have been very supportive and devoted money and resources to the programs while also helping to promote them.”

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