K-State Olathe named a top healthy workplace by the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016

OLATHE — A new healthy workplace designation is "fit" for Kansas State University Olathe.

On Oct. 4, K-State Olathe was named a Gold Level Healthy KC Certified Organization by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The certification recognizes employees' efforts to make K-State Olathe a workplace that promotes health and wellness among its coworkers through exercise, healthy eating, tobacco cessation and more.

Gold is the highest level of certification given by the chamber.

K-State Olathe received its gold level certification based on several employee initiatives and actions. These include participation in the State of Kansas' optional HealthQuest Rewards Program, which includes wellness challenges, lifestyle coaching and online seminars; the Purple is Progress university-wide walking challenge, which K-State Olathe won by having the most steps walked daily by employees; serving fruits and vegetables rather than cookies and other sugar-rich snacks at meetings; posting health tips and information on bulletin boards and digital signage around the building; hosting a Lunch and Learn with a nutritional expert; bringing healthy food options at potluck events; hosting weekly community yoga classes during lunch; and more.

Additionally, groups of K-State Olathe employees walk, run or cycle during the noon hour; participate in a coed recreational sand volleyball team; and have competed in Couch to 5k running programs.

"At K-State Olathe, we champion the balanced pursuit of academic excellence, overarching critical thinking, quality of workplace and quality of life," said Dean Vakas, chief operating officer at K-State Olathe, who encouraged
K-State Olathe's application to the chamber's Healthy KC Organizations list. "We work hard to create a collective healthy environment that is easy to embrace"

Roberta Robinson, manager of human resources, led the application effort. She worked with Bryan Severns, director of food programs and services, on the nutritional aspects of the application and Nate Scherman, IT manager, on the employee participation aspects.

Healthy KC is an initiative launched by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and regional health and wellness leaders. The initiative was created in response to national health rankings showing a decline in the overall health of citizens in Greater Kansas City. Recognizing healthy activities at workplaces is one of the five areas of focus for Healthy KC.