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September 28, 2007

New ULM employee wellness program starts Oct. 4

Kinesiology students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe have created the first-ever employee wellness program, yoUr heaLth Matters.

The 10-week fitness program, designed exclusively for faculty, staff and their families, will begin with a Campaign Kickoff Oct. 4, from 4:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., in the Student Union Building.

As part of the program, students have mapped out 36 walking routes inside and outside the ULM campus, and they’ve planned a series of events. Students will design individual exercise programs and even give ULM employees morning wake-up calls and encourage them to work out, said Mark Doherty, associate professor of kinesiology.

“Ultimately, the program is about encouragement, empowerment, and support for any ULM employee or ULM employee family member who is interested in being physically active,” Doherty said.

The chance to better student learning and utilize the ever-improving campus at ULM inspired Doherty to begin the program.

“We have an increasingly beautiful campus, and we are lucky because so many communities are being created without a basic element required for easy, safe recreation: sidewalks,” he said. “Also, I wanted the students in my Worksite Health Promotion class to be as engaged as possible. Designing activities specifically for ULM employees and their families will train them to become health and wellness professionals.”

While creating the new program, Doherty witnessed his students’ passion for their future professions.

“I hope the employees--those who participate and those who don't--will understand that our ULM students very much care about the well-being of our faculty and staff. I see that every week when I ask for program suggestions from my students. They have generated outstanding, creative ideas to encourage participants to stay active.”

As a health educator, Doherty realizes the importance of staying physically active. He also knows it can be difficult to find the time.

“As a husband, father of two boys, teacher, advisor, sibling, collegiate soccer referee, and son to an ailing parent who lives out of state, carving out time to exercise is a daily challenge. This program is a personal reminder and challenge for me to ‘walk the walk.’ I’ll do it for myself, my family, my ULM family, and my students, for whom I want to serve as a role model.”

Upcoming events:

To register online and learn more about the program, which is also sponsored by the ULM Activity Center and the ULM Health Center, visit:

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