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Fit Friendly

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Dickinson honored by AHA for campus culture of fitness

The American Heart Association (AHA) has recognized Dickinson as a gold-level Fit-Friendly Worksite, a national honor that acknowledges the college’s commitment to encouraging and supporting physical activity, healthy eating and a wellness culture on campus.

The AHA highlights employers who show progressive leadership and concern for their employees on its annual Fit-Friendly Worksites honor roll and offers resources to further assist honorees in promoting employee health and wellness.

Dickinson was recognized along with Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Johnson & Johnson, nationally recognized health-care providers such as Massachusetts General Hospital and major research universities such as the University of Pennsylvania.

Through its Holistic Health Incentive program, Dickinson offers educational sessions to enhance professional skills and overall well-being, including free use of the Kline Fitness Center, exercise and recreation classes, on-site Weight Watchers, nutrition programs and preventive-health screenings. The program encourages employees to live a healthy lifestyle while balancing their professional and personal lives. Most of the offerings are free, low-cost or reimbursable through the college or health insurance.

Dickinson’s culture of wellness extends beyond its employees, as students have an equally impressive array of wellness services, fitness options and educational opportunities. “The college understands the benefits of fostering a campus culture that promotes wellness through healthy lifestyles,” says Steve Riccio, associate vice president of human resource services. “So we’re continually looking for ways to enhance the quality of life for our faculty, staff and students.”

The college also has begun offering joint programming for employees and students to demonstrate the importance of making wellness a lifelong choice and part of a healthy work-life balance. Some of the shared offerings include meditation classes, Zumba, yoga, Pilates and Dancing at Dickinson, a swing dance-based class.

Employees and students also enjoy the nutritional benefits of two salad bars stocked with seasonal produce from the Dickinson College organic farm; kosher, vegan and gluten-free menus; a grain bar; and a fresh fruit stand. A registered dietitian is available for employees and students who want to tailor their nutrition to address specific health or athletic needs.

The college, which maintains a physical-education requirement for graduation, recently expanded its athletic facilities, providing more space and resources for varsity and intramural athletics, sports clubs and fitness classes. The Kline Center expansion includes a larger fitness center, five regulation-sized squash courts and an outdoor sport court. The recently opened Durden Athletic Training Center houses new locker rooms for men’s and women’s lacrosse, football, field hockey, coaches, officials and visiting teams; a strength-training and free-weight room; sports-medicine facilities; and a meeting/event room with a viewing platform overlooking Biddle Field.

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Published July 28, 2014