The Illinois Department of Public Health has recognized Heartland Community College for their worksite health promotion efforts. HCC has been designated as a healthy worksite and was one of six organizations in the state to receive a gold status. Part of the We Choose Health community transformation grant, the designation was created to engage employers throughout the state in worksite wellness best practices.
Heartland’s committee for worksite wellness formed in October 2012 and includes members from various departments throughout the College. Their vision is to ensure all dimensions of wellness are valued and intentionally integrated into the campus culture.
“We spent the first year researching workplace wellness and what initiatives we wanted to implement,” said committee chair, Josh Kauten. “What we found was pretty eye opening, especially the cost of doing nothing.”
Kauten was referring to a return on investment (ROI) calculator that shows the rising cost of healthcare and projected savings with a wellness program. “We took the state’s average smoking and obesity rates and calculated what the savings would be if we reduced the rates by 10 percent. By 2018, we could be saving an estimated $520,000 annually in total healthcare-related expenses.”
To be considered for recognition, an organization has to show it promotes and demonstrates various health and wellness initiatives such as healthy eating, physical activity and lifestyle and disease management. Kauten highlighted some of the initiatives Heartland currently has in place for employees such as free access to the Fitness and Recreation Center, free community education classes and a comprehensive healthcare plan that includes coverage for mental and physical wellness.
Heartland also recently implemented flexible scheduling where employees can work with their supervisor to determine a schedule that promotes work/life balance.
According to committee member Amy Munson, this is just a small portion of what they hope to accomplish. “We want to continuously promote and celebrate healthy habits,” she said. “Wellness is more than working out, it’s all encompassing from stress relief to an office that is ergonomically sound. Our committee will continue striving to meet the wellness needs of Heartland employees.”
The College’s gold designation will last for three years. For more information about the Illinois Healthy Worksite Designation, visit http://www.wechoosehealth365.com/aspx/Public/Page.aspx?pid=18663.
Employees interested in joining the committee or submitting an idea can contact Josh Kauten at email@example.com or (309) 268-8432.
HCC art student Bernadette Cash received a unique package in the mail, a piece of art from Iran.
Not only did this artwork come from a unique location, it was personally created for Cash by Master of Arts student, Mohaddeseh Toubaei from Soureh University in Tehran.
Cash was one of the Heartland art students who participated in the Global Art Project in the spring of 2014, a program where students create art that represents global peace and mail them to students in another country. The recipient is encouraged to send back their own artwork symbolic of peace.
The exchange is kind of like a glorified international pen-pal experience. However, treasured pieces of art are traded instead of letters. According to globalartproject.org, each participant keeps the art sent to them as a gift of global friendship.
Jane Camp, associate professor of painting and drawing at HCC, decided to give her students the opportunity to participate in the Global Art Project after several showed interest. “I’ve done this before with groups of students, but prior to this year I hadn’t done it since 2008,” Camp said.
"The risk of the project is you may not receive anything back. It is still worth it to participate though because it brings us together, huddling in anticipation," explained Camp.
Camp and her students were thrilled to receive a copper metalwork piece from Toubaei in Tehran, Iran. It features a graphic logo combining the letters of the word "peace" in English and Persian languages. According to Toubaei's letter, the art includes the Eslimi pattern, which is considered one of the most beautiful and traditional Iranian patterns. The metalwork also features the wings of a dove carrying an olive branch in its beak, which is a common symbol of peace.
Prior to receiving the metalwork from Toubaei, Cash sent a diptych consisting of two silver gelatin prints. “After developing them in a darkroom, I blue toned the photographs to give them a cool, watery feel – like the ocean,” Cash said.
Entitled Seashore, the artwork was inspired by the peace Cash feels when she sees water. “When I was a young child, I moved to different places where I always lived near the sea. As an adult, I always keep sand, shells and pebbles as souvenirs from beaches whenever I travel,” said Cash.
It’s safe to say Cash will cherish the metalwork forever as it has such a unique story. The Global Art Project is something Camp will encourage future students to try.
Many wonder, what kind of art might Heartland students receive next?
Keep your Halloween costume out for one more day. Dress up and join the Challenger Learning Center’s Fright Flight Simulated Space Mission crew.
Enjoy pizza, Halloween activities and participate in a space launch. Whether you’re in mission control or the space station, each team will work together to accomplish mission goals.
Date: Saturday, November 1
Time: 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Place: Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College, 1500 W. Raab Rd., Normal
Cost: $20/person (includes pizza dinner)
Age requirement: 5th grade and above
A paying adult must accompany all participants under 12.
To register and get more information, visit the Challenger Learning Center website or call 309-268-8700.