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September 21, 2023

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WellAware Program holds scavenger hunt, keeps participants active

Health-conscious faculty and staff braved the rain and chilling winds on Friday morning to partake in the University’s annual Well-O-Ween Walk scavenger hunt.

The event was a part of the WellAware program on campus, said Karyn Smith, health educator and faculty and staff wellness coordinator for the University.

WellAware is a year-round health and wellness program for University employees, both current and retired. Healthy lifestyles are promoted through coordinated events on campus, such as the Well-O-Ween Walk.

The WellAware program is sponsored via grants provided by Medical Mutual of Ohio and administered by the Department of Recreation and Wellness and the Office of Human Resources.

“We offer a variety of initiatives to encourage faculty and staff to be more active, help dietary options and the importance of taking breaks throughout the day to relieve stress, increase energy, enhance your mood,” Smith said. “With Halloween being on a Friday, there’s definitely a lot of treats, potlucks and everything going on, so we wanted to do something to promote physical activity.”

Although nearly two dozen the University faculty and staff members took on the elements to scavenge throughout campus as part of a fun way to get exercise on a workday, get free healthy snacks and earn a chance to win a prize, in past years with more tolerable weather the event has had even more participants, Smith said.

Colleen Fitzgerald, an assistant professor with the College of Health and Human Services, said she and her colleagues were happy to have some time out of the office. She did the scavenger hunt with two others, Clare Barratt, an assistant professor of psychology, and Don Zhang, a psychology graduate student.

After completing the walk, they each had the opportunity to draw for a prize. Zhang was the only one of the three to grab the lucky orange “creepy crawler,” which earned him a brand new salad shaker. The prizes all fit the theme of promoting health and wellness.

“My lunch just got so much more exciting,” Zhang said.

Barratt said the rain wasn’t enough to keep them away, although they did find some indoor alternates in the walk’s route to stay dry and warm.

While not everyone won a prize, each participant did get the opportunity to make their own trail mix to take with them at

the end.

The next activity starts on Nov. 19, called the “Maintain, Don’t Gain Challenge.” The event will be all about maintaining your weight throughout the holiday season, Smith said. Those accepting the challenge can do so individually or as a team.

“We try to offer a variety of things like this to try to make it fun for people,” she said.

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