In an office setting where one is often just sitting down and staring at a computer screen, healthy habits are often overlooked. Fortunately, the UCR Wellness Ambassador Program makes it easier for UCR staff to maintain and improve their health by bringing together wellness into the work environment.

Through sponsored events and activities, the UCR Wellness Ambassador Program allows UCR staff to volunteer to serve as liaisons of the wellness program in supporting the promotion of health and wellness. Begun in June 2012, the program now has about 80 members.

Wellness ambassadors are responsible for publicizing wellness activities and programs, recruiting faculty and staff to participate in the activities and ultimately to identify strategies to guide the UCR community into a healthier work culture.

Annie Hooper, wellness ambassador and financial analyst, says, “As an ambassador, I feel obligated to make healthy choices throughout the day. From bringing healthy lunches to taking walking breaks, these choices make me feel good about myself and at times even provide an opportunity to de-stress so I can come back renewed and energized to tackle work with a positive outlook.”

Brianna Barrett Wrightsman, an ambassador from the CNAS Dean’s Office, says, “I became a wellness ambassador after finding out how getting outside and taking care of my body helped me feel more productive and vibrant during the work day. I became an ambassador so I could share that feeling with others and encourage my colleagues to be active at work and take care of themselves.”

Events that the wellness ambassadors hosts includes: Gentle Yoga classes by Diane Del Buono, associate of the chancellor and the wellness ambassador program’s leadership sponsor, avocado tastings, healthy salad potluck lunches and recipe swapping parties. Each wellness ambassador plan events that are catered towards their specific department.

“Our team plans a lot of guided walking tours and those have been very fun. Yoga classes also have been a favorite for me because we move and stretch and laugh as we practice. It’s a fun way to meet others in your unit who have an interest in healthy practices for daily living,” said Virginia Odien, an administrator from the Office of Strategic Communications.

This article originally appeared in Inside UCR.