Time and Space for Wellness for UNCG Faculty and Staff

Posted on December 04, 2023

Two people walk past the pond outside UNCG's School of Music building.

When it comes to prioritizing one’s health, it can be difficult to not only find the time, but also the space to do it. UNC Greensboro recognizes that it must also have the resources for its faculty and staff to pause, step back, and think about their own health and wellbeing.

“As faculty and staff, we’re role models for the students,” says Jill Beville, director of recreation and wellness at UNCG. “We have to be role models in taking care of ourselves and caring about each other and bringing balance into our lives.

Whether taking care of yourself is joining a group mindfulness exercise, checking out gym equipment for home, or enjoying the serenity of Peabody Park, UNCG hopes its faculty and staff will find the space that best enhances all dimensions of wellness in their personal and professional lives. 

Work Out at Work 

Recreation and Wellness (RecWell) facilities, gym equipment, and classes are available to all faculty and staff. The Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness is open every day except some holidays, so employees can swing by at a time suitable for their busy schedule. Burn fat and build muscle with weight-lifting and cardio machines or go for a swim in the Natatorium. The sauna, sun deck, and Zen Zone with nap pods and hydromassage chairs let people release all the stress that builds up at work.

“Our group fitness and exercise classes are all drop-in,” says Beville. “Individuals who have a membership to the Kaplan Center can access any of those classes at no additional cost.” Personal trainers and CPR training classes are available, albeit at extra cost.

RecWell’s services extend outdoors with Piney Lake, about eight miles from the main campus. It has water activities, walking trails, a nine-hole disc golf course, and a labyrinth – a single winding path that promotes mindfulness and meditation.

RecWell also makes some of the fields on the main campus available to faculty and staff. “The rec field, which is between the baseball stadium and Spring Garden Apartments is where we do a lot of our intramural and club activity,” says Beville.

A UNCG student stands atop a paddleboard near the Piney Lake fountain.
Piney Lake

Other outdoor areas include: 

  • The North Field behind the soccer stadium 
  • Irwin Belk Recreation Track 
  • Sand volleyball courts 
  • Outdoor basketball tracks 

For other recreational experiences, Outdoor Adventures leads trips and clinics around Greensboro and in other parts of North Carolina or neighboring states. They come at different levels of difficulty and time commitment – as simple as a day hike or as thrilling as a cave crawl in the mountains.

Memberships rates and a schedule of events can be found here.

Fit Healthy UNCG into Your Schedule 

UNCG employees throw kickballs on Employee Field Day.
Employee Field Day

Since 2008, when North Carolina first required all System Universities to create a program serving the health of campus employees, Healthy UNCG has looked at the best ways to connect people with effective health-oriented resources, which they can personalize based on their work schedule and personal goals.

“Our office exists to support the employee in achieving the wellness that they desire,” says Stefanie Milroy, director of employee wellness. “We’re all unique individuals with unique needs.”

Healthy UNCG is housed within the School of Health and Human Sciences but serves the entire University, which gives it ample access to the resources of its health-oriented academic programs such as kinesiology and public health education

Services include:

  • The Fitness Lending Library: Employees can check out gym equipment to take home or to their office and work out on their own time. Healthy UNCG can arrange for delivery and pickup. 
  • Nutrition counseling and consulting: The North Carolina State Health Plan covers unlimited visits with a dietitian, but Milroy says when they realized employees had trouble making time to use them, they scheduled for dietitians to visit campus or hold virtual meetings.
  • General Wellness programming: These scheduled events cover all dimensions of wellness, not just the physical. They include diabetes self-management classes, financial wellbeing seminars, and decompression days.
  • Mindfulness Workshops: Healthy UNCG holds KORU Mindfulness Workshops, an evidence-based curriculum specifically designed for teaching mindfulness, meditation, and stress management. Each workshop takes about an hour. Beginning in spring 2024, HealthyUNCG will be offering drop in meditation as well.
  • Employee Field Day: This is Healthy UNCG’s biggest event of the year and encourages employees to form teams to compete or come and cheer on their friends from the office through various games.
  • Zen Den: This new program will be offered in 2024 in collaboration with RecWell and Spartan Well-being. Similar to the Fitness Lending Library, UNCG Healthy brings the program to directly employees, offering a menu of relaxation and mindfulness opportunities, such as aromatherapy, breathing practice, chair yoga, herbal teas, painting, and journaling. Zen Den can be requested by an office or department.

They work to accommodate untraditional work schedules by holding programs at various times. Milroy invites department and unit leaders, supervisors, and administrators to be proactive, allowing them to schedule wellness activities with Healthy UNCG for their entire office, so that they can help foster a positive workplace environment. “When we ask people what they think about wellness, typically that physical first comes to mind,” she says. “Now mental wellbeing is coming to mind: making sure that we’re doing what we can to help with stress and burnout. We recognize that much of a person’s wellbeing in the workplace not only comes from their personal behaviors and lifestyle, but also the culture of the workplace itself. When an employee feels that they are in an environment where others care about their wellbeing as well, their wellbeing is automatically enhanced.”

Healthy UNCG also makes its programs available to employees’ families. Milroy says, “For example, an employee without diabetes may have a family member with diabetes, who is invited to attend our diabetes self-management program. When you think about wellbeing, it’s generally individualized, but often the wellbeing of loved ones can also have an effect on one’s own wellbeing, so we want to try to support that employee as best we can by extending many of our services to their loved ones.”

Family First 

Getting away from the stress of day-to-day life may not feel possible after the birth of a baby. But UNCG offers spaces specifically for attending to the needs of new family members. 

UNCG has three rooms for breastfeeding or pumping breastmilk – the Nursing & Instructional Building (NIB), Room 147; Jackson Library, Tower 570; and the Bryan Building, Room 344G. Lactation or breastfeeding is not restricted to these rooms. North Carolina state law protects mothers who breastfeed in any private or public location.

New or expecting parents can contact OT Lewis (otlewis@uncg.edu) about using the NIB room and Lea Leninger (laleinin@uncg.edu) about the library’s room. 

Information on UNCG’s family care policies and services is available here

Check Out at the Library 

The size of UNCG’s Jackson Library and the dedication of the staff grant users plenty of room to read, work, or rest. All the library’s services available to students are also faculty and staff. They can reserve study rooms and check out any books or DVDs to take home.

“People forget your mind is part of wellness,” says Will Cook, facilities manager. “You can do a lot here. You can explore for yourself, use the materials and resources, or get someone to help you one on one and have that personal touch. I think the library is an underrated element on campus.” 

That emphasis on an individualized touch goes into the interior decisions, such as furniture. Cook was there when the library swapped out much of its older furniture over a period of several years and chose to get creative with a variety of replacements. He says, “For quiet floors we added furniture that provides power and some type of privacy.”

Towers 6-9 are considered quiet study floors; phones should be put on silent, and headphones worn. Other areas that are not designated quiet areas remain that way due to their design. The first floor’s reference section lends itself to a relaxing atmosphere, Cook says. “The brown traditional furniture gives that traditional library look. The ambience of the space encourages people to be quiet.” 

The Heart of UNCG 

Daisies bloom in the gardens near the UNCG EUC.

The Elliott University Center (EUC) is the heart of campus; students pass through by the hundreds each day to eat, study, shop, and hang out. It might seem like an area to avoid when looking for peace and quiet, but the EUC has one of UNCG’s meditation rooms. Room 064, behind the Office of Intercultural Engagement, is a place to stop, breathe, and rejuvenate your mind and spirit. You can sit on the spacious floor or behind one of the panels that create private cubbies for quiet prayer or reflection. 

Linda Alexander, assistant director for reservations and event services, says “We consider ourselves to be the hub of the community. The living room, so to speak. We want you to be able to come in and find whatever you need.”

Another room intentionally designed for decompression is the EUC’s sensory room. Alexander says people are encouraged to enjoy relaxing activities inside, including puzzles. “It’s a nice space and off the beaten path, behind Chick-fil-A,” she says.

Alexander manages reservations of the EUC’s various meeting spaces and classrooms, such as the Dail and Claxton Rooms. These spaces can only be reserved by a University-recognized group, and sometimes they are used for department or office retreats.

Meditation is not limited to the EUC. If you’re on the other side of College Avenue, there’s a meditation room in Eberhart, Room 308, and thanks to the Department of Community and Therapeutic Recreation and an interior arts alumna, a sensory room has been added in the Ferguson Building. The Weatherspoon Art Museum is full of comfortable seating in hallways and within the exhibits to inspire you while your work. Its Space for Engagement can be reserved for meetings or personal time.

Breath of Fresh Air 

UNCG is proud of its outdoor spaces and the team of facilities staff who keep it beautiful throughout the seasons. Beautiful gardens and parks – including Taylor Garden, Foust Park, the Fountain, and Stone Lawn – are just a few steps away from the EUC, the library, and Moran Commons. Outside the School of Music Building, a tranquil fountain invites people to sit out on the green.

“There’s lots of ways to be active on our campus, get outside, appreciate nature, or take a walking meeting,” says Beville. “Getting outside, taking those mindful breaks, can really improve your health and wellbeing.”

Much of the northern side of campus is comprised of Peabody Park, a 34-acre mixed hardwood forest habitat. It’s home to many birds, small mammals, and pollinators, and its beautiful trails and creeks will make you forget you’re in the middle of a city. The Office of Sustainability has a guide about Peabody Park’s flora, fauna, and fungi. 

So that hot, humid summers don’t deter people from walking or biking around campus, UNCG has showers to freshen up in the NIB, Rooms 152 and 154; School of Education Building, Rooms 001 and 003; and the Kaplan Center.

Some outdoor spaces can be reserved for meetings and events through the EUC’s University Reservations Office or Housing and Residence Life.  

Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications 
Photography by David Lee Row, Sean Norona, and Martin W. Kane, University Communications

Two UNCG students stand atop paddleboards on Piney Lake.

Find a space that supports your health goals.


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