Glendale Community College (GCC), serves a population of over 20,000 students in Glendale, Arizona. It is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. GCC has an exceptionally active Fitness & Wellness Department and Employee Wellness Program on campus. To enhance the wellness of our students and employees, GCC has incorporated Exercise is Medicine On Campus (EIM-OC) to the added benefit of the students, faculty, staff and local community.
“What’s Your Medicine?” is the theme distributed throughout the GCC campus using flyers, T-shirts, yard signs, web pages and social media. “EIM Ambassadors”, as well as students from the Exercise Science and Nutrition Club, are chosen specifically to don the apparel and assist in informing others of the importance of staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. The 2019 branding is “Make Fitness Happen at Glendale."
Health tips and reminders are provided to encourage people to be more active with the help of yard signs, social media, lunch and learn workshops, Wellness Wednesday newsletters, blog posts, organized walks and hikes, health fairs, incentive programs and student club events. This occurs throughout and in conjunction with events offered through the Fitness & Wellness, Nursing, and Nutrition Departments.
We have developed a prescription pad for faculty members to use in the classroom when they feel a student may benefit from a more active lifestyle. It is not just medical professionals who notice when a student is struggling with health issues. Sometimes the faculty members are the only significant and influential contact points for young students outside of the family environment.
At the annual Health and Wellness Fair in March, students and faculty assess vital signs including the Physical Activity Vital Sign (PAVS). The Nursing Program students and faculty (some of whom are nurse practitioners) check and document heart rate and blood pressure, while the Fitness & Wellness Department students assess current physical activity and fitness levels. Individuals who do not meet the guideline of 150 minutes per week are referred by the Nursing Program students to the Exercise Science students for further fitness screening and consultation. The Nutrition Department students assess hydration status and the Counseling department assesses stress levels. Each program offers education on how to improve or maintain overall health.
The Exercise Science and Nutrition Student Club is in its fourth year at GCC. Each student member is taught the important fundamentals of fitness, health and nutrition by well-educated exercise science and nutrition faculty. Educational events are provided throughout the semester for the sole purpose of educating others about health and fitness.
The Wellness Committee initiated the development of campus walking maps so that students, employees and community members can appreciate the beauty of our campus, while getting in more activity throughout the day. We are promoting the importance of exercise on brain health and have reminders all over campus to get people thinking about being more active.
In addition to our Fitness Center, PowerHouse Weight Room, Group Exercise Classes, Tennis Courts, Racquetball Courts and Swimming Pool, we also have an Adapted Fitness Center for individuals with disabilities who can take advantage of one-on-one training for a very affordable price. We have significantly reduced the Fitness Center fee for students as part of this campaign to drive people toward our Fitness Facilities on campus. We call this discounted section our EIM Class. We also received several sit-stand stations and a walking workstation for employees. Our Green Efforts Committee and our Employee Wellness Committee have ensured that there are filtered water-bottle fill stations all over campus.
Along with Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates classes, GCC also has a dedicated space for meditation on weekday afternoons.
EIM-OC is currently being integrated into the curricula of our Exercise Science, Health Education, Physical Education, Wellness Education and Recreation courses and is slowly working its way into the heart of GCC through course curriculum.
At GCC, we have strong support from our college administration to promote and encourage fitness and wellness on our campus. This is evident in the community 5K events we have partnered with, the invitation to share the EIM message at the all-employee convocation, and the support we received to create the EIM Mascot video. We also see our college president and administrative staff participating in fitness-related events, dancing and performing in exercise demos, and showing enthusiasm for our programs.
The EIM-OC program has developed because the community understands the basic premise that exercise is medicine. If you say it enough, it becomes part of the campus culture. We do not currently have a student health clinic on campus, but our nursing students are learning the importance of referring patients to exercise professionals.
~ Glendale Community College received Silver level recognition this year for their efforts, and Exercise is Medicine is proud to partner with this campus!