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National Employee Health and Fitness Day: From the Eyes of Our Own

May marks National Employee Health and Fitness Day. What better way to hear about maintaining a healthy lifestyle than from members of the Bryan community? In this article, we will share a little about the day’s history, introduce you to the B.U.F.F. organization, and hear testimonies from members. Ready? Let’s begin!

History of Day

National Employee Health and Fitness Day is observed in the United States on the third Wednesday of May each year.

This day was established to raise awareness of health benefits through company-sponsored health promotion activities. 

What better way to recognize this day than looking at our own institution and how we raise awareness and promote physical activity each month as a community?

Meet B.U.F.F.

B.U.F.F., or Bryan University Fitness FunAddicts, began several years ago, and since then, many award-winning wellness initiatives have taken flight. 

Bryan is consistently recognized with the Healthy Arizona Worksite Award, dating back to 2016. Even with most of Bryan’s staff and faculty working remotely, the institution has maintained ways to keep our team members engaged and active across the country. 

B.U.F.F. Wellness Initiatives

Throughout the year, there are monthly wellness challenges, games, and opportunities that members of B.U.F.F. organize, available to all BU employees. Initiatives include:

  • Monthly wellness challenges
  • Monthly games: scavenger hunts, word scrambles, and bingo  
  • Weekly wellness walks, meditation, and/or yoga 
  • Semi-annual paid volunteer days 
  • Financial lunch and learns 

Wellness Benefits at Bryan 

Along with monthly wellness initiatives, being a member of the Bryan community comes with additional perks and incentives, including:

  • Vitality: a wellness application where Bryan faculty and staff can participate in health and wellness challenges, earn points, and redeem awards such as gift cards or fitness devices!
  • Access to an on-site gym at Bryan University
  • Healthy snack options in vending machines
  • Biometric screenings 
  • 5K opportunities 

Hear from Our Employees

What better way to hear about health and wellness initiatives from Bryan employees themselves? We spoke with Victoria Clark, Chrissy Zmijewski, and Jasmin Ashikyan to hear what they say about BU and being B.U.F.F. members.

Victoria Clark is the Education Executive Assistant at BU and has been here for eight years! When asked why she joined B.U.F.F. she said, “I joined B.U.F.F. because I wanted to meet more of my coworkers and be a part of something bigger than my day-to-day job duties.”

Bryan and B.U.F.F. members aim to encourage a healthy lifestyle while working remotely. Victoria added, “I love Wednesday Wellness Walks. While working remotely, sometimes breaks get sidelined, but on Wednesdays, I know I will be taking a break and getting some kind of exercise done.”

Victoria also adds, “The community at BU is the best. Even while being remote, BU creates opportunities to ensure that we feel like a community. Everyone is wonderful and I truly love working with so many great people.”

Jasmin Ashikyan is a member of Bryan’s Admissions team and has been with us for over a year and a half. When asked why she joined B.U.F.F. she said, “I was a big fan of the Vitality App and noticed that not too many people on my team were utilizing it. I wanted to gain more knowledge about the app and health opportunities to share with my team in general.”

With several initiatives occurring monthly, we wondered what some of our community favorites are. Jasmine shared, “I love our wellness activities! They can really bring light to certain habits or patterns in your own behavior. Plus it’s a really easy way to get points in Vitality!”

Jasmine also adds, “The best part about BU is the environment. I have been very lucky to have a connected and charismatic team, as well as great leadership.”

Chrissy Zmijewski joined Bryan over 16 years ago as a fitness faculty member and currently serves as the Faculty Chair and General Education Program Director. When asked why she joined B.U.F.F. she said, “I joined BUFF back in 2016 and have served on the B.U.F.F. committee since then. Since I was no longer teaching for the fitness program, I wanted to find an outlet to continue encouraging others to lead an active lifestyle, as it is important for both physical and mental well-being and B.U.F.F. was the perfect way to do that.”

In serving for over a decade, Chrissy has experienced a lot of what BU has to offer, so we had to ask her what the best part about working at BU is. She shared, “It’s hard to pick just one thing. I wouldn’t still be here over a decade and a half later if there weren’t a lot of things that I love about BU. I love the people I work with. We work hard but we laugh together and sometimes cry together. We are a family and support each other, both professionally and personally.”

Chrissy also adds, “I also love that I get to be a part of students’ journeys and that I still hear from my students ten years later about their amazing lives and how BU has helped them both personally and professionally. Working at BU has so many rewards and I love that I get to continue to work here and contribute to our mission.”

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