The student wellness and employee wellness programs at Virginia Tech have merged as part of the university’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a healthy community.

Previously, student wellness was part of the recently combined Student Health Education and Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center departments in the Division of Student Affairs, while employee wellness was part of Hokie Wellness, in the Department of Human Resources.

The new unit, called Hokie Wellness, will focus on promoting physical, emotional, and social well-being, and the development of lifelong healthful living skills.

Cathy Kropff will lead the combined department, which will maintain offices in  McComas Hall and North End Center. 

“The merger,” said Kropff, “is a natural next step given the university’s commitment to creating an inclusive and engaging environment.” Kropff will retain her title as the director of Hokie Wellness and will have oversight for student and employee wellness programming and services.

The idea to merge student and employee wellness programming came as a recommendation from the Task Force for a Healthier Virginia Tech Campus in May 2015.

Recent research data from Gallup provides insight into five elements of well-being. Gallup focuses on purpose, social, financial, community and physical elements of living, learning, and working.

“Studies clearly suggest that the well-being of students and employees is directly related to academic achievement and workplace satisfaction and engagement,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo. “Our research validates this collaborative approach to health education, promotion, and well-being.”

Vice President for Administration Sherwood G. Wilson said the merger fits well with ongoing university programs. "As health-centric initiatives, including the Task Force for a Healthier VT, continued to grow and thrive on campus, it became obvious that a unified campus wellness program would provide better service to both our students and employees as we continue to pursue a climate of inclusivity and well-being within our community.”

Virginia Tech was recently named the fittest college in America by The Active Times. The rankings were based on fitness and wellness factors, including athletic facilities, team sports participation, campus dining and overall quality of student life.

The university was ranked No. 9 on a list of "The Top 25 Universities To Work For in 2014," by Glassdoor.com. The ranking was based on feedback from employees who noted factors that contribute to a positive work-life balance or harmony (flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement, an atmosphere of ongoing education, and opportunities to make an impact on young lives).

The combined department has already begun working on common programming themes, including development of mindfulness, stress reduction, and wellness coaching and counseling, as well as combined flu vaccination clinics on campus. The integration of combined programming is expected to take several months to fully implement. Hokie Wellness will continue to provide updates via Virginia Tech News.

For more information, visit the new Hokie Wellness webpage.