Employee engagement and exercise are two activities that are valuable within the workplace. In honor of Employee National Health and Fitness month, Oakland University Recreation and Well-Being (Rec Well) hosted the 8th Annual Poker Walk, an event that aims at adding exercise into the day in addition to connecting staff with one another and the beautiful campus.
According to Stephanie Willis, event organizer, this event was created with the intention to promote employee engagement across department units. Brelanda Pirani, from Budget and Financial Planning, claims “this event is an opportunity for team building,” and parallels the saying “we are only as strong as our weakest point.” Oakland employees have a strong bond and sense of community because of events like the Poker Walk.
This May, more than 400 staff and faculty registered for the walk with their department. Traditionally, each team has the option to choose a creative team name and dress up in different costumes to make this a unique experience.
The First Year Advising Center (FYAC), or “The Price Is Right” team stated, “our favorite part about coming to this event each is year is seeing staff show up with creative costumes.” Over 50 different teams dressed up ranging from “Global Engagement Rings” to “CAS Care Bears”, all walking around campus in costume. The energetic atmosphere even allows for other employees to tag along and join the walk.
After an invigorating kick-off speech from Vice President of Student Affairs, Glenn McIntosh, employees embarked on the 1.5 mile route. Teams took advantage of the “photo op” spots in front of the Grizz statue, the Grizz Head at the RAOC, and the Saints and Sinners Fountain. Foundations and groups such as the American Heart Association, Biggby Coffee, Carrot Pass, and Hanson’s Running shop handed participants poker chips for prizes.
After the scenic route was completed teams made their way back to the Recreation Center in order to place their bets with their chips they collected on the walk, mingle with other staff and faculty, grab refreshments and food, dance with Grizz, and get the chance to win some fun prizes! Employees have the opportunity to connect with other staff members they don’t normally see on a daily basis, laughing and joking about their creative costume ideas, and making time to get some fresh air together on a beautiful day.
Oakland University strives to have a positive community culture with their employees. Employees are encouraged to be involved on campus, make healthy decisions, and stay connected with the staff and faculty they are surrounded by. This event is a great example of how the University promotes these values and the employees recognize and are thankful for these special events.