Symposium turns words into action

Kristen Clark, Ashley Pick and Carmen Flagge

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

(l-r) University public health coordinator Kristen Clark and associate director of the student health center Ashley Pick congratulated the inaugural Health and Wellbeing Champion, Carmen Flagge, during the opening session of the university's first Health and Wellness Symposium Feb. 3. Students could nominate faculty or staff for the honor as part of their registration for the event.

Flagge, who serves as director of multicultural student success for the College of Human Sciences, was recognized for her outstanding communication skills and knack for connecting students to campus units and programs that can improve their experience, such as the Connect Four learning community, GRO program, SHOP food pantry and student wellness. "Everything that Carmen does is intentionally centered around her students," wrote her nominator.

Faculty members Amanda Anderson, kinesiology, Carmen Gomes, mechanical engineering; and Matthew Holman, computer science; were the other nominees for the recognition.

A symposium, at last

Eight dimensions of well-being:

  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional
  • Occupational
  • Intellectual
  • Social
  • Environmental

The inaugural symposium filled its registration capacity of 350 participants, both employees and students, with a waiting list. Several years in the making (thanks in part to a global pandemic), the symposium is a partnership among student health and wellness, ISU WellBeing, and university human resources (UHR).

"We understand that when our community members are well, they do better in the classroom and in the workplace," said senior vice president for student affairs Toyia Younger. She noted that Iowa State is pursuing becoming a health-promoting university, which would "infuse wellness into all areas of the campus experience, and keep it at the forefront of both our actions and our words."

"I'm thrilled to see us all together -- faculty, staff and students. It's important we all work together to create this powerful community where people can thrive," said vice president for UHR Kristi Darr. "We're one family here, right? To share experiences and work toward a common goal is important to build strength for the institution."

Next year

Save the date: The second annual Health and Wellness Symposium is set for Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.

"We'd love to see this event grow. Bring your classmates, bring your colleagues, invite others to participate next year," said Erin Baldwin, associate vice president for student health and wellness, director of the Thielen Student Health center, and interim director of recreation services.