If you visit St. Francis University in Loretto, around the noon hour, you'll see an exercise class working out to the beat. It's not students taking phys. ed., it's employees taking advantage of a free class on their lunch hour.
Nicole Bauman says she feels great. She's in charge of the Graduate Business Program at St. Francis. Nicole had baby weight to lose and she's dropped six dress sizes since starting the class three years ago.
Library Sciences Dean Sandra Balough says, "I have more strength I have more balance and I have more endurance."
The class, four days a week, is only one of many health and wellness programs provided by St. Francis. Employees can take advantage of the fitness room. The university also offers stress management and heart health programs, as well as personal nutrition coaching.
This spring, about 100 employees signed up to have their blood pressure, cholesterol and weight checked. R.N. Karen McCabe oversaw the testing. She says, "maybe somebody was thin, but their cholesterol was high, maybe somebody was not overweight, but again their high blood pressure can occur, so it did make a difference."
Melinda Krimmel is in charge of Health Promotion and the Fitness Service Director at St. Francis. She says, "our goal is really to make our employees healthier, which makes a healthier bottom line for St Francis, but also makes our employees happier if they are healthier."
Melinda's proud that St Francis's efforts to reach that goal led to a crowning achievement this year: Pittsburgh business Time's Healthiest Workplace in Western Pennsylvania.
Nicole says, "usually around lunchtime you would find 60% of the staff and faculty members here on campus in a group exercise class, running outside or in the DiSepio Center using the weight lifting equipment."
Last year, St Francis was number five of five entries in the healthiest workplace competition.
This year, the university was number one of 18.