Dr. Annie Wetter, Chair of Health Promotion and Human Development and Academic Director for the Health and Wellness Management Online Degree at UW-Stevens Point

My Farm is My Gym

Four University of Wisconsin System campuses— UW-La Crosse, UW- River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Superior— and the University of Wisconsin-Extension have collaborated together to create a brand new online degree completion program targeted at adult students. Currently enrolling students for classes beginning in January, the new online Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management equips students with the skills necessary to manage health and wellness programs in the workplace using the seven dimensions of wellness. UW-Stevens Point, which has a long history leading the wellness movement, expanded the modern concept of wellness into the seven dimensions, encompassing the social, physical, emotional, career, intellectual, environmental, and spiritual.

Dr. Annie Wetter, Chair of Health Promotion and Human Development and Academic Director for the Health and Wellness Management Online Degree at UW-Stevens Point says this UW degree is unique.

"This is a management degree, not a wellness promotion degree. It provides people with an understanding of wellness, worksite wellness, and health promotion programming so that they can hire and make management decisions about effective employee wellness programs at their worksite. This degree is a real opportunity for people who are currently employed in corporations or aspire to work in an organization's human resources division and who need a degree in order to be particularly competitive. "

"Wellness recognizes that our ability to function at our fullest potential is not about one specific metric, it's affected by the overall interplay of several factors," Wetter adds. "It's about how our work environment, our community environment, our relationships, all of the things inside of us play off each other, how they interact to enhance or diminish our wellbeing."

In her daily life Wetter works to incorporate wellness into her routine. She and her husband get physical activity from running their farm: hoisting 50 pound bags of chicken feed and 100 pound bags of pig feed. They have 70 chickens, two goats, and three pigs, and can't wait to get a cow. They also grow apples, cherries, and pears in their orchard. They turn the ground by hand without using carbon fuels.

"Doing so keeps us spiritually grounded, socially connected, physically fit and emotionally centered," Wetter says.   "Interacting with the land, the seasons, the animals, and the sustenance we produce for our family and our neighbors nourishes us in multiple ways.  I am more ready to tackle the stresses of my work day if I spend 10 minutes in the field listening to the goats munch on the grass while the sun rises and warms me and the morning.  I stretch my tight muscles, listen to the land and the life it supports, and allow my mind to clear."

"Wellness is about each person making concerted choices about their habits, goals, and attitudes so they're consistent with their values, beliefs, and needs at any given time.  Achieving wellness leads to happier, healthier, better functioning societies, workplaces, and families.  Wellness doesn't just happen: it takes conscious effort by individuals and organizations that support them.  With the right knowledge and resources we can all be well.  That's what this degree is all about."