Connie Aramento is associate director of Academic Advising and First Year Programs, and owner of Soul Sync Wellness. She has been WPI for almost nine years. Her passion for helping people create and realize their wellness goals led to bring together a network of like-minded people from across campus to promote health and fitness at WPI. Aramento chairs the Health & Wellness Working Group that recently launched the Healthy Herd, dedicated to helping the WPI community “Live Well. Work Well.”
What prompted you to take a lead on this new initiative?
I have been practicing as a certified holistic health coach outside of WPI since 2009. I have come to discover more about the stresses in our lives and how the food we eat and lack of physical activity impact our overall health. I grew up in a restaurant family business, with a Mediterranean lifestyle. Food was always a topic of conversation, and olive oil and garden fresh ingredients were always staples in our house. As a kid I think I thought everyone had olive oil and garden fresh fruits and vegetables in their homes, but then I realized I was wrong! I knew that I wanted to make a difference in this world and ultimately help empower people to lead healthier lives.
I also have had close family members pass away at a young age due to health issues and just not taking care of themselves. Aside from going to a doctor for tests, exams, and blood work, I realized that paying attention to your body’s needs is even more important, and what may work for you may not work for others. I really wanted to help people figure out what works for them, and help them get there.
What was missing at WPI? How could we do better?
I’ve participated in wellness programs on campus, but I started to see that there wasn’t a centralized place to learn more about health and wellness opportunities, or a way to bring people together with common interests, challenges, and concerns about health and wellness. Ultimately, helping members of this community take some time away from their desk and their work, or a walk or a run or even a yoga class, without feeling the “guilt factor,” will help them be better in the work they do and also at home.
For me, it’s about, “How do we help people make the right choices for them?” I realized that I was doing this in my practice outside of WPI, and asked myself, “Why can’t it happen here?” I approached Tracy Hassett a few years ago hoping to create something like this, and this past spring Tracy said, “Connie, it’s time!” I gladly accepted.”
What are your initial goals for the Healthy Herd?
Our short-term goals are to bring together current offerings in one central location and introduce new programs and events that meet the needs of the community. This includes preventative care, mindfulness, healthy eating and weight loss, fitness tours, and group exercise programs. We’ve launched a bi-monthly newsletter to employees with information, tips, and an inspirational article by a community member. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe.
What has the response been from the WPI community?
I’m excited to see such great representation from across campus getting behind this initiative. The committee members are so passionate about health and wellness, and so invested in encouraging the community to participate in the Healthy Herd, that it makes my role as chair so much fun.
I would love to see more people get involved and take advantage of what is being offered. Our WPI community has many active members that are willing to help in any way that they can, especially if you have never started something new. The Healthy Herd website is a great place to start!
- By Joan Killough-Miller