Article by Amelia Kunko <email@example.com>
Ursinus recently became the first Certified Recovery Friendly Workplace that is a college campus in the United States. Katie Bean, Ursinus’s Director of Health Promotion, has been vocal about the benefits of our college being a Recovery Friendly Workplace; you may have seen updates about the college’s certification as a Recovery Friendly Workplace on the Ursinus Health Promotion Instagram.
According to the Recovery Friendly Workplace website, this type of work environment strives to create a “healthy and safe environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by addiction.” This focus on creating a safe environment is a top priority at Ursinus, although not a new one. “We support our people in ways to help them thrive and see people with mental health or behavioral health concerns as valuable to our community,” Bean says. “Earning the certification doesn’t change much about our values or the way we support people, but it does help us utilize a common language and framework for prioritizing these issues. And we hope it helps recruit staff who fit into this category, knowing we are loud and proud about supporting them.”
The wellness of Ursinus employees is at the heart of Ursinus’s efforts to become Recovery Friendly certified. “Ever since President [Hannigan] signed the Okanagan Charter in October 2022, we’ve been on a mission to see how we can enhance well-being for people, places, and the planet,” Bean says. “This includes well-being for our employees.” Efforts to achieve this certification also stemmed from Ursinus’s emphasis on diversity, “Ursinus has always valued its people and says in our Diversity Statement that we derive meaning and purpose through our common bonds and our uniqueness,” she says. “We want to hire and retain diverse staff and this includes those in or seeking recovery.”
Becoming a Recovery Friendly workplace was a group effort made by the entire Ursinus community. “It took a little over a year to move through the entire certification process which involved many people across campus. We started with a survey you might recall, last Recovery Month [September], which asked our students and employees about our recovery-friendliness,” says Bean. “We shared the results back with the organization and they came up with four recommendations for us which we took about a year to accomplish, and we earned our certification this summer in July.”
In addition to our Recovery Friendly Workplace certification, Ursinus has other resources in place that prioritize the well-being of employees. “We have many policies and resources that support our employees: from the work from home policy to half-day Fridays in the summer to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to the new collaboration with Sanctuary Counseling, a local mental health provider,” Bean says. “Staff can go outside of insurance to Sanctuary Counseling while only paying $60 per visit – Ursinus pays the rest. Sanctuary Counseling also ensures staff can get in with 1-2 weeks (which is unheard of in our society!)”
While options may look different for different employees, the person-centered focus of these resources helps to promote recovery and wellness. “Colleges are busy places with so much work to do all the time – and while not every office can enjoy all of these benefits, the hope is that everyone can have something that works for them,” says Bean. “We are a complex organization with very different roles we all play on campus – but the variety of policies, all with a human-centered approach, try to allow for people to do what they can to take care of themselves. We also have 5 wellness days (PTO days) that were added to the vacation days that everyone already has so people can take them any day they want.” Katie Bean has hosted several information sessions that go in depth about what it means to be a Recovery Friendly workplace. If you are interested in learning more about the Recovery Friendly Workplace, be sure to reach out to Katie Bean at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out @uchealthpromotion on Instagram to learn more about Ursinus’s certification as a Recovery Friendly Workplace.