10 PSU Departments Earn Healthy Department Certification
Author: Erin Merz, Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
Posted: March 1, 2018

Facilities & Property Management Team - Healthy Department Certification Silver Award Recipient

Portland State’s Healthy Campus Initiative steering committee is pleased to announce the first recipients of PSU’s new Healthy Department Certification. Created in 2017, the Healthy Department Certification encourages the PSU community to take an active role in creating a healthier work environment. Prioritizing holistic wellbeing in the workplace can lead to more engaged, confident and successful employees.

Facilities & Property Management (pictured) welcomed the opportunity to pair metrics with their commitment to work-life balance and self-care. Now silver-certified, they prioritize healthy snacks at meetings over easy-access carb and sugar-laden standbys. Additionally, the department’s leadership team is cutting back on off-hour and weekend email, and their staff is encouraged to do the same.

Facilities & Property Management Director Karen Powell says that her team’s unique work demands make health and wellbeing particularly important.

“We are often required to respond to physically demanding and stressful situations like floods, break-ins and inclement weather,” she said. “During the recent snow events, many of us were actively conferring and planning as well as on the road as early as 4 a.m., and performing physically demanding work like shoveling snow, breaking up ice and spreading ice melt. It’s important that we take good care of ourselves and one another."

During their questionnaire preview, the gold-winning team at Services for Students with Children was pleased to see how many items they were already doing. From there, they identified easy changes they could make before submitting. For example, discussing work-life balance at staff meetings went from being a side note to a standing agenda item. They now post health-related articles on dedicated wellness boards and encourage each other to engage in various wellness programs offered through HR. The team tries out new chair exercises every month and each term they gather for a healthy menu potluck to enjoy time together and swap recipes.

Congratulations to all certified departments:


  • Campus Rec
  • Services for Students with Children


  • Center for Student Health and Counseling
  • Facilities & Property Management


  • Campus Planning Office
  • Campus Sustainability Office
  • Capital Projects and Construction
  • Construction and Real Estate
  • OIT Enterprise Solutions
  • Transportation and Parking Services

Departments answer questions in seven categories to earn certification: leadership support, culture of wellness, environmental safety, active lifestyle, nutrition/hydration, tobacco-free/air quality and mental health/wellbeing. A preview of the questionnaire is available so departments can identify areas of improvement prior to applying for certification. Certified departments receive a window decal for their office, Healthy Department certificate, health prize pack, and consultation and support on areas of improvement. All PSU departments are encouraged to participate.

Members of the Healthy Campus Initiative steering committee are available to educate the PSU community about the initiative’s focus areas and the Healthy Department Certification. Email to schedule a presentation for your department.

Visit for more information.

Contact: Erin Merz,