Sustainability and Wellness

Monday, August 24, 2015
Written by:
Kim Barrett at a Wellness event for University Housing staff
Kim Barrett at a Wellness event for University Housing staff
Name: Kimberly Barrett
Profession: Campus Wellness Director

Barrett is UNL Campus Recreation’s Assistant Director of Wellness Services and Fitness Programs. For 18 years, she has dedicated herself to the health and fitness field. When she isn’t serving as the chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on Wellness or working as an ACE-certified Advanced Health & Fitness Professional and Health Coach, she loves to read books and stay active outdoors. Barrett, a mother of 3, lives by the motto: “What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.”

Where are you from?

I'm originally from a rural area on the Lake of the Ozarks.

What motivated you to be a professional in this field?

I am fascinated by the power of getting outside oneself to create personal wellness. Sustainability is an immediate impact wellness effort—anyone can do it and even small acts of sustainable practices make an impact.

What is your role in UNL’s environmental sustainability efforts?

Environmental sustainability is an integral part of holistic wellness. My role with the UNL Wellness Initiative and Campus Recreation really focuses on using our feet to get from point A to point B. Not only is that good for the air quality, but it is also good for your muscles, back, heart and mental wellbeing. Growing your own food or eating food from the ground is not only is good for your body/energy, but can also have a positive effect on the environment and your wallet.

How has this role changed since you began?

 The University has really invested in sustainability over the last several years. Recognizing these efforts as wellness endeavors provides another avenue of reaching our students, faculty and staff.

What is your favorite sustainable thing to do?

I have a few. Biking and walking to work, planting and cultivating a potted vegetable garden, reusing old furniture and home goods to create new things, and replacing all lightbulbs with the Energy Star bulbs are some of my favorite things.

Do you regularly recycle, compost, and use water-saving techniques at home?

We have 3 kiddos who keep us on our toes to recycle and save water.

If someone were to ask you about a sustainability tip or tips related to your profession what would that be?

  1. Wellness is interconnected. Generally, if you are working on one element of wellness, you will be unconsciously working on at least one more.
  2. Need to brainstorm? Grab a bag to pick up trash along your favorite trail or sidewalk by your office and make it  a walking brain storm session. Not only will you beautify campus and work on your environmental wellness, but  your brain will be able to think more clearly and retain information through increased oxygen consumption and increase in those feel good neurotransmitters and hormones like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
  3. Reuse printed paper—don’t just throw it away. Recycle those printed sheets as scratch, doodle, or brainstorm paper. If you have a piece you are not sharing with others, print on the back the sheet.

 How can the UNL community help you in your role?

Plan sustainability into your annual goals. What can you and your team do, on an on-going basis that requires little efforts, but that has a profound affect? Utilize these efforts as a means of creating awareness in wellness across campuses.

What message do you have for the community?

Anyone can assist in sustainability efforts. Remember, small acts add up and can make a big difference. Take a look at your home and office or place of employment. What would you be willing and able to contribute in the goal of increasing sustainability efforts?

Kim greeting guests
Kim greeting guests