Faculty and staff gather in Warriner Mall for 10th annual Benefits and Wellness Picnic

Faculty and staff of Central Michigan University were treated to a picnic Wednesday in Warriner Mall to explore the benefits and insurance policies available to them as university employees.

Located in front of Warriner Hall, four large tents and hundreds of chairs and tables were lined up for faculty and staff members to come eat and learn what benefits are available to them to maintain a healthy lifestyle as CMU employees.

Starting out 10 years ago with just over 200 people, the Benefits and Wellness Picnic now garners over a thousand CMU employees, coming and going throughout the day. Some are teachers with 50 years of experience, while others are getting their first jobs this summer.

Tammy Griffin, the manager of Employee Heath at CMU, started the picnic 10 years ago to help other employees learn about their benefits and how to take care of their bodies, minds and finances.

"The fact that after 10 years we still have this kind of turnout that continues to grow and grow," Griffin said. "Our employees seem to be getting lots of great information and interaction with our vendors to help their heath and well being going forward."

Along with Donna Blem, a benefits assistant and Human Resources employee, the pair has worked to educate faculty and staff about what options are available to them, while having a good time with colleagues.

Heath Professor Al Nowak said what he enjoys most about the picnic is it's "a great way for people to get connected with others and to learn from them too."

Some of the companies and attendants included Meritain Health, CVS, Medical Blue Cross, VSP Vision and Encompass. Companies such as Blue Cross and Encompass have been going to this event since its start 10 years ago. Some are just coming out for the first time like VSP Vision.