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Off Campus Engagement 2021

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Off-campus engagement 2021

Keep in touch with colleagues and teams across UCD with these offline engagement activities from Culture & Engagement, Healthy UCD, UCD Sport & Fitness and Staff Clubs. If you have engagement suggestions, we'd love to hear them. Send them through via our Google form.

Better Together accordion image

Following on from the great success of the UCD Challenge in February, Culture & Engagement and Healthy UCD are encouraging you to take part in our new employee challenge - Better Together. The Challenge will take place over 28 days from 12 April to 9 May 2021 when you will record your daily distance walking, running and/or cycling. Similar to the last challenge, you pick your target and if you exceed it we will make a donation on your behalf to UCD Volunteer Overseas, one of UCD’s charities of choice.

Better Together is about connecting colleagues (virtually) and working together towards a shared target. By taking part in the Challenge you will not only improve your physical and mental wellbeing, but also benefit those who UCDVO support in Uganda to access essential healthcare.

Sign-up open Tuesday, 30 March to Friday, 9 April 2021.

Find out more about the challenge and sign up

Spectrum wellbeing image

Join Culture & Engagement in conjunction with Spectrum.Life for a series of webinars designed to help you find you balance by focusing on the 4 core pillars of; Mental Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Nutritional Wellbeing and Physical Wellbeing. The webinars are designed to help foster balance in an always ‘on’ life. In addition to guiding on achievable wellbeing steps to take, which enable a person to overcome the daily challenges of working and teaching from home, the webinars will build on the positive psychology constructs of the PERMA Model.

PERMA model approach to Wellbeing

The PERMA model of wellbeing is a model that was developed by Prof Martin Seligman in 2011. The approach looks at wellbeing in terms of a strengths approach – a what’s right approach as opposed to a what’s wrong or weakness-based approach. The premise is that you can’t create a human being that is healthy and fulfilled by just fixing what’s wrong (medical, psychological or environmental); you also have to look at what’s right and meaningful to them in life and try to develop and fulfil that area too. 

Sign-up via UCD Wellbeing Hub

Sign up today for these webinars via the UCD Wellbeing Hub (Events page).

If you have not already signed-up to the UCD Wellbeing Hub visit our Employee Assistance Service page.

Webinar 1: Wednesday, 7 April, 11am - Exercise for the mind

Exercise is a fantastic tool to promote your physical health, but also has a fantastic impact on mental health. More and more research has gone into investigating the mental benefits of exercise, and there is plenty of confidence of exercises ability to promote mental health. Of particular note is the ability of exercise to reduce both physical and mental tension, regulate stress hormones and increase blood flow to the brain. Exercise has been shown as a predictor of overall resilience in numerous trials. This seminar looks at physical and mental exercises that can promote mental health, as well as breaking down the science of what exercise does to help improve mood, decrease stress and prevent cognitive decline.

Webinar 2: Thursday, 22 April, 11am - How can anxiety impact sleep?

Anxiety and mood disorders are frequently connected to sleeping problems. In fact there isn’t a single mental health issue that doesn’t involve a dysregulation of sleep. During this seminar you will learn about the sleep process; what anxiety is and how anxiety can impact sleep and discover various techniques to reduce anxiety including exercise, sleep hygiene, sleep restriction, journaling, social support and mindfulness. The object of this seminar is to increase knowledge of how anxiety and stress are impacting our sleep and to educate on practical strategies than can be used to help in this area.

Webinar 3: Thursday, 6 May, 11am - Holding onto hope during hard times

This webinar looks at how different thoughts and actions influence our feelings of hope and despair, and how we can hold on to hope during difficult times. It examines what hope is from a scientific point of view and sets it in context with other forms of positive emotions. It looks at the science of hope in the form of hope theory. It also looks at how we can build hope; being able to draw on hope has been shown specifically to be more effective than just being optimistic due to it being more aligned to having specific and realistic goals.

Webinar 4: Wednesday, 12 May, 11am - Technology and mental wellbeing

In an age where technology is driving cars, delivering food and building houses, we look at what technology can do for our mental health and what is does to hurt our mental health. Technology apps are incredibly popular, but what can they tell us about our mental health? And similarly, we all see the rise in social media and technology use, but what is this doing to our mental health? Of particular concern here is the trap of social comparison and replacing actual connectedness with digital connection. This seminar addresses the psychology behind technology, and how it can help and hinder our mental health.

Webinar 5: Thursday, 20 May, 11am - Finding balance when walking a tightrope

This webinar aims to increase identification of those areas in our life that might need attention and looks at ways to best optimise work-life balance. In particular we will look at what happens when we fall out of balance and what a good life balance looks like. Home working, technology, time management, recovery time are also examined. Self-care, expectations, stress perception, mindfulness and minding our basics of sleep, nutrition and exercise are suggested as optimal strategies for easy the burden of a life that is shifting out of balance.

Webinar 6: Thursday, 27 May, 11am - The psychology of healthy eating

How many people have tried to keep a diet and ultimately broken it? That’s right, pretty much everyone! But we know what good and bad food is, but why do we choose it? This seminar will look at how to implement a good diet, all the psychological skills that are necessary to make it a habit, and what aspects of diet are important when it comes to the mind. The process of habit formation is also examined and explained. This seminar also looks at how/why we use food as a coping strategy and how to stick to a diet. Finally, we will look at the many links between mind and body when it comes to diet.

Nutrition Webinars

Join Healthy UCD and Culture and Engagement for a series of webinars given by UCD colleagues on topical nutrition subjects. These 25-minute webinars followed by Q&As will cover; top tips for healthy eating in lockdown, healthy lunches and snacks for all the family, probiotics and intermittent fasting.

These seminars have now concluded but you can catch up with any you missed on our YouTube channel - links below.

Healthy lunches and snacks for all the family

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 11am

Dr Sarah Browne

Eating habits have changed for many in the last year and we can get fatigued with our home-based eating routines!  In this webinar, registered dietitian Dr Sarah Browne will discuss snacking, healthy options for children and adults, and planning healthy lunch boxes for all the family.  Sarah is a lecturer in nutrition and dietetics at the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy & Sports Science. 

View recording now on our YouTube channel

Top tips for healthy eating in lockdown

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 11am

Julie Dowsett

Are you finding it hard to motivate yourself during lockdown? Have the pounds crept on? Julie Dowsett is a dietitian working in the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and will show you how small changes to your diet and routine can reap big benefits. She will talk through some top tips which are based in science to help you to survive and thrive in lockdown.

Probiotics... are they just yoghurt?

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 11am

Annelie Shaw

Have you always wondered what the hype was about probiotics? Aren’t they just yoghurt after all?  Annelie Shaw is a Masters qualified dietitian specialising in Gut health and through this webinar will cover a review of pre and probiotics, the differences, dietary sources and evidence supporting their use. Hopefully answering the question - probiotics ...what's the point? Annelie Shaw is a Clinical Tutor in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.

Intermittent Fasting – is it just another Fad Diet?

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 11am

Pauline Dunne

Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity in recent years and is hailed by many as the key to achieving weight loss. This webinar will explain the concept, explore the evidence, and consider whether the approach could support our health or if it is just another fad diet. Pauline Dunne is a CORÚ registered dietitian with extensive experience in clinical, health promotion and NGO settings. She is currently undertaking a PhD through the HRB SPHeRE programme at the UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science.

HSF Health Insurance

Our recent Health Insurance webinars have referenced the options available under health insurance ‘cash’ plans such as those offered by HSF, to help cover the cost of everyday health care expenses. Culture & Engagement have negotiated a UCD employee discount of 10% off HSF plans and the ability to avail of direct salary deductions.

If you have any dental work required, new glasses or contact lenses to purchase, join HSF Health Plan and you will be able to claim money back. HSF also include a phone and virtual GP service along with a prescription service with every plan they offer. What’s more, HSF cover many other every day health expenses that you can claim cash back for.

Learn more about HSF

Watch the new HSF video for further information on the plans available to you. If you would like to receive a booklet or have a chat about the cover that is available to you contact Craig Broome on +353 8767 65171 or craig.broome@hsf.ie

Heart Health Tips
Download the latest  HSF Heart Health newsletter from which looks at tips for good heart health or watch their Heart Health video.
Pollen Allergies
Download the latest HSF Health Matters Newsletter which looks at pollen allergies or watch their Heyfever video
More about HSF

HSF health plan is an employee health benefits provider. It is the trading company of the charity, The Hospital Saturday Fund.

HSF provide employee cash plans to help cover the cost of everyday health care expenses like GP fees, prescription costs, dental fees and glasses. Benefits include hospital, physiotherapy and complementary treatments, specialist consultations, health screening, personal injury and eye laser surgery. They also provide an Employee Assistance programme, HSF Assist® which includes access to a GP Advice Line, Virtual Doctor and Counselling Service.

Unlike other types of health insurance HSF health plan schemes are not claims or age related. Their plans can be used as a complement to exiting PMI Schemes or as an alternative. HSF health plan is available to UCD Employees at a discounted premium and with their family schemes, spouse/partner and any dependent children under age 21 can be included on cover at no extra cost.

Everyone who joins HSF health plan, just by belonging, are making a contribution to the important work of the charity, as the profits from the health cash plan go to the parent charity. Not something which usually happens when an insurance policy is taken out.

For more information on HSF health plan please contact us on 1890 451 451 or email enquires@hsf.ie

UCD Laya Affinity Scheme 5% discount

Culture & Engagement has negotiated a new Laya Healthcare discount for employees. Under the scheme, Laya Healthcare is making available to all UCD employees a 5% discount across all of their plans. They will also waive the 3% credit charge for anyone who wishes to pay in monthly instalment, giving a potential 8% saving.  The discount applies to all those named on the policy.

All employees have to do is quote the Group ID 27764 to get access to the University College Dublin Affinity Scheme. Laya Healthcare ask that you put your UCD email address as the contact method, as proof of UCD employment.

The scheme allows for an open renewal so those that are renewing at different months of the year can join the UCD Affinity Scheme as and when their renewal come ups. Those new to private medical insurance can join at any stage throughout the year.

Laya Healthcare can be contacted on 021 2022000 or layahealthcare.ie

Financial Wellbeing

The Culture & Engagement Team organise a range of seminars on financial management and advice for employees, with the objective of helping you take more control of your financial future.

Health insurance, legal services and mortgage switching are all covered on the Financial Wellbeing page.

Live fitness classes from UCD Sport & Fitness

Following on from our live yoga pilot towards the end of last trimester, and with ongoing restrictions on ‘in-person’ classes, Health UCD and Culture & Engagement have again teamed-up with UCD Sport & Fitness to offer you an expanded range of live classes.

UCD Sports & Fitness instructors will lead 15 live classes per week via zoom, covering the following:

  • Yoga – find your center, calm your mind and feel refreshed
  • Pilates – strengthen your core and improve your body’s range of motion
  • Body Blast – a full body workout to tone and shape
  • Body Conditioning – workouts focusing on muscular strength and endurance
  • HIIT Training – High Intensity Interval Training to improve your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength
  • Cardio Blast – high heart rate, high intensity cardiovascular training
  • BLT’s (Bums, Legs & Tums) – Tone and shape your abs, quads and gluts with these easy to follow core focused workouts

All you need to do is register to receive the zoom link, enough space to move around while taking the class (2m x 2m recommended) and some water. Certain classes may be enhanced if you have an exercise mat, yoga block or dumbbells but instructors will offer ideas as alternatives to these items if you don’t have access. Classes last 30 to 45 minutes.

Please remember these few points when setting up for your virtual classes:

  • Use the zoom link issued as the login for all classes at the class start time.
  • When you log in, you will be placed in a waiting room and a staff member will admit you, we may be able to admit you 5 minutes after the class starts.
  • Please note that other members will be able to see your name in attendance and will be able to see you or hear you if you turn on your camera or microphone.
  • At the start of the class please "pin" the instructors screen so you can see this at full size on your device.
  • Ensure you have enough space to safely complete workouts in the space you choose.
  • Classes are capped at 300 attendees, in the unlikely event that a class is full we will allocate spaces on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Some classes may be recorded for publishing on other platforms. Recordings will focus on the instructor. In order to avoid being recorded, we advise participants to keep their cameras and microphones off.

The class timetable will be published fortnightly.

In addition, classes will be recorded and available to you to replay if you miss a session via the UCD Sport & Fitness Wellness Hub.

Register today to get started and we will send on your zoom link!

Note: We recommend that you consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise. You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk.

Find out more about UCD’s Employee Assistance Service and Wellbeing Hub which launched recently.

Wellbeing Banner

You don't have to be on campus to make a difference this February! Use your daily walk, jog or run to help raise money for Special Olympics Ireland while improving your physical and mental health.

Select a target distance that you think you can reach over the course of February (28 days) and get walking. Culture & Engagement will make a donation to Special Olympics Ireland for each participant who reaches their target distance.

Find out more and sign up.

Staff Photography Club - Monthly challenges

Each month the Staff Photography Club issues a new challenge then meets online to chat and discuss the submissions. You can join the club or send in your pictures via staffphotoclub@ucd.ie for inclusion in their Flickr gallery.

You don't need to be a member to make a submission, just send your best image to the club for inclusion in the gallery. All levels welcome. No fancy cameras required!

UCD Purl Jam is a craft group at University College Dublin that was established in September 2017 by Dr Niamh Nestor (Student Adviser in the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine) and Catriona Keane (Student Adviser in UCD Science).

We welcome all levels of experience, from total beginner to totally experienced. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact Niamh and Catriona:  niamh.nestor@ucd.ie / catriona.keane@ucd.ie. Come along and join in the Jam!

We are meeting by zoom every Wednesday, 1-2pm. Please contact Niamh or Catriona for the zoom link.

UCD Community Choir choir is comprised of current and retired UCD staff with a core group of 70-100 singers. The choir is directed by Ms. Caoimhe O’Neill.

We are currently holding rehearsals on Zoom on Tuesdays from 1pm to 2pm up to the 15th December 2020.  Dates for the Spring term will be available in January 2021. 

If you are a UCD staff member and would like to join us, please email paula.fogarty@ucd.ie.

Contact Culture & Engagement

Culture & Engagement, UCD HR 3rd Floor, Roebuck Offices University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: engage@ucd.ie | Location Map