The President’s Challenge is back with a focus on wellness


The President’s Challenge is back at Sheridan College and this year the theme is all about wellness.

“We want people to be healthier because they will be more successful,” said President Jeff Zabudsky. “We have control over our health, what we eat, limiting bad habits, staying active, finding techniques to manage stress and all of those things lead to a more productive work space and happier people.”

“When you’re the president of a large institution like this it’s nice for me to be able to say we have happier people.”

The challenge focuses on seven dimensions of wellness: spiritual, emotional, social, environmental, occupational, intellectual and physical.

Students and staff are encouraged to come up with ideas that will incorporate health and any of the seven dimensions into Sheridan life and the community in a fun and easy way.



“The challenge is intended to be something that addresses an issue and brings people together collaboratively and interdisciplinary to work on,” said Megan Mascarin, associate vice-president of Human Resources and a Challenge committee member.

“I think that every environment should make time for wellness and if you can make a long term sustainable change then it serves to benefit the whole community.”

Wellness is about balance and finding ways to prioritize what’s important for Mascarin.

The President’s Challenge began in September, but it wasn’t getting a lot of attention. To build momentum the committee held events at every campus on Oct. 14, to promote, educate and get students and staff interested.

There was an opportunity to win a Fitbit by drawing a ballot from a box, wellness activities, free apples

and you could write on a board what wellness means to you.

In previous years the challenge has focused on improving environmental sustainability, creative aging, how Sheridan represents their roles by having programs design an S and internationalization.

According to Zabudsky, he initially heard about the idea of a President of an institution in the U.S. challenging the organization to focus on an area and find ways to improve it.

“I thought that’s kind of a neat idea and way to focus on making a better Sheridan for the people that work and study here and make some leaps forward on a specific issue,” said Zabudsky.

Shortly after he arrived as president six years ago, he noticed that Sheridan surprisingly was lagging in sustainability, being considerate of the environment, and other issues like recycling.

He found this was odd because he came from an institution that had just gone through a very strong focus on the environment and sustainability.

“We are making progress in specific areas each year. What I love about it is its involved not just our staff and our employees, but our students have stepped up and been involved in many ways,” said Zabudsky.

Anyone who wants to participate can fill out an entry form at

The deadline is Dec. 31. In January, projects will be reviewed and teams will be chosen by the committee to come in and present their ideas.

A winner will be announced in April.