Healthy Penguin Nation

The Healthy Penguin Nation program is a college-wide initiative to create a culture of well-being in support of the state of Washington's initiative to promote healthy lifestyle practices in the workplace. 

We aim to engage, educate, and empower the Clark College Community in healthy behaviors by developing, implementing, and supporting a wide range of wellness activities based on solid research and best practices. As the Wellness Team, we encourage the Clark College Community to thoughtfully consider their personal relationship to health and prioritize well-being for each other.

We do this by adhering to a holistic model of well-being that focuses on the whole person – offering a wide range of resources that support employees on their wellness journeys in Eight Dimensions that influence overall well-being.

Eight Dimensions of Well-being

Wellness wheel showing the six dimensions of wellness in a pie chart


The emotional dimension requires ongoing self-examination and includes the ability to:

  • Express and accept a wide range of feelings in yourself and others.
  • Engage in satisfying relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Understand your limitations and be confident in your unique abilities.
  • Cope effectively with stress.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.

Practices that demonstrate emotional well-being include:

  • Being satisfied with your performance.
  • Effectively coping with life’s ups and downs.
  • Being nonjudgmental in your approach to others.
  • Owning your mistakes and learning from them.
  • Saying “no” without feeling guilty.
  • Finding it easy to laugh.

Tips and resources for enhancing your emotional wellness

Take a mental break and treat yourself to a massage, a good book (Fort Vancouver Regional Library), find a quiet spot to journal (benefits of journaling), or follow the Penguin Paths at Clark, marked with penguin feet. You are sure to be more productive when you return.  

Been sitting at your desk too long? Prolonged sitting can cause stiffness and strain on certain muscles, as well as eye tiredness and decreased blood flow to the brain  (Mayo Clinic). To combat these effects, try a “sit for 60, move for 3” intervention! For every 60 minutes you sit, do one or more of the following for up to 3 minutes:

(For your health and safety, always consult with a qualified medical professional before beginning any exercise program)

  • Walk/jog in place.
  • Stand up, close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths. Think of one thing you’re grateful for.
  • Walk down the hall to get a glass of water.
  • Deliver the message to your coworker in person, if possible.
  • Try these stretches you can do at work courtesy of WebMD.

Reserve a three week transferrable license to and learn how to limit your stress by managing your time more effectively.  Contact to request a license.

Take advantage of a wide range of free health and wellness tools, plus confidential clinical support for assistance with stress, anxiety, anger management, grief, loss, relationship issues and more through the college’s Employee Assistance Program

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please call the Clark County Crisis line at 360.696.9560 or 800.273.TALK (8255).


The environmental dimension encompasses a healthy relationship with the earth and its resources, and a healthy relationship with your personal surroundings.  It means being intentional about:

  • Protecting yourself from environmental hazards, such as noise, chemicals, pollution and ultraviolet radiation.
  • Caring for and organizing your personal and professional spaces so you are productive and free of unnecessary stress.
  • Conserving resources and leading a lifestyle that is respectful of your immediate surroundings, the community in which you live, and the planet.

Practices that demonstrate environmental wellness include

  • Recycle, reduce waste, and conserve energy and water.
  • Protect yourself from environmental hazards.
  • Walk, bike, car-pool and/or use public transportation whenever possible.
  • Clean, organize and remove clutter from your home or office.
  • Spend time in natural settings.
  • Find a special place where you go to relax and clear your mind.
  • Join an environmental organization.

Tips and resources for enhancing your environmental wellness

Consider alternative forms of commuting to and from work.  Rideshare is a commuting resource for those in the Northwest.  Managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation, the site is a tool for free information and resources for alternative travel options.  The goal is to help commuters do their part to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and sustain the quality of living in our region.

Clark College participates in a Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) program for faculty and staff.  This program offers a fully subsidized, one-zone C-tran bus pass for a limited number of users.  Those interested must sign up to participate through the Security Office, and agree to use the bus at least 60% of the time to commute to and from work.  For more information, contact the Security Department at 360.992.2133.

Visit the Clark College Environmental Health and Safety webpage to access information and resources on safety and sustainability.

Ergonomics are essential to ensuring workplace wellness.  To look at how you can modify your space visit the Clark College Ergonomics page.

When an injury occurs you can lose focus and productivity.  Use the Clark College Incident pages (ClarkNet Access Required) to quickly get you returned to work.

Clark College is a Tobacco-Free college. To see how this came to be, or to get other information related to tobacco at the college go to the Tobacco-Free page.

Take a stroll through the college's Japanese Gardens, located on the south end of campus, between the Baird and Beacock Music buildings.

Find a new hiking trail in Washington state, read about the essentials for spending a fun and safe time in the outdoors, or volunteer to protect and maintain trails and wildlands.  Visit the Washington Trails Association website for more information.

Bring a reusable water bottle and access the water filling stations around campus.


The intellectual dimension is about expanding your knowledge, skills and abilities through ongoing personal growth and development, and includes the ability to:

  • Maintain an active, open mind.
  • Seek out opportunities that stretch and challenge your mind with stimulating creative and problem-solving endeavors.
  • Maintain the capacity to question and think critically.

Practices that demonstrate intellectual wellness include

  • Learning for the sake of learning.
  • Pursuing interests outside of your vocation.
  • Developing effective study and time management skills.  
  • Being interested in the views of others.
  • Keeping abreast of current events, issues, and ideas.

Tips and resources for enhancing your intellectual wellness

Consider taking a personal enrichment class through Clark College Economic and Community Development.

Clark College offers a Tuition Waiver Program for employees working half-time or more.  Eligible employees may enroll in state supported classes on a space-available basis. Tuition exemption forms are available from the Human Resources Department. For more information visit the Employee Benefits page.

Join the Clark College Community in learning, and attend the quarterly Faculty Speaker Series, where faculty members share recent experiences that have shaped their lives and their teaching.

The Teaching and Learning Center at Clark College was established in 2006 and supports the professional development work of many departments at the college.  Programs and services include new employee and new faculty orientation, professional development funding, professional learning communities and on-campus trainings that cover a broad ranges of topics including classroom management, effective communication, diversity, and health and wellness.  Located upstairs, in Gaiser Hall (GHL) 206, the TLC also offers classroom space, computers and a library collection dedicated to teaching and learning, available for checkout to employees exclusively.  

Clark College provides resources for developing career and life planning skills to the college community.  Located in the Penguin Union Building, (PUB) 002, the Career Services staff is available to assist with career research, exploration and planning, and offers quarterly workshops covering a variety of professional development topics.

Want to learn about a topic that intrigues you?  Visit TED, a non-profit organization that offers powerful talks on a variety of topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 100 languages and in 18 minutes or less.


The physical dimension requires eating in a way that fuels your body, engaging in regular movement practice, avoiding harmful habits and making responsible decisions about your lifestyle.  By being proactive in your health, your positive daily choices can:

  • Give you more energy and endurance.
  • Enhance your self-esteem.
  • Affect how many years you live, and how well you live your years.

Practices that demonstrate physical wellness include

  • Engage in movement or physical activity at least 150 minutes a week, which is about 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Eat whole foods, mostly plants, including 5 fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Maintain an appropriate weight.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Avoid overuse of alcohol and other substances that can cause harm
  • Abstain from tobacco products and avoid exposure to people who smoke.
  • Visit your health care provider and dentist for the appropriate well-checkups.
  • Pay attention to any signs or symptoms of disease and seek medical attention when appropriate.

Tips and resources for enhancing your physical wellness

Take one or more of these online assessments and receive a customized report with action plan. Results are completely confidential.

As a Clark College employee, you have access to a robust suite of free fitness and nutrition resources through the Washington State Employee Assistance Program.  Ready to take a serious step toward positive change?  Sign up, free-of-charge, for a Mayo Clinic Certified wellness coach to help you reach your personal goals.

Consider joining the Clark College Thompson Fitness Center.  For a small fee, faculty, staff and students can enjoy using fitness equipment, and receive fitness testing and personal training services.

Learn a new sport, refresh your skills, and engage with the college community by participating in Intramural Sports at Clark College.

Walking is a simple, inexpensive and effective way to get and stay in shape.  Visit for education and inspiration.

Take your exercise outdoors and explore Vancouver and Clark County! Vancouver Parks and Recreation provides maps and information on local parks, trails and recreational opportunities.

For regional activities look at Active and Race Center Northwest for fun runs, walks and other events.

For national activities look at Running In The USA to see what you can participate in when you travel, or to help you plan an active vacation.

Healthy eating is essential to physical wellness. See what the Health and Physical Education department at Clark College recommends for healthy nutrition: HPE Healthy Nutrition

Many people have found that a special diet is required for future wellness.  Use the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to identify nutritional components for any type of dietary needs.

If you are looking for a place to learn about what to eat and how to become active all in one place visit Health.

Looking for low-cost medical services? Visit the Clark College Counseling and Health Center.


The occupational dimension represents the feeling of purpose and productivity in one's chosen profession. This dimension is one that truly represents a healthy work-life balance. Creating a balance of personal work environment paired with leisure is key to being successful in this dimension. The value source of occupational wellness is your attitude or approach to your work, work environment and workmates.

Practices that demonstrate occupational wellness include

  • Engaging in inspiring and stimulating work
  • Working in a way that fits your personal needs and style
  • Participating in timely, honest, and good communication and collaboration with others
  • Joining an Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Clark College to build your community at work
  • Feeling good at the end of the day about the work you’ve accomplished
  • Taking breaks that during your workday to come back refreshed
  • Understanding how to balance your work with leisure time

Tips and resources for enhancing your occupational wellness

Clark College is a beautiful scenic campus. Bring an extra pair of walking shoes for your office and take a break and explore by following the marked Penguin Pathways.

Add personal items to your workspace like an indoor plant or a special photo on your desk.

Visit the Clark College Diversity Center, a warm and welcoming place for students, faculty and staff to gather.  


The financial dimension represents the overall financial health of an individual. This dimension revolves around your ability to live within your means and manage your money in a way that provides you peace of mind. It includes being comfortable talking about your finances, minimize your debt, financial planning for the future, and understanding the emotions as they relate to money.

Practices that demonstrate financial wellness include

  • Improve your financial literacy. Take time to understand and learn common terms associated with finances such as, interest rates, inflation, risk, and debt-to-income ratio.
  • Familiarize yourself with where your money goes.
  • Start investing toward your goals.
  • Understand your core values. Every person values things differently. If you enjoy eating out on occasion, attending your favorite concert, or supporting your local business, identifying your core values will allow you to spend more intentionally and make trade-offs more easily

Tips and resources for enhancing your financial wellness

Check out our training calendar to see when a financial well-being session is taking place.

Meet with your Clark College, Human Resources representative to be informed of low cost or free benefits programs available to Clark Employees. Email

Take advantage of a wide range of free health and wellness tools, plus confidential clinical support for assistance finances by reaching out to our Employee Assistance Program.


The social dimension encourages connecting with

others and contributing to your community, with the understanding that satisfying relationships are important components of physical and emotional health.  Social wellness involves:


  • Developing positive interpersonal skills.
  • Cultivating a strong support network in which you give and receive.
  • Taking an active part in your community.
  • Living in harmony with others and with the environment.

Practices that demonstrate social wellness include

  • Develop a support network of friends and family whom you talk with regularly.
  • Develop the ability to relate with people in diverse settings.
  • Get involved in school, work, and community activities.
  • Be knowledgeable of the social issues in your community and do what you can to help.
  • Deal with conflict in a healthy and respectful manner.

Tips and resources for enhancing your social wellness

Clark College is a vibrant community, with numerous opportunities to engage and connect throughout the year.  From the MLK Celebration in the winter, to the Sakura Festival in the spring, to the Native American Celebration in the fall – whether you’re interested in music, theater or community service - you are sure to find something that interests you. Check out the Activities Calendar and get engaged in the Clark College Community!

Visit the Clark College Diversity Center, a warm and welcoming place for students, faculty and staff to gather.  

Vancouver Washington offers endless opportunities for recreational, educational, and family friendly activities.  Find a restaurant, attend an upcoming event, or try a new activity.  Visit Vancouver USA is your go-to web-resource for all things Vancouver! 



The spiritual dimension involves exploring the key principles, beliefs and values that give meaning and purpose to your life.  It’s about living in a way that is consistent with your “world view,” while also being tolerant of others who hold different beliefs and values.  Spiritual wellness provides the capacity to:

  • Love freely
  • Show compassion
  • Forgive others
  • Experience joy
  • Seek fulfillment
  • Be altruistic

Practices that demonstrate spiritual wellness include

  • Know and live your values, beliefs, and convictions.
  • Be tolerant of the values and beliefs of others.
  • Discover what gives your life meaning and direction.
  • View life as a learning experience and look expectantly towards the future.
  • Volunteer in your community.
  • Set life goals and work towards achieving them.
  • Make time every day for personal reflection.

Tips and resources for enhancing your spiritual wellness

Did you know that being thankful is linked to improved immune systems and increased feelings of connectedness? Be intentional about giving thanks and build your awareness and sense of joy by creating a daily Gratitude journal.

Spending time outdoors can be a great way to clear your mind, energize your body and reflect on those things that inspire you.  Visit the National Parks Service website for educational information and to find a park to visit.

Consider volunteering in the community City of Vancouver


Some Thoughts on Well-being and Equity

As part of our commitment to leading with racial equity in accordance with SBCTC guidance, Clark College recognizes that our view of “health” and “wellness” is inextricably tied to power, privilege, and inequity. We acknowledge that many of the suggestions mentioned above may be inaccessible or unrealistic for some due to racism, classism, sizeism, mental health stigma, and other systems of oppression. We encourage Clark community members to consider the following when thinking about the Eight Dimensions of Well-being:


Good news! Clark College was one of two Washington State higher education institutions awarded the Zo8 award, which recognizes our commitment and efforts to build and grow a healthier community!

Zo8 award icon