2016 Flexible Spending Account Reminder

HR door

You have until December 31st, 2016 to incur expenses that can be applied to your 2016 Flexible Spending Account. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Plan and the Benefits Card. For additional information please see the FSA website at

http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/business/hr/staffandfaculty/benefits/flex.

Q:  How do I access the funds in my 2016 Flexible Spending Account?

There are two ways to access your FSA funds:

  1. You may pay for eligible expenses using cash or check and then submit for reimbursement by completing a FSA claim form with a itemized receipt or explanation of benefits (you have until March 15, 2017 to submit claims on your 2016 FSA); or
  2. You may pay for eligible expenses, by December 31st, using your Benefits Card.  After December 31st, 2016 you will not be able to utilize your Benefits Card to access your 2016 FSA account.

Q:  How do I know how much is in my account?

FSA plan participants can find out current account balances anytime online by logging into their account at http://select.cbabluevt.com/middlebury/ or by calling Blue’s Customer Service Department at 1-888-222-9206.

Q:  Can I rollover any unused money for the next plan year?

Yes. The IRS allows up to $500 to roll from one plan year to the next in the Health Care FSA only. Please refer to the Health Care FSA Rollover Q&A form:http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/486763/original/fsa_rollover_qa_final.pdf.

Q:  Will I be able to use my Benefits Card in 2017 to access my 2016 FSA account balances?

No, the Benefits Card can only access the available balance in your CURRENT FSA plan year. This means if you want to use your Benefits Card to pay for expenses from your 2016 FSA you must pay for them by December 31, 2016.  

 Q:  Do I have to use the Benefits Card?

 No, you do not have to use the Benefits card. The Benefits Card is provided for your convenience. If you choose not to use the Benefits Card, you may send in a paper claim form with the proper documentation for reimbursement to CBA Blue (via fax or mail).  The paper claim form is available at http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/170601/original/CBA_Blue_Flex_Claim_Form.pdf

 

Exam hours for the Libraries

The Davis Family Library will offer extended hours starting Sunday, December 4th. We will open at 9 am that day and be open 24 hours through Friday, December 9th, when we will close at the regular 11 pm. Saturday, December 10th will be regular hours, 9 am – 11 pm. 24/7 will resume on Sunday starting at 9 am and the library will close at 10 pm on Sunday, December 18th. A Middlebury College ID will be required to enter the library after 11 pm during this period.

Armstrong Library will maintain regular hours, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday, December 16th and 17th.

Full hours can be found at go/hours.

Unplug and Recharge – All Year!

Unplug and Recharge sign

Unplug and Recharge

Good news! Thanks to lots of positive feedback, the “Unplug and Recharge Room” on the upper level of the Davis Family Library will be available at least until the end of this year. We’ve added a curtain and acquired a few other items to make it more permanent. We’ll add more as soon as possible. Many thanks to the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life for allowing us to continue to borrow the meditation cushions.

Wish you could use the meditation cushions somewhere else in the library? That’s easy, borrow a set from us! Check them out at the Circulation Desks at the Davis Family Library or the Armstrong Library.

Where is the Unplug and Recharge Room? Follow the signs!

Self-care for the Holiday Season

Chair photoOn the way to skating this morning, my 8 year old daughter cheered, “Only 27 more days until Christmas! Yay!”

As the reality of that statement settled in, I felt a mixture of the joy of the holiday season with the terror of “Only 27 more days to get so much done!”

I’m guessing I’m not the only one on campus with this conflicted emotion. As a Nurse Practitioner and Health Coach I meet with many students, staff, and faculty and if there is one common thread in these visits, it is the acknowledgement of the often overwhelming pace of life these days. It is the question of how to muster up even 5 or 10 minutes of time each day for self-care, when starting from a place of exhaustion and depletion. And yet, I know with every bit of my being, that self-care is exactly the place to start, especially when you are exhausted and depleted.

So, here are my top self-care thoughts for the season of many holidays.

  1. I choose a full nights rest.
  2. I know that when I sleep 8 good hours, I feel alert and have a greater sense of clarity in the morning. I’m more likely to choose healthy food; I’m more likely to take a walk with an extra 10 minutes; I’m more likely to communicate to my family, coworkers, and patients with kindness and full presence. In short, I’m more likely to be the person that I enjoy being.
  3. Sleep needs vary from person to person, but most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Sleep is actually a very active time for the body – a time to heal and restore. It provides us with the energy and vitality needed to meet the cognitive and physical challenges of our waking hours. It also helps our immune system stay strong and protect us.
  4. I choose to say ‘no thank you’ – sometimes.
  5. This year I choose to thoroughly enjoy some of the special treats of the season – and I’m going to chew slowly and absolutely savor each bite. And then I’m going to say ‘no thank you’—kindly and gently—to more. There isn’t good or bad food, and you aren’t good or bad based on what you choose to eat. Try just taking a moment and listen to what your body needs to nourish and fuel it.
  6. More is rarely better. Have you ever noticed how that first Christmas cookie tastes so delicious, but by the 3rd or 4th you aren’t even tasting it? Or have you noticed that sensation of being full to the point that your stomach hurts? Or that drained sugar-low feeling after you’ve had too much food? I sure have. I’ve joked many times that the only time I need TUMS is when I’m at my family’s home for the holidays!
  7. I choose connection.
  8. Who you are and what you have is enough. Just as it is. The majority of my happiest memories aren’t connected to a particular object someone gave me or the price tag attached to it. It is connected to the people in that memory. It is baking cookies with my mother and sister. It is watching my dad have to get those clip-on Christmas lights positioned exactly on the tree. It is the joy in my grandfather’s ‘You’re Here’ when we came through the door on Christmas Eve. And now it’s hearing my daughter practice her carols on the piano – every right and wrong note.
  9. A major source of stress during this time of year for many of us is the added obligations and financial pressure. How do you find the time and money for a holiday when there isn’t enough for a regular day? My thought: You don’t.

On that note, I invite you all to choose yourselves this season. Have a lovely December!

Laura

Grants Awarded for Faculty Development that Crosses Program Boundaries

provost_finalbannerThe One Middlebury Fund, administered by the Office of the Provost, provides resources that faculty from all Middlebury Programs (the College, the Institute, and the Schools) may use to engage in collaborative curricular, co-curricular, and scholarly endeavors with colleagues in other programs.

This fall, ten proposals received funding to collaborate on a range of projects, from developing a shared pedagogy of intercultural competence across all Middlebury programs, to exploring opportunities for collaboration in the realm of food studies.

Several projects involved faculty from the College or the Institute with schools abroad, from a lecture series with our partner universities in India, to a Spanish curriculum that will take Institute translation and interpretation students to Madrid before beginning their coursework at the Institute.

Individual scholarly endeavors leverage resources at Schools Abroad for research on Chilean archaeology, Brazilian cinema, and Japanese urban sociology, while other awards support the creation of a jazz performance for the 100th anniversary of the Spanish School next summer, and participation in a symposium on chemical and biological warfare through the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.