• 11.19.08

Healthy Habits at GE

Greetings from General Electric’s headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut.

I’m waiting to meet with an exec here. The low, white mid-century modern complex set among wooded hills resembles nothing so much as the campus of a public university–there’s a lounge with a grand piano and even a full-sized library across a courtyard from where I sit. The hallways show many signs of a strong, not to say paternalistic, corporate culture–reminders about Internet security, volunteering, fitness, and several donation kiosks for various causes.


When I bought a yogurt-and-apple snack from the cafeteria, I was rewarded with a token. Each time you make a healthy choice, you get one of these–choose salads or fruit five times and your sixth healthy snack is free.

They’re a 125-year-old company weathering the current economic storm. I guess they know how to motivate people.

About the author

She’s the author of Generation Debt (Riverhead, 2006) and DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, (Chelsea Green, 2010). Her next book, The Test, about standardized testing, will be published by Public Affairs in 2015.