Kent State Seeks to Create Healthy Campus for All
University’s healthy campus initiative promotes a Kent State of Wellness for employees and students
In line with Kent State University’s vision to make the health of its community members a priority, the university’s healthy campus initiative, Kent State of Wellness, will foster a culture of health and wellness for students and employees at all Kent State campuses.
Kent State of Wellness is one of Kent State's University-level Initiatives in the Strategic Roadmap and is focused on seven health priorities: mental health, physical activity, nutrition, smoking and tobacco use, alcohol and drug use, preventive care and safety. Strategies are being identified to improve the health of Kent State community members in these areas that include recommended changes to university policies, the environment and encouragement for individual behavior change. These strategies are grounded in the American College Health Association's Healthy Campus 2020 framework.
Kent State of Wellness is led by co-chairs Angela DeJulius, M.D., director of Kent State’s Healthy Campus Initiative; Gretchen Julian, director of Recreational Services and interim director of the Kent Student Center; and Kim Hauge, manager for University Wellness and Healthy Campus Promotions. It is being developed collaboratively by a broad coalition of Kent State community members – faculty, staff and students, under the leadership of the vice presidents for student affairs and human resources.
“Kent State has a great deal of knowledge and expertise among our faculty and many individuals who share our passion for health and wellness,” DeJulius says. “We want to be inclusive throughout the process. I would encourage anyone who wants to get involved to contact one of the co-chairs.”
DeJulius says that a minigrant program will be released this fall to provide an opportunity for student organizations and university departments to design and implement their own activities and projects that support the goals of Kent State of Wellness.
“For example, we are looking forward to partnering with faculty who want to integrate Healthy Campus 2020 concepts into course projects,” she says. “Kent State took the American College Health Association's Healthy Campus Pledge, declaring our commitment to promote and support a healthier campus community. To date, we are the only Ohio institution to take this pledge.”
The university recently hosted a Healthy Campus Summit on the Kent Campus to update and share goals of the initiative with stakeholders. The keynote speaker at the event was Allison Smith, chair of the American College Health Association’s Healthy Campus Coalition and manager of Public Health Initiatives and Assessment at New York University, which has an award-winning Healthy Campus program, LiveWell NYU. Smith shared her experience and insights at the summit.
Some components of the healthy campus initiative already are being implemented, such as the university’s wellness programs for employees; implementation of the smoke-free, tobacco-free policy; and the minigrant program. Additional information will be shared with the campus community in the future.