Western Washington University, one of seven universities to adopt the Okanagan Charter as a health promotion campus network in the United States

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Western Washington University is one of seven universities – and the first in the Northwest – to adopt the Okanagan Charter and join the United States Health Promotion Campus Network, which calls on higher education institutions to integrate health into all aspects of campus culture and to lead local and global health promotion actions and collaboration.

By adopting the charter in September, Western joined Northern Illinois University; Albany University, State University of New York; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Irvine; University of Michigan; and University of North Florida; with the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the first in the United States to adopt the Okanagan Charter in December 2020.

The United States Health Promotion Campus Network is guided by the Okanagan Charter, an international charter for health promoting universities and colleges. Created in June 2015, the Charter provides institutions with a common vision, language, principles and calls to action to become campuses that promote health and well-being. Evidence shows that people who are doing well are more productive, are better able to engage in deeper learning, have a greater sense of belonging, and have a greater sense of community.

“The adoption of the Okanagan Charter is an important and important first step in the continued transformation of the well-being of the culture of Western Washington University,” said Sislena Grocer Ledbetter, associate vice president for counseling, health and wellness at Western, and a doctorate in psychology. “While COVID has forced us to constantly think about public health over the past 18 months, we are delighted to continue to center health and wellness in all aspects of our work in administration, academics and the operations. ”

By adopting the charter, each health promoting university makes institutional commitments to both the charter and its own strategic plan for how it experiences and implements health promotion on its campus and in its community. In doing so, health-promoting universities and colleges improve the health of the people who live, learn, work, play and love on their campuses and strengthen the ecological, social and economic sustainability of their communities and of society at large.

“I am delighted that our campus is ready to embrace this framework and signal to the Western community that we are serious about dedicating time, talent and resources to focus on the well-being of everyone in our community. everything we do at Western, ”said Ledbetter.

Health-promoting universities are an international community that aspires to transform the health and sustainability of current and future societies, to strengthen communities and to contribute to the well-being of people, places and the planet. The network enables members to support each other and collaborate in the work of becoming a health promotion campus.

Similar networks are active internationally, notably in the UK, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and Latin America. The establishment of this network is supported by the International Health Promoting Universities & Colleges network.

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