April 21, 2017 Facebook Twitter Linkedin

King’s University College is one of three new university signatories in Canada to formally adopt the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges as part of a second wave of institutions in Canada to adopt it. The Charter calls on post-secondary institutions to make a commitment to health and well-being in all aspects of campus culture, policies and practices. This commitment by King’s to health and well-being in its community aligns with its new long-range strategic planning.

In total, nine higher education institutions have now formally adopted the Charter within Canada. King’s is the first institution outside the Greater Toronto/Hamilton area, and the only institution in London, to sign onto the Charter.  King’s is one of three post-secondary institutions in eastern Canada to make this commitment to health and well-being.

By adopting the Charter, King’s supports a vision to transform the health and sustainability of our current and future societies, strengthen communities and contribute to the well-being of people, places and the planet.

University leaders are recognizing that promoting health and well-being is essential to achieving their full potential in teaching and learning, research and engagement. The Okanagan Charter provides a common framework for universities and colleges to lead this important charge. By adopting the Charter, King’s is committing to key activities to embed health into the fabric of the institution in the following ways:

  • Hired a new Manager of Student Wellness to measure, coordinate and connect efforts to support student health and well-being at King’s
  • The School of Social Work and the on-campus residences have partnered to create the social work placement program which supports the promotion of healthy living strategies for on-campus students
  • The King’s University College Students Council  along with the Campus Life Team have partnered on comprehensive training for all student leaders related to the promotion of wellness and mental health
  • King’s faculty, staff and students have partnered locally and globally to examine issues of social justice  and poverty toward facilitating sustainable change (i.e. London Poverty Research Centre at King’s; experiential learning in Africa, Europe, Northern Canada, China and more)
  • The Elder in Residence Program was initiated in Fall 2016 to support the development of indigenous programming and new support systems for a growing indigenous community on campus
  • Student Services at King’s developed a new operations model in June 2016 which embeds wellness into all planning and priority activities of the student services unit

The newly-formed Canadian Health Promoting Universities and Colleges Network is working to advance the Charter and encourage health promotion on campuses across Canada and globally.

BACKGROUND

The Okanagan Charter was an outcome of the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges held at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna.  A charter working group with members from the UK, Chile, Ecuador, Germany, United States and Canada used an intensive development process to engage experts, practitioners, administrators and students from 45 countries.

Higher education leaders and delegates, including network and organization representatives, pledged to bring the Charter back to their settings to inspire and catalyze further action towards the creation of health promotion by universities and colleges. Representatives from the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, UNESCO joined in the pledge.

In October 2016, six Canadian universities jointly became the first post-secondary schools in the world to formally adopt the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges.

In April 2017, three more Canadian universities signed the Charter.

LINKS

Okanagan Charter: http://internationalhealthycampuses2015.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2016/01/Okanagan-Charter-January13v2.pdf

Canadian Health Promoting Universities and Colleges Network: healthpromotingcampuses.ca

Find other stories about Okanagan Charter: http://news.ubc.ca/tag/okanagan-charter/