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Queen’s adopts Okanagan Charter

University formally commits to embedding health and wellness in campus culture.

Queen’s has made a formal commitment to the health and wellness of students, staff and faculty by joining universities from around the world in adopting the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges.

[Okanagan Charter]
The Okanagan Charter calls on post-secondary institutions to embed health and well-being in all aspects of campus culture, and to lead human and environmental well-being promotion action locally and globally.

The charter, developed in 2015 by researchers, practitioners, administrators, students, and policymakers from 45 countries representing educational institutions and health organizations, calls on post-secondary institutions to embed health and well-being in all aspects of campus culture, and to lead human and environmental well-being promotion action locally and globally.

“By adopting the Okanagan Charter, Queen’s is formally recognizing that excellence in teaching, learning, research and working environments is sustained by the physical and mental health of our people, and by buildings and spaces that are conducive to this goal,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf. “The Okanagan Charter will help to provide structure for our recently-launched Campus Wellness Project’s resulting framework, and reflects the university’s continuing commitment to promoting health and wellness among students, faculty and staff.”

As part of the adoption process, the university has made two specific commitments:

  • fostering collaboration among students, staff and faculty to develop a system-wide framework to support, encourage and inspire a culture of well-being for all who study and work at Queen's. This will be implemented through the Campus Wellness Project.
  • working cooperatively with campus partners to create and apply wellness-related policies and programs with demonstrated impact and to build relationships, on and off campus, to advance health promotion research, teaching, knowledge exchange and action locally, nationally and globally.

Dr. Duncan Hunter, Interim Head, Public Health Sciences, is a member of the newly formed Provost’s Advisory Committee on Wellness that is leading the Campus Wellness Project, and that recommended the adoption of the charter.

“The Okanagan Charter reflects current research and thinking in health promotion,” Dr. Hunter says. “It is thoughtful, inspiring, and also very practical, with a clear framework that can be adapted to our unique campus and culture.”

The Campus Wellness Project is establishing a council with a membership that reflects the breadth and depth of campus-wide experience, expertise and perspectives related to advancing a health-promoting university community.

“The timing of the university’s adoption of the Okanagan Charter is positive, as the Charter provides a solid foundation for the development of our wellness framework,” says Rector Alexandra Da Silva, also a member of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Wellness. “There are many opportunities for students, staff and faculty members to get involved in the project and talk about what a healthy campus looks like.”

The Campus Wellness Project consultation sessions will be starting on campus in the coming weeks. Interested students, staff, faculty, groups and units are encouraged to learn more about the Campus Wellness Project and upcoming consultation opportunities.