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Queen’s launches Campus Wellness Project

Collaborative, campus-wide initiative to encourage and support a culture of wellbeing.

The Queen’s spirit is one of initiative – a community that together imagines what the future could be, and works together to realize it. This spirit, together with the knowledge that health-promoting universities can transform the wellbeing and sustainability of current and future societies, has inspired the university to launch the Campus Wellness Project.

Led by the Office of the Provost, this integrated, holistic, campus-wide initiative will encourage and support a culture of wellbeing for all who live, learn, and work at Queen’s – students, staff, and faculty.

“With this project, Queen’s continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to health and wellness,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “We know that focusing on wellness in our learning and working environments is essential for creating and sustaining an inclusive, positive, culture of contribution, initiative and success. The Campus Wellness Project will follow a community-wide approach to engagement, leading to the design of a shared vision of wellbeing.”

The project is guided by a newly-formed Provost’s Advisory Committee on Wellness, co-chaired by Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, and Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). The Provost’s Advisory Committee on Wellness will receive support from a new campus-wide group, the Campus Wellness Council, which will be co-chaired by Jennifer Dods, Executive Director, Student Wellness Services, and Sydney Downey, Manager, Return to Work & Accommodation Services, Human Resources. The committee and council will involve students, staff, faculty, and stakeholders from across campus, including a network of representatives from student-led wellness groups and clubs, chaired by Rector Alex da Silva.

Through extensive consultation, the project structure aims to promote awareness of the array of ongoing wellness activities across our campuses, and additional partnerships among units. Community members are encouraged to get involved through various channels and opportunities to learn from each other, to communicate challenges and successes and to collaboratively envision a campus setting that supports and inspires wellbeing. Students, staff and faculty will work together to embed wellness into all aspects of campus culture.

“This is a great opportunity to hear from our campus community,” says Rector Da Silva. “This project will provide forums for us to discuss what campus wellness means to students, staff, and faculty and to gather ideas about how wellbeing can be enhanced at Queen’s in a sustainable way. This is a very exciting project that has the potential to transform the campus and how we integrate wellness into everything we do.”

The project will result in a wellbeing framework that will provide structure to align and inspire thinking about health and wellbeing when considering actions, processes, policies and programming.  The project builds on the work of the student-focused Principal’s Commission on Mental Health (2012) and the implementation work of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health, with an expanded and multi-dimensional wellness scope. This project aligns with global initiatives, including the Okanagan Charter, an international charter for health-promoting universities and colleges, and it will consider learnings from peer institutions in Canada that have undertaken large scale wellness initiatives.

“In much the same way that inclusivity, diversity and sustainability are being woven into the fabric of the university, there a real commitment on the part of Queen’s leadership and the broader campus community to embed wellness into our campus culture,” says Ms. Janiec. “It is exciting to launch this project during Thrive Week, which focuses on building positive mental health among Queen’s students, faculty and staff.”

Over the next few months, the project team will begin consultations with students, staff, faculty, campus partners, community groups and stakeholders. Where possible, the project team will join existing group meetings and forums to seek input. The team will also hold open town hall events and will invite online participation. Project participants will be encouraged to use a wellbeing lens to examine the way we work, teach, study, make decisions, build community, contribute to culture and support change.

This project is generously funded by The Rossy Foundation.

“Queen’s is very grateful to The Rossy Foundation for its support of the wellbeing of all members of the Queen's community,” says Ms. Tierney. “Together we will work to strengthen a culture of wellbeing and improve the lives of those who learn and work at Queen’s.”

For information and to get involved, visit queensu.ca/campuswellnessproject