Joining national network advances health promotion, prevention strategies

Grand Valley has joined a national network focused on university health promotion and prevention, which advances strategic initiatives around the well-being of students, faculty and staff members.

The U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network (USHPCN) is guided by the Okanagan Charter, which was established in 2015 to provide a framework for institutions to embed health into all aspects of campus culture and to lead health-promotion action locally and globally.

Grand Valley is the second university in Michigan and 15th in the nation to adopt the charter. President Philomena V. Mantella signed the charter agreement and said joining USHPCN aligns well with Grand Valley's mission. 

“I’m pleased that Grand Valley will join the 2023 cohort of universities that adopted the Okanagan Charter," Mantella said. "The adoption of this charter aligns with our Reach Higher 2025 goals and values of access, equity and inclusion. We have a long history of setting students up for success; adding this framework strengthens our current plan and expands our efforts to ensure a healthy campus environment.”

President Mantella is standing at a table signing a piece of paper, wearing a black jacket over a blue shirt
President Philomena V. Mantella signs the Okanagan Charter in Zumberge Hall. GVSU is the 15th institution to adopt the charter, which focuses on embedding health into all aspects of campus life.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Kate Harmon, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, Well-Being and Inclusion, led steps to apply for and adopt the charter with help from acceleration team members from across campus.

"As GVSU continues to focus on issues of access and equity, we are positioned at a critical setting to address gaps in health equity," Harmon said. "The adoption of the charter sends a strong message about GVSU’s commitment to creating a healthy university environment for everyone."

an examination room in Finkelstein Hall, one person standing, taking vital signs of a woman seated on a table.
Adding a convenience health clinic at Finkelstein Hall, operated by the GVSU Family Health Center, is an example of embedding wellness initiatives.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts
a person does a yoga pose in a room in CHS
The Reset Room in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences is pictured. Group exercise classes are available in addition to fitness equipment.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Edward Jones II, director of Student Health Services, said the charter's framework and resources from USHPCN members will help Grand Valley leaders study the intersection of equity and wellness with more intention.

"We know that wellness affects student success and the wellness of faculty and staff impacts satisfaction scores," Jones said. "This is an opportunity for Grand Valley to show its values. We are leaning into prevention and promotion of health, not relying on being reactive."

construction truck in front of Fieldhouse
Construction workers at the Fieldhouse are pictured, the building is undergoing expansion.
two women walk down steps at Mary Idema Pew Library
Like many new GVSU buildings, the Mary Idema Pew Library on the Allendale Campus was built to LEED certification, another example of embedding sustainability and wellness on campus.


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