More than just counselling, Okanagan Charter guides U of G to create healthy campus

Posted on April 4th, 2018

The University of Guelph is aiming to create a healthy campus where students, staff and faculty can look after their well-being outside of their daily lectures, assignments and exams.

Aside from deciding how many labs are needed when a new student centre is built, the school is now also considering having benches to converse and open spaces to make human connections.

Brenda Whiteside, associate vice president of student affairs at the University of Guelph said that the Charter focuses on a health and wellness framework.

“A health and wellness lens is on everything you do [on campus],” said Whiteside.

“It’s not just about creating mental health and counselling and support. It’s about how is everything in an institution related to the health and wellness of its faculty, staff and students.”

Whiteside said the Okanagan Charter also focuses on personal development issues and campus services such as counselling.

“You can get into a trap when you talk about mental health, only focusing on counselling services,” said Whiteside, “And lose the whole piece about the importance of a healthy community.”

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