“We continue to strive to be one of the best universities in the world, and we constantly find new ways to address the needs and aspirations of Saskatchewan and the world,” said Patti McDougall, vice-provost teaching and learning, at the U of S. “If we are going to be successful in those areas, we need to ensure the people helping us get there—our students, faculty and staff—are engaged and healthy. We need to embed wellness in our institutional fabric.”
McDougall said with the help of the university community, six areas of support were developed that outline how the university community can promote and support the health and well-being of all who study and work on U of S campuses.
The six strategic areas of support are: ensuring a supportive foundation; fostering a healthy culture and environment; raising awareness and maintaining healthy behaviours; identifying risk and responsibility; developing resilience and self-management competencies; and providing services, training and critical support.
“The strategy does include some high-level aspirations, but the bulk of the content suggests what individuals can do right now, today to keep their mind, body and life healthy,” said McDougall. “By giving people the support and the wellness opportunities they need, the university commits to creating an environment which enables our campus community members to reduce their risk of illness and, where possible, achieve optimal health and well-being.”
The wellness strategy is the first of its kind at a Canadian post-secondary institution, according to Cheryl Carver, associate vice-president of people and resources at the U of S.
“This is trail-blazing work. To our knowledge, no other post-secondary institution has addressed wellness where they include faculty, staff and students as partners in the strategy,” said Carver. “Other universities are seeking us out, asking how we did this, because they want to do the same.”
From getting enough rest, to being open-minded to new ideas, to managing money, to safeguarding yourself from physical or mental harm, Carver said the plan offers tips for everyone in the campus community to live healthier lives.
On Oct. 5, in celebration of the new wellness plan, the university hosts its first Be Well Day, a day-long health and wellness conference that features speaking engagements from mental health professionals, interactive workshops and a wellness fair. Events are free and open to the public.
For more information, visit the wellness strategy website.
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University of Saskatchewan