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UW-Madison is one of the nation's healthiest campuses
The University of Wisconsin-Madison was selected as a recipient of the 2016 Healthy Campus Award and recognized as one of the healthiest college campuses in the nation by Active Minds. The award celebrates colleges and universities that demonstrate excellence in prioritizing and promoting student health and well-being.
UW-Madison’s innovations in student health have a wide impact on its 43,000 undergraduate and graduate students. University Health Services was one of the first college health centers in the country to transition from an infirmary model of student health care toward a public health approach to student well-being–a change of emphasis from becoming well to staying well.
“I’m very proud of the integrated approach we take to deliver and promote campus community health,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Our robust public health model provides high-quality medical, mental health, and prevention services in a culturally competent manner. We prioritize ensuring a healthy, safe, and supportive environment wherever students live, learn, work, and play. The health and safety of our campus community affects academic issues, and each student, staff, and faculty member plays a role.”
For students, addressing these health and safety issues means looking within their communities to make change.
“This past year, I joined Greek Men for Violence Prevention, a program for fraternity brothers,” says Dominic Ricci, a third-year marketing major. “Sexual violence is a major issue on college campuses right now, and at UW-Madison fraternities play a big role in facilitating the conversation about positive decision making, healthy relationships, violence prevention, and gender equity.”
UW-Madison joins five other colleges and universities recognized this year, including California State University, Long Beach; Jefferson College; Lawrence University; Sacramento State; and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Healthy Campus Award, now in its second year, involves an extensive application process as well as multiple endorsements and interviews.
Each applicant is assessed across eight criteria, with winners chosen by a panel of prominent researchers and health and higher education experts. The review panel cited numerous reasons why UW-Madison was chosen as one of the nation’s healthiest campuses including UWell, the campus-wide wellness council co-chaired by Office of Human Resources and University Health Services; the teaching and learning initiatives which integrate health and well-being into the classroom environment; mental health resources for student veterans, students of color, and transgender students; and mental health training for faculty, staff, and instructors. Many interdependent parts of UW-Madison—including the Division of Student Life and Dean of Students Lori Berquam, the Division of University Housing, the Division of Recreational Sports, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department, and the Wisconsin Union—collaborate to deliver effective programs and policies, and promote overall campus community health.
“The University of Wisconsin-Madison stands out because it invests in students’ physical and mental health on a comprehensive scale and for the long term,” says Alison Malmon, executive director and founder of Active Minds, the national nonprofit that presents the Healthy Campus Award as part of its commitment to student wellness. “UW-Madison is a model of what’s possible when a college prioritizes a campus culture of health, safety, and well-being.”
Written by Kelsey Anderson, UHS Health Communications Specialist