U of M Named a Leading Healthy Campus in the U.S.

Today, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities was honored with the 2015 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award, recognizing the University as one of the healthiest campuses in the nation. The award celebrates U.S. colleges and universities that are prioritizing health and demonstrating innovation and excellence in promoting student well-being.

The University of Minnesota (U of M), one of five higher education institutions to receive the award, was recognized for its cohesive, innovative public health approach to student health and wellness. Active Minds and a national panel of expert reviewers conducted a comprehensive, multi-stage application process for evaluation. The U of M was assessed across eight criteria, all key to creating a healthy campus community. Criteria included championing student voices, creating equal opportunities for health for all students and using data to drive and improve efforts.

“The University of Minnesota is leading some of the nation’s most innovative efforts to create a healthy college community,” said Sara Abelson, Vice President of Student Health and Wellness at Active Minds. “The University of Minnesota’s efforts are a model for campuses nationwide and demonstrate what is possible when students, staff, faculty and administrators from across an entire university work together so that every student has the opportunity to thrive.”

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the healthiest campuses in the nation,” said Karen Hanson, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Minnesota. “I am particularly proud that the University of Minnesota was chosen for its unique public health approach, an approach that is truly holistic and is fully attentive to both physical and mental health.”

“The attention and dedication to addressing health on campus has been creative, collaborative, far reaching and involved exceptional student work and input,” said U of M Student Body President, Joelle Strangler.

Active Minds will be sharing best practices from the U of M with higher education institutions nationwide to inspire locally-driven change across the country. Some of the University’s efforts to support student health include:

  • The Provost’s Committee on Student Mental Health, which facilitates campus-wide collaboration on the University’s most pressing public health issues facing the student body and has succeeded in creating a U of M Mental Health website, www.mentalhealth.umn.edu, to make information and resources readily available to students, their parents, faculty and staff.
  • A 24-hour crisis line for campus and this year a pilot 24-hour text counseling service for first-year students.

  • A tobacco and smoke free campus, availability of an affordable and benefit-rich student health plan, access to the University Recreation and Wellness Center and a bike friendly campus and community.
  • U of M’s support of peer education through Active Minds at the University, stress assessments by the de-stress health promotion student group and the Student Health Advocate program, which trains students to serve as health resources for residents in on-campus residence halls and fraternity and sorority houses.
  • Ongoing work for inclusivity, including expanding coverage under the Student Health Benefit plan to include services for transgender patients.
  • Creative programing like Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS), which offers weekly opportunities for students to interact with therapy animals, and Cirque De-Stress, which uses circus performances and activities to combat stress and provide mental health resources. Cirque De-Stress returns to the U of M campus on October 19, 2015. 

The U of M joins Cornell University, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, University of Texas, Austin and Western Washington University. The Active Minds Healthy Campus Award is a new annual recognition, made possible through support from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation. For more information visit www.ActiveMinds.org/Award.

About Active Minds

Active Minds is the leading national nonprofit organization that engages students to change the conversation about mental health. The nonprofit is changing the culture on campuses and in the community by providing information, leadership opportunities and advocacy training to the next generation. Through a rapidly growing network of hundreds of student-led chapters at colleges, universities and high schools, Active Minds increases students’ awareness of mental health issues, provides resources regarding mental health and mental illness, and encourages students to seek help as soon as it is needed. Active Minds is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has chapters in nearly every state of the US. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Active_Minds. For more information visit www.ActiveMinds.org

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