WMU commits to strategic initiatives to enhance student, faculty and staff well-being under global charter

Contact: Paula M. Davis

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University on Tuesday, Nov. 7, adopted an international charter focused on university health promotion, which advances strategic initiatives around the well-being of students, faculty and staff members.

President Edward Montgomery gathered with the University community to make a public commitment to the Okanagan (OH-can-NAH-gan) Charter, a framework for institutions to embed health into all aspects of campus culture and to lead health-promotion action locally and globally as part of the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network. Nearly 400 students, faculty and staff attended the event at the WMU Student Center. Each participant declared their individual and communitywide commitment to well-being by signing a banner affirming their pledge.

WMU is part of a small number of colleges in Michigan, one of the first 25 in the nation, to adopt the charter, which is designed to be a public commitment and accountability measure for taking transformative action under a principled framework, urging institutions to step up, act on their societal responsibility and lead by example.

“We take pride in being among the exemplary universities in the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network and its International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges. Our commitment is clear: to foster a campus culture defined by compassion, well-being and equity, to enhance the health of all who live, learn, work and play on our campuses, and to bolster the ecological, social, and economic sustainability of our communities and society as a whole,” says Montgomery.

“Today’s signing reaffirms our profound dedication to well-being at Western. It invigorates our resolve to promote values that align with the physical, social and mental wellness of our students, staff and faculty. By taking the lead in improving health and well-being on our campus and in society at large through collaboration and networking, we aim to continue creating a thriving and inclusive environment consistent with our enduring credo, ‘So that all may learn.’”

About the Okanagan Charter 

Built upon decades of evidence and knowledge shared by the World Health Organization, the Okanagan Charter was developed by 380 researchers, practitioners, administrators, students, and policymakers from 45 countries in 2015. In 2018, it was introduced in the United States at the NASPA Strategies Conference. 

About the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network

Modeled after many countries, the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network was established in 2020 to bring together campus liaisons who are taking intentional action to be health-promoting institutions and adopt the Okanagan Charter. Currently, approximately 200 colleges and universities across the nation are a part of this network, including WMU.

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