Humber plans to be the healthiest campus in the country by becoming the first public college or polytechnic in Canada to adopt the Okanagan Charter.
By signing the Charter, Humber is incorporating health into everyday operations, business practices and academic mandates to support students, staff and faculty.
“The Charter calls on higher education environments to make a commitment to health and well-being in all aspects of campus culture, from policy to practice,” says Dr. Chris Whitaker, president and CEO, Humber College. “By striving to be the healthiest campus in Canada, we want to create an environment where we are more reflective and more intentional about identifying the health and wellness needs of all members of our community.”
This commitment aligns with a key component of Humber’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, calling for a healthy and inclusive community. As part of adopting the charter, Humber is making the following commitments:
- We will infuse health and sustainability into the decisions we make, expanding our focus on the success and well-being of our students, employees, community and environment.
- We will continue to cultivate a rich and diverse learning and work environment as we recognize that diversity is our strength.
- We will continue to respect the primary importance of Indigenous cultural foundations and the principles of mutual respect, inclusion and community engagement.
Whitaker adds, “we know that in order to be well, people need community, housing, secure finances, education, access to resources and healthy options, a good environment, and a sense of purpose.”
With support from Student Success and Engagement, Whitaker signed the Charter alongside Monica Khosla, president of IGNITE.
“We understand that being a student can be difficult, and as a result we have several initiatives currently underway which focus on student well-being,” says Khosla.
IGNITE recently launched Soupbar at North Campus in partnership with Humber and Feed it Forward–a food recycling program where unused food can be used to make fresh, affordable soup by offering a pay-what-you-can model. Ignite has also implemented advocacy programs to ensure student spaces on campus are appropriate and accessible and will be launching new accessibility programs this year.
Jen McMillen, dean of students at Humber College says, adopting the Charter is the beginning of many efforts Humber will make to fulfill the college’s commitments. “There will be significant engagement over the next five years of the strategic plan, to actualize this goal.”
This new initiative to promote healthy living locally and globally initially presented at the 2015 conference at the University of British Columbia Okanagan in Kelowna. It provides recommendations for creating a healthy campus environment in universities and colleges and has received approval by the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization and UNESCO.
As new initiatives continue to be introduced to support the Humber community, Humber has also launched #WeAreAtOurBest, asking students, faculty and staff to join the conversation and share when they are at their best.
Humber invites students to share how they are at their best on social media for a chance to win a $500 gift card to the Humber Bookstore. All social media messaging should include #WeAreAtOurBest.