College students need support in all areas of their wellbeing to thrive during their university years. Strong university wellness programs need to include well designed support for the overall wellbeing of their students. If your campus is in need of some inspiration, here are some things to include in your wellness program. 

Be Proactive vs Reactive

Aim to support students with their wellness before they need treatment for physical or emotional health conditions. Design initiatives that provide education and support for students to proactively navigate issues before they occur. This might include seminars, classes, or services that are designed to educate and equip students before they are in crisis. Including plenty of emphasis on self-awareness in your university wellness program, too.  

Focus on the Fundamentals

Eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep are important for college students. University wellness programs that focus on these basics enhance the physical and emotional wellbeing of students on their campus. 

NUTRITION:

Good nutrition is a crucial part of physical and emotional wellness. Offer plenty of healthy options in your cafeteria and include alternatives for those with dietary restrictions. Make grab and go options like pre-made salads, yogurt, string cheese and beef sticks, and fresh fruit easy to find and strategically placed near the check-out lines. Include coolers of bottled water or refillable fountains throughout campus as well. 

EXERCISE:

Keep your exercise facilities readily available to students on campus. Extend hours into the late night for those who need that option and offer intramurals sports and clubs. Encourage the use of stairs, walking from class to class, or providing bikes for students to venture off campus when needed. 

SLEEP:

Promote good sleep by setting quiet hours in the dorms. Provide education opportunities on the benefits of sleep or partner with BetterYou to help students design their ideal sleep goals and focus on the things that matter most to them to improve their wellbeing.   

Encourage Good Mental Health

Mental health is at the top of the needs list for college students, especially now. The rise in requests for support has increased significantly and university wellness programs need to respond. While proactive actions are ideal, it’s also necessary to support students who enroll in college with pre-existing mental health conditions. Having a strong counseling center on campus and hosting regular seminars for students is a necessity. Programs that focus on resilience will have better long-term outcomes. Teaching students how to take charge of their own mental health by removing likely triggers is known as the “upstream model” by student affairs staff. 

Harness Technology

BetterYou isn’t the only app designed to support student wellbeing. Other mental health apps help students manage stress, anxiety, and depression through education, prompts, and even online coaching. Programs like Kognito harness role-play conversations to help students improve their communication skills for better wellbeing. University wellness programs that embrace technology are likely to see good success with this generation of students. 

The need for university wellness programs is on the rise. Colleges that prioritize this programming will benefit from students who are not only healthier, but are more engaged in their education now while becoming strong alumni later.