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Home News The story behind UCT Calgary’s first-in-the-Americas Healthy Campus platinum accreditation

The story behind UCT Calgary’s first-in-the-Americas Healthy Campus platinum accreditation

Canada 18 April 2024
Marc Poulin, Conor Haas and Harshita Gauba hold the FISU platinum certified label certificate and plaque. (picture: Mave Cagas)

The Canadian university received Healthy Campus Platinum Certified Label from FISU at the end of 2023. Find out how UCalgary achieved this before anyone else on the continent.

When he heard about the Healthy Campus programme, Dr. Marc Poulin, PhD, DPhil, identified his 2023 BRAIN CREATE summer studentship research lab for undergraduate students as the opportune space to pursue this initiative. Poulin, a professor at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), began the process with a vision to make UCalgary the first certified FISU Healthy Campus university, not only in North America, but in the Americas.

Seven essential domains

Dedicated students of Poulin’s lab, including fourth-year Faculty of Kinesiology student Connor Hass, worked diligently to complete the necessary steps to achieve accreditation. Poulin and Hass adopted a transdisciplinary approach, recognising seven essential domains for a Healthy Campus: healthy campus management, physical activity and sport, nutrition, disease prevention, mental and social health, risk behaviour, environment, sustainability, and social responsibility. This approach involved collaboration with various stakeholders across campus, ensuring a holistic integration of programs and policies.

Poulin says various faculties came together, pooling their expertise and resources, a collaborative effort crucial to Hass and his team in gathering the necessary information to meet FISU’s criteria.

“The success achieved in obtaining (the designation) wouldn’t have been possible without the united support of diverse departments and faculties across the university,” says Poulin. “This was very much a joint effort between faculty members in kinesiology and medicine, and (Faculty of Kinesiology Dean) Nick Holt’s support was critical.”

Training the next generation

Marc Poulin also underscores the importance of universities in shaping the determinants of health and well-being. “They help train the next generation and help create a better world,” he says. The alignment of the FISU program with global initiatives such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan for physical activity further emphasises the university’s commitment to contributing to a healthier world.

The FISU “provides an avenue for UCalgary to have interesting outreach to other universities around the world on aspects that relate to the health of the campus and the health of the students,” says Poulin. The collaboration between FISU and UCalgary is seen as an opportunity to share best practices to benefit the health of campus communities worldwide.

More about the Healthy Campus Programme

The FISU Healthy Campus programme currently collaborates with 137 universities from 41 countries, with 68 already certified.

Proposed and developed by the International University Sports Federation, the FISU Healthy Campus programme aims to enhance all aspects of well-being for students and the campus community at large. Looking to reverse the well-established trend of young adults compromising their health during their academic careers, the initiative is already having a positive impact on the lives and lifestyles of university students around the world.

The programme holds steadfast to the belief that universities should be an enabling environment, a gateway encouraging its attendees to practice a healthy and sustainable lifestyle where access and opportunity in the areas of physical activity, health and nutrition are a daily part of campus life.

Find out more about the program and register your university:

Files provided by the University of Calgary