A new charter is a call to action on health and wellbeing at tertiary education centres around the world. The Okanagan Charter was produced in October 2015 at the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities. “Universities and colleges must be exemplars of health-promoting communities,” says Deborah Buszard, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the host university. “The Okanagan Charter is a powerful call to action for post-secondary institutions to embed health in our campus policies and services, to create environments which support health and personal development, and to become communities with a culture of well-being.”
The Tertiary Wellbeing (Aotearoa New Zealand) – TWANZ – development group is considering a national consultation process to map out ways the Charter can be applied here. Members of the TWANZ development group were among the 45 countries that contributed to the Charter, which is designed to confront increasingly complex issues about health, wellbeing, and sustainability of people and the planet .“Cumulatively the Okanagan Charter and the NZ tertiary sector’s focus on wellbeing is very encouraging,” says Anna Tonks, project coordinator for the TWANZ development group. The group is now calling for stories of best practice and for new members to join them.
The Okanagan Charter puts higher education at the forefront of the movement. Conference delegates pledged to take the Charter back to their countries and organisations to mobilise health promotion action; both on and off campuses.
The Conference was held at the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia in Canada.
If you have a story to share or are interested in joining the group please contact Anna Tonks.