Canada's UCT Calgary university has been awarded the Healthy Campus Platinum Certified label of the International University Sports Federation (FISU). Find out how it achieved this before anyone else on the continent, the University reported for FISU.

When Marc Poulin, PhD, DPhil, heard about the Healthy Campus programme, he identified his 2023 BRAIN CREATE Summer Studentship Research Lab for undergraduates as the perfect place for the initiative. Poulin, a professor at the Cumming School of Medicine, began with a vision to make UCalgary the first FISU Healthy Campus certified university in all the Americas.

Students in Poulin's lab, including fourth-year kinesiology student Connor Hass, worked diligently to complete the necessary steps to achieve accreditation. Poulin and Hass took a transdisciplinary approach, identifying seven areas 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.

Poulin says that different faculties came together and pooled their expertise and resources, a collaborative effort that was crucial for Hass and his team in gathering the necessary information to meet FISU's criteria. 

"The success we've had in achieving (the designation) would not have been possible without the combined support of various departments and faculties across the university. This was very much a collaborative effort between faculty members in Kinesiology and Medicine, and (Dean of Kinesiology) Nick Holt's support was critical," added Poulin. 

He stressed the importance of universities in shaping the health and the well-being, because "they educate the next generation and contribute to a better world." The FISU programme's alignment with initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organisation's Global Physical Activity Action Plan underlines the university's commitment for 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 students," Poulin added. The collaboration between FISU and UCalgary is seen as an opportunity to share best practices to benefit the health of campus communities worldwide.

The FISU Healthy Campus Programme is currently working with 137 universities from 41 countries, of which 68 have already been certified. Proposed and developed by the International University Sports Federation, the FISU Healthy Campus Programme aims to improve all aspects of wellbeing for students and the wider campus community. 

Aimed at reversing 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 is based on the belief that universities should be an enabling environment, a gateway that encourages its participants to adopt healthy and sustainable lifestyles, where access and opportunities for physical activity, health and nutrition are an everyday part of campus life.