Texas A&M – Corpus Christi is one of the campuses participating in the Healthier Campus Initiative.In November, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) will officially launch the Healthier Campus Initiative with the announcement of its initial cohort of schools. While the participating schools won’t be unveiled for another couple of weeks, the committed schools represent a diverse group of colleges and universities from across the country.

Jacqueline Hamilton is the Director of Recreational Sports at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, a participating campus. “By committing to the Initiative, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi is ensuring that resources will be used to improve wellness opportunities,” she says. Participating also puts the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi name on a national initiative, and “the trade-off between the auditing costs and the marketing we will receive will be another value to our institution. We anticipate that the return on investment will be well worth it in the long term.”

NIRSA member schools have proven to be early adopters at the forefront of the national movement to make the healthy choice the easy choice—many of the schools who will be unveiled have NIRSA members on their campus. It should come as no surprise though, since NIRSA leaders—Jacque Hamilton among them—contributed their expertise as the PHA worked to develop the Healthier Campus Initiative guidelines. Hamilton states, “This initiative is important for the campus community—employees as well as students. There is much room for improvement in having a culture of wellness.”

The Initiative works to secure commitments of colleges and universities to make their campuses healthier by adopting guidelines around food and nutrition, physical activity, and programming. NIRSA student and professional members know that campuses influence tomorrow’s parents, teachers, coaches, and more. “If a better wellness culture is established on campus, as new students come onto campus, they will become part of the healthier Islander culture,” Hamilton points out. It is critical that we help colleges and universities offer students, faculty, and staff—as early as possible—healthier choices that will ensure their success.

Research indicates that during their first year in college, students’ overweight/obesity rates increase by more than 15%.

[i] The college years are a time when lifelong habits begin to form since, for the first time, many students are making their own choices about food and lifestyle. The Healthier Campus Initiative was conceived because most college students are not meeting dietary and physical activity guidelines.[ii] In trying to recognize the unique nature of each campus, PHA created guidelines that give participating schools choice, acknowledge the progress already implemented, and allow for flexibility in achieving targets.

Working with a group of the nation’s leading nutrition, physical activity and campus wellness experts, PHA’s guidelines promote building healthier environments for college and university students. The guidelines fall under the three broad categories of food and nutrition, physical activity, and programming. From providing healthier vending options and promoting water consumption on campus to encouraging student activity through increased access to facilities and programs on campus, this initiative supports intentionally-built environments that encourage active transportation across campus and integrate comprehensive wellness programs for individuals on campus.

If you would like resources to share with administrators on your campus, visit this website.


For more information about the Healthier Campus Initiative, please contact NIRSA Membership.


[i] Richardson et al. 2009. A Prospective Study of Weight Gain During the College Freshman and Sophomore Years. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696183.
[ii] Huang et al. 2003. Assessing Overweight, Obesity, Diet, and Physical Activity in College Students. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07448480309595728#.U1UjruZdV30.