Project Description

NIRSA Assembly’s Guide to Health & Wellbeing Resources

Health & Wellbeing Promotion Services

Last Updated: August 28, 2020


Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin; it’s a practice used in traditional Chinese medicine.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, acupuncture can be used for the following pain conditions and other applications:

  • Lower-back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Osteoarthritis/Knee Pain
  • Headaches
  • Stress/Anxiety

Learn more about the acupuncture services at NIRSA member California State University, Northridge.

Childcare services

Many colleges and universities are offering childcare services to their students, faculty, and staff to provide support and education for their communities with young children. Tuition and fees for childcare are often discounted or waived for the university’s community.

Additionally, these services can create employment opportunities for students who are specializing in early childhood development or child education.

Learn more about childcare services from NIRSA member East Tennessee State University

Cooking Classes & Demonstrations

Cooking classes and demonstrations teach participants the skills needed to prepare healthy meals that are simple, budget friendly, and delicious.

Learn more about cooking classes & demonstrations from NIRSA member University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Lactation rooms

Some universities are offering lactation rooms for new mothers who may be students, faculty, or staff at their institutions. Lactation rooms are commonly available by request to a health services department and are typically furnished with comfortable seating, changing tables, and any other items necessary for a private and comfortable experience.

Learn more about lactation rooms from NIRSA member Vanderbilt University.


Massage therapy is an excellent tool that can be used for relaxation, relieving stress and muscle tension, or assisting in rehabilitating an injury. Many colleges and universities offer massage therapy services or have massage chairs provided to students for free or at discounted rates. Massage therapy can be used to treat or alleviate symptoms of many conditions: anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia related to stress, myofascial pain syndrome, soft tissue strains or injuries, sports injuries, and temporomandibular joint pain among other conditions.

Learn more about massage services from NIRSA member California State University, Northridge.

Mental health services

Many colleges and universities are starting to put an increased focus on mental health services and the mental health issues students may be facing.

Specific mental health services provided with little to no additional cost to students can include:

  • ADD/ADHD medication
  • Alcohol abuse education and counseling
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Career counseling
  • Classroom disruption
  • Couples counseling
  • Current therapy groups
  • Group counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • LGBTQ+ student resources
  • Mental health screenings
  • Military and veteran resources
  • Outreach services
  • Self-help topics
  • Sexual assault
  • Suicide prevention and services

While most mental health services are provided through a health services or related department, wellbeing initiatives work to promote available resources to their campus community.

Learn more about mental health services from NIRSA members University of West Florida: Counseling and Psychological Services and California State University San Bernardino: Counseling and Psychological Services.

Nutrition counseling

Some colleges and universities are offering nutritional counseling through their Medical Services Department. Integrative nutrition counseling explores how food can increase energy, promote healing, and improve overall wellbeing. Nutrition counselors  work with patrons to understand how what they eat impacts their health. This service helps students and other patrons make better choices to nurture a greater sense of wellness in mind, body, and spirit.

A personalized nutrition plan can:

  • Reduce your risk of chronic illness and disease
  • Help you reach and maintain your ideal body weight
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Improve digestion
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels and give you more energy
  • Improve concentration and mood

Learn more about nutrition counseling services from NIRSA members Vanderbilt University and University of California, Santa Barbara.

Social media promotion of ongoing initiatives

Many colleges and universities promote wellbeing on their campuses and in their communities by utilizing social media platforms to share and post images. University of Tennessee – Knoxville uses social media to promote events like:

  • Move More Mondays: a campaign promoting walking and physical activity on campus. UTK publishes campus walking maps and features people moving on Mondays.
  • Be Well Weekends: UTK Be Well social media campaign to engage faculty, staff, and the rest of the campus community by sharing local outdoor events. The campaign helps create an opportunity for community interaction and engagement.

Learn more about the social media promotion of wellbeing from NIRSA member University of Tennessee – Knoxville.

Social wellbeing through career development

Wellbeing initiatives include partnering with career development centers on campuses to provide resources to students to increase their social and financial health. Examples of services some schools are providing include:

Professional clothing donations

University career development centers are providing low-means or at-need students with gently-used professional clothing to use for interviews and professional development opportunities if they cannot afford, or do not have, professional clothing. They do this by accepting donations from campus and community members directly to their department.

Life skills seminars (convocations)

Career development centers have been offering educational programs to their students to increase financial and social health. Programs can include life skills education such as: retirement planning, checking/savings accounts, credit cards, loans and interest, mortgages, etc.

Learn more about social and financial wellbeing services from NIRSA members Emory University: The Career Center and California State University San Bernardino: Career Center .

Spiritual wellbeing

College campuses are also addressing the spiritual needs of the campus community in order to assist with this dimension of wellness. Centers can include gathering, meeting, and retreat space for campus spiritual communities, local religious communities, and social justice organizations, as well as include facilities such as footwashing stations needed for individuals practicing certain religions.

Learn more about social and financial wellbeing services from NIRSA members California State University San Bernardino: Interfaith Center and Oberlin College’s Multifaith Center.

Wellness screenings

Recreation centers may offer fitness assessments or partner with health services and counseling centers to provide wellness related screenings.  Types of screenings can cover a range of areas including, but not limited to, blood pressure, diabetes, mental health, depression, and food insecurity.

Learn more about fitness assessments and wellness screening services from NIRSA members California State University San Bernardino and University of Alabama Birmingham.

Help us improve this page

Don’t see a concept you were hoping to learn more about here?

Tell Us About It

This guide was developed by the NIRSA Assembly.


Attribute. link

Contribute to these resources and help us keep the information current.

Send your suggestions to NIRSA Headquarters