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Health and Well‑being in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success

Last Updated: May 2020

We believe it is time to transcend reactive, siloed, programmatic approaches to health and establish foundational, proactive, well-being initiatives for the campus community.

While students must receive appropriate and reactive care when needed, there are large-scale benefits to proactive, upstream approaches that will allow increasing numbers of students to flourish and thrive. By focusing on the whole — the whole person, the whole educational experience, the whole institution, the whole community — well-being becomes a multifaceted goal and a shared responsibility for the entire campus…

Read the Full Statement

The Inter-association Well-being Definition is one outcome of the “Health and Well‑being in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success.” In our pursuit to co-create cultures of integrated well-being on campuses worldwide, we want to ensure we are building from a shared understanding and foundation. Since there was not an existing definition that defined well-being, especially as it applies to higher education, the members of our organizations asked that one be created.

This definition, and its supplementary material, is meant to be foundational; we hope a shared understanding can be a stepping stone to systemic change. This document is, of course, not exhaustive.

Coming soon: Two further pieces of supplementary material are currently being developed, based on member feedback. Those are a table that further exemplifies community wellbeing and a visual element that provides a broad, high-level look at the interplay between wellbeing, wellness, and health. Those items will be added to this page as they become available.

Thank you to the many members who lent their expertise to the collaborative and review of this definition, including:

  • Attendees of the first and second research summits hosted by NIRSA, NASPA, and ACHA
  • The working group who continued this conversation after the second research summit and led the drafting and review process:
    • Gina Abrams, Director of Research and Program Evaluation, International Institute for Restorative Practices
    • Stacy Andes, Director of Well-being Assessment/ Director of Well-being, Villanova University
    • Nicole Brocato, Director of the Wellbeing Assessment Study, Wake Forest University
    • Stacy Connell, SLC Wellbeing, LLC
  • All the  boards, wellbeing-focused work groups and task forces, and others from the signatory associations who contributed to the feedback and review process
  • All who attended feedback sessions at conferences and events, providing insight, questions, and ideas
Read the Full Definition
AASHE: The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Eduation
ACCA: American College Counseling Association
ACHA: American College Health Association
ACPA—College Student Educators International
ACUHO-I Association of College and University Housing Officers - International
ACUI: Advancing Campus Community
AUCCCD: Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors
AUCCCO: Association for University and College Counseling Center Outreach
College and University Professional Association for Human Resources
NACAS: National Association of College Auxiliary Services
BHAC: National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities
NACA: National Association for Campus Activities
NASPA | Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education
NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation
NODA

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