Institutions of Higher Education in the US and its territories are invited to formally adopt the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Campuses.

In the US the adoption process is facilitated by the US Health Promoting Campuses Network as a way for campus leaders to strengthen and formalize their commitment to activating the Okanagan Charter’s Vision, Calls to Action, and Principles. Our shared adoption process demonstrates our commitment to the aspirations outlined in the Okanagan Charter.

We recognize that the specific activation and commitments around the Okanagan Charter will differ according to unique campus contexts.

The Okanagan Charter was a key outcome of the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges. The Okanagan Charter provides a framework with a vision, two calls to action with key action areas, and overall principles that together guide the development of Health Promoting Campuses across the globe.

The Okanagan Charter was developed in collaboration with researchers, practitioners, administrators, students, and policy makers from 45 countries representing both educational institutions and health organizations. These included the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

At the conference, 380 higher education leaders and delegates, signed a pledge to bring the Okanagan Charter “back to their settings to inspire and catalyze further action towards the creation of health promoting universities and colleges.”

The Okanagan Charter has inspired universities around the world to take action in embedding well-being into their everyday operations, business practices and academic mandates.

Universities, colleges, and other higher education institutions are in a unique position to inform health and well-being knowledge, education, and research. Adopting the Okanagan Charter has many benefits:

Demonstrate leadership: Formal adoption of the Okanagan Charter by senior leadership reaffirms your institutions commitment to furthering health, well-being, and sustainability and sends a powerful signal to the broader community.

Engage your community: Use the Okanagan Charter as a way to generate dialogue and research to inform health and well-being initiatives on campus and in the broader community and nation.

Support the well-being of your community: Guide and inspire action to help your faculty, staff and students achieve their full potential in teaching, learning, research, and engagement. Evidence shows that people who are well are more productive, better able to engage in deeper learning, have a greater sense of belonging, and a stronger sense of community.

Join the movement: Become an active participant in the US Health Promoting Campuses Network, a network of institutions actively promoting health and well-being in higher education across the United States and internationally.

The purpose of this checklist is to provide enough guidance and structure for institutions to adopt the Charter while protecting the global significance of that adoption. It is not intended to be so rigorous as to be a barrier, but to hold enough structure and consistency to the spirit of the Charter for the process to hold meaning. As a Network, we want to ensure that the adoption of the Charter retains value for those institutions now calling themselves a Health Promoting University (or College).
Adoption not “signing”This language is very intentional. This is a process of the institution adopting the commitments of the Charter, as well as additional customized institutional commitments to the work, and not simply signing a document.
Level of approachThe commitments of the Charter are to a Systems and Settings approach, including a commitment to impacting people, place, and planet. This necessitates a whole-campus approach impacting built and natural environment, policies, culture, sustainability, equity, etc. Health and wellness programs and services are critical, but they alone will not meet the commitments of the Charter.
Presidential supportThe President/Chancelor’s signature on the Statement of Adoption (with attached institutional commitments) are evidence that the President/Chancelor and Cabinet understands and supports the commitment to the necessary Systems and Settings work and engaging a whole-campus approach.
Campus-Wide EngagementEvidence of Cabinet-level for support of a committee/task force with institution-wide representation that engages a co-created approach to whole-campus wellbeing (including student affairs, academics, human resources, facilities, etc.).
Potential Adopters Cohort ParticipationInstitutional liaisons and potentially other participants (including possibly communications staff) should participate in the USHPCN Potential Adopters Cohort for a minimum of 90 days prior to adoption, in order to ensure knowledge, support, and mentoring for a successful process.
Statement of AdoptionOfficial USHPCN one-page document signed by the PresidentLink
Institutional CommitmentsAttachments to the Statement of Adoption and included as part of what the President/Chancelor is committing to in the adoption. Can be very customized and at whatever stage of development available at that time (from initial draft to thoroughly developed).
Press ReleaseUtilizing examples from USHPCN and some boilerplate “must-haves” language, making sure that the language appropriately represents adoption, systems & settings, etc. The draft press release should be sent to the USHPCN Chair for review and feedback by the Steering Group prior to release. Please allow a minimum of 72 hours lead time.
ResourcesDescribing the currently commited (and/or planned) resources to the work eg: backbone resources, committee structure and membership, etc.
EmbeddedDescribing the level to which this work, the commitments, and language is currently (and/or planned to be) embedded in the institutional strategic plan.
Institution CelebrationRecommended that the adoption process is featured as part of a campus-wide event celebrating and highlighting the institution-wide commitments to the work and engaging as many students, faculty, staff, and community members as possible.
Network CelebrationOnce the Institution submits their documents to the USHPCN Chair and releases their official press release, it will be amplified and celebrated by the USHPCN Marketing and Communications Manager including announcement on the listserve, social media posts, and identification on the USHPCN website.
Document SharingSubmitted and approved documents will be shared on USHPCN google drive including Statement of Adoption, Institutional Commitments, Press Release, Resources, etc.
Adopters Cohort ParticipationAfter adoption, the Institution will move into ongoing participation in the USHPCN Adopters Cohort for continued learning, sharing, and accountability to the commitments.

If you are an institution of Higher Education in the United States and its territories (university, college or community college) you are eligible.

There is no cost to join.

Interest in becoming a Health Promoting Campus and adopting the Okanagan Charter and being a college or university in the US or its territories.

Yes.  Memberships are granted to colleges and universities, not to individual members.  Each campus may select up to two liaisons to attend meetings and have access to resources.

The ability to connect with other campuses who have adopted the Okanagan Charter.

If your campus is interested in joining the USHPCN, or if you have questions or want more information about the network, please contact us.