We Are a Health Promoting University
Health and Wellbeing for Person, Place, and Planet
As a Health Promoting University, UMass Amherst is committed to creating, cultivating, and sustaining healthy people, places, and planet. Our holistic vision of health integrates physical, mental, spiritual, and social wellbeing.
Our approach centers on principles of human rights, social and environmental justice, solidarity, equity, and peace.
Our view of the future includes a growth strategy grounded in sustainable, low-carbon development and informed by respect for humanity and nature. We consider new indicators of success beyond metrics typical of a traditional university.
What is Health Promotion?
According to the World Health Organization, health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over and improve their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior toward a wide range of social and environmental interventions.
As a core function of public health, health promotion supports institutions, communities, and individuals in coping with and addressing health challenges. This is accomplished by building healthy policies, creating supportive environments, and strengthening community action and personal skills.
Taking a systems-level approach that considers the intersection of people (students, faculty, and staff), place (the campus community), and planet (the built environment and our natural resources), UMass Amherst joined international partners in signing the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and College. The Okanagan Charter calls for colleges and universities to embed health into all aspects of campus culture. UMass is one of just 14 universities in the United States that has adopted the charter.
Pillars of Wellbeing
At UMass Amherst, our multidisciplinary, systems-level health promotion strategy and practice contribute to a culture of wellbeing. We bring together programs, services, people, and units in an intentional way to demonstrate our commitment to health and wellness as a core institutional value.
UMass Amherst values our planet and natural resources and highly prioritizes sustainability efforts. The Chancellor's Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) facilitates the integration of sustainability initiatives across campus and across categories, like academics and research, buildings and infrastructure, campus life and student activities, climate change and energy, food system and permaculture, and waste and recycling. We believe that wellbeing is a concept that includes the health of places and the planet.
For any community to thrive, all members of that community must feel valued and supported. Justice, equity, and health are inextricably linked, and the intention of this pillar is to identify and draw these links in our community more explicitly. At UMass Amherst, our long-standing commitment to social programs and social justice informs our aim for inclusive excellence in our classrooms, research labs, residence halls, workspaces, and beyond.
The intersectional needs of people, place, and planet are core concerns of a Health Promoting Campus. While acknowledging the land that UMass Amherst is built upon and our continued connection to the Nations who were the original inhabitants and caretakers of this land, we strive to design and build environments that promote health and safety and centralize the relationship between human wellness and the spaces we occupy. UMass strives to foster the creation of healthy environments equitably across the community, including housing, open space, parks, and transportation that increase health opportunities for all members of our community.