Well-Being as a Measure of Student Success
Well-being was the focus of a session at a recent meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The session discussed the role of student well-being in higher education, what colleges can do to support well-being and why it is important. "When students go through college, it isn’t enough for them to excel academically; they should flourish", reports Insider Higher Ed. The results of a climate survey conducted at Iowa State University revealed that different groups of students report different levels of mental health and that institutions should break down data based on specific populations in order to target initiatives accordingly.
State University New York Sets Employee Minimum Wage
Governor Cuomo recently announced a $15 per hour minimum wage for all SUNY employees, more than 28,000. As part of the governor's 2016 agenda, he hopes to restore economic justice by making New York the first state to enact a $15 minimum wage for all workers.
Investing in Students' Mental Health Pays Off
A recent article from the American Association of Community Colleges points to a new study from the RAND Corporation that indicates there is a corollary between mental health and academic achievement. Researchers found that the proportion of California college students at the state's public universities and community colleges increased by more than 10 percent between 2013 and spring 2015. At just community colleges, the increase was 15 percent over the same period. During that time, county governments directed a combined average of $8.7 million a year to campuses for outreach campaigns to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and to train faculty and staff to recognize students who may need help.
U Louisville Extends Living Wage Policy to Contract Workers
Following its 2013 move guaranteeing all employees a living wage, the university recently approved a requirement that companies entering contracts with the university must pay their full-time staff a minimum wage of at least $10.10 per hour. Companies currently doing business with the university will be required to meet the new guidelines when their agreements are renewed.
Harvard U Pledges Chemical Flame-Retardant Free Campus
On Nov. 4, the university became the first in the nation to sign a pledge stating its preference for purchasing furniture that is manufactured without the use of toxic chemical flame retardants. Based on scientific research out of Harvard, it joins Kaiser Permanente, Facebook and Autodesk in pledging to create healthier environments on campus.
Drexler U Reveals New Tools to Prevent Suicide
Attempting to support students' mental health, the university unveiled MindKare, a kiosk that allows students to quickly and anonymously get feedback about whether they have a problem and resources that can help. Many students have admitted a fear of being seen as crazy or stupid, and this new, confidential tool gives them the safety and knowledge to investigate on their own.
AASHE Releases 2015 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey Report
The 2015 Higher Education Sustainability Staffing Survey examines the nature of sustainability positions at colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada, providing insights into salaries, funding, supervision, job satisfaction, challenges and more. This report aims to increase our understanding of the continuously growing career field of sustainability in higher education.
U Virginia and USGBC Partner to Support Public Health
Supported by a $1.2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the new research initiative aims to result in new tools that create and demonstrate the value of public health through the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings and that bring a public health lens to assessments of commercial real estate portfolios.
San Francisco State U to Open Wellness Center
The 118,700-square-foot complex, scheduled for completion in 2017, will feature an indoor jogging track, fitness and weight areas, pools, a sauna, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, two multi-use courts, fitness studios and a large multi-use space. The university is pursuing LEED Platinum designation.
Inside Higher Ed 'Minimum Wage Hike'
The article discusses the recent trend among colleges and universities to increase minimum wages above what's required by states and the federal government due to concerns about equitable pay for all employee, changes in local ordinances, or pressure from workers' advocates.
Inside Higher Ed 'Sugar Out, Diet In'
A recently published article spotlights the University of California at San Francisco, where all programs are in the health professions, for becoming the first college to stop the sale of sugary beverages on campus but wouldn't prevent diet sodas from being sold. The move comes after work from university researchers identified negative health effects from a large intake of sugar-filled beverages.
NY Times: 'Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers'
Anxiety has now surpassed depression as the most common mental health diagnosis among college students, though depression is on the rise too. Treating anxiety has become an enormous challenge for campus mental health centers. Many institutions are designing a variety of workshops and therapy groups to address anxiety, depression and their triggers.
Duquesne U Increases Minimum Wage to $16 Per Hour
The university's new annual budget raises its minimum wage from $15 per hour and also includes an extra 0.5 percent increase to all employees making less than $34,000 annually and a $500 university contribution to employee dependent-care flexible spending accounts.
The Atlantic Discusses the Cost of an Adjunct Instructor
A recent article in The Atlantic spotlights the potential impacts of unpaid, non-tenured professors on students. The article states, "odds are that students will be taught by professors with less job security and lower pay than those tenured employees, which research shows results in diminished services for students."
Harvard U Offers a Guided Meditation Hotline
The university's new hotline is one of several ways the university supports its mindfulness meditation program, which is just one of many programs designed to promote employee health and well-being, one of the pillars of the school’s sustainability plan.
California State U Fullerton Hosts Campus Tour for Faculty
Recently the notorious commuter campus convened its faculty for a first-ever tour of the inner-workings of campus heating, cooling, ventilation and electricity systems, including a solar installation, in order to build a sense of community among the group.
U Virginia Begins Employee Sustainability Program
Seeking to reduce its environmental impact by building more efficient spaces, the university's sustainability committee has started its new, self-reporting Green Workplace Program, which uses a checklist of 60 actions that workplaces can implement to improve operations and reduce cost, and includes eight categories: energy, transportation, purchasing, zero waste, community, health, food and bonus credits.
U Florida Commences Workspace Sustainability Assistance
Called Green Recognition for Office and Workspaces (GROW), the new program is designed to help offices, labs and other facilities improve energy use, water use, transportation and waste to create more sustainable practices.
SUNY Cortland Hosts Weekly Wellness Events
The university recently began the Wellness Wednesday Series, for campus and the community, encouraging health and wellness through speakers and panels, informational fairs, self-help workshops and demonstrations.
Duke U to Raise Minimum Pay Rate for Regular Employees
An annual review of all pay ranges relative to local and national markets inspired the university to announce an increase in minimum wage pay rate to $12 per hour from the current rate of $10.91, which was last adjusted in 2012.
U Kentucky Launches Sustainability Radio Show
Green Talks, hosted by the the director of the Student Sustainability Council, interviews faculty, staff and students who have received funding for projects through the university's student green fee, which generates about $160,000 annually.
Manchester U Commits to Living Wage
(U.K.): The university student's union has confirmed that all of its workers will be paid at least the living wage of 7.85 pounds ($12.27) per hour.
Binghamton U Pledges to Improve Campus Nutrition
The university has recently teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to promote changes on campus that encourage healthy lifestyle practices for students. The university has agreed to 23 changes by joining the initiative including implementing a local food procurement program, offering at least five fruits and five vegetable choices in dining halls, and every platform serving meat must also offer a plant-based alternative.
U Utah Hires Wellness Officer
Robin Marcus, now the university's first chief wellness officer, is tasked with coming up with a broad vision for health and wellness on campus. Some of Marcus' first goals include linking, promoting and supporting various wellness initiatives already under way. Marcus has been an associate professor of Physical Therapy at the university for over 30 years.
U Winnipeg Offers Healthy Vending Options
The 23 new campus vending machines offer gluten-free and low sodium products, fair trade coffee, granola bars, fruit cups, trail mix, and hummus and crackers. The machines also display nutritional information, promotion of events, and are outfitted with LED lighting and motion sensors.
U Haifa Prohibits Food Containing Trans Fat
(Israel): The university, which hosts a school of public health, recently eliminated the sale of foods containing trans fats, a type of artificially created unsaturated fat that has been found to raise the risk of coronary heart disease. During the past year, the university has been checking nutritional values of food sold at campus restaurants and cafeterias and held seminars on health.
Laurentian U Hires Energy & Sustainability Manager
(Canada): The university recently hired a Manager of Energy and Sustainability. This brand new position will develop and execute sustainability goals with initiatives in energy consumption, waste diversion, outreach and education.
U Chichester to Pay Living Wage
(U.K.): The university recently agreed to pay the living wage to all staff based on its Chichester and Bognor campuses. This agreement includes firms that the university contracts for catering, cleaning and security.
Wells College Names Sustainability Director
The college recently welcomed Marian Brown as the director of the new Center for Sustainability and the Environment to address the increase in needs of an ecologically-conscious and sustainable approach to living.
Kentucky State U Raises Employee Wages
After learning that the lowest paid employees were earning $7.25 per hour, the university's interim president is recompensing those employees by forgoing $90,000 of his annual income in order to create a living wage.
MacEwan U Launches Green Certification Program
The university's new pilot program, Green Impact, allows teams to choose from hundreds of actions that cause the team to fall into one of three categories, bronze, silver or gold. Students trained as Green Impact project assistants helped teams implement their actions and served as auditors.
U Birmingham Announces Living Wage Adjustment
(U.K.): Following months of protests and strikes on campus, including student sit-ins, university officials recently announced the wage increase for the university's lowest paid workers for the next two academic years beginning in August 2014.
City U London to Pay Living Wage
(U.K.): Soon all third-party university contractors, including those in cleaning and catering, will receive the London living wage in an effort to change the lives of those most in need.
St. Mary's College Maryland Proposes Wage Policy
(U.S.): The newly proposed living wage scheme by campus campaigners aims to meet the schools' claims of social responsibility, respect and community maintenance, proposing a ratio of 10-to-1 for the highest to lowest paid employees.
U Louisville Sets Living Wage
The university just initiated a living wage program beginning November 1 that will increase the salary for regular staff employees to $10 per hour. Based on the cost of living in that community, the initiative is not a one-time raise, but rather a program that will be reviewed annually to make sure employees remain above the living wage threshold.
Yale U Partners on New Health Program
In commemoration of the city's 375th anniversary, the Yale School of Public Health, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Community Services have initiated the program aimed at reducing obesity by establishing working groups to strengthen nutrition and exercise in underserved communities.
American U Adopts Tobacco and Smoke Free Policy
(U.S.): After years of discussion and months of planning, the new policy aims to reduce the amount of cigarette butts and other tobacco product-related litter on campus, support the university’s LEED certification efforts, and create a cleaner environment throughout the campus. Effective August 15, the policy applies to students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Northeastern U Goes Smoke Free
(U.S.): Instigated by a 10-member committee of students, faculty and staff, the university has adopted a new campus-wide smoke-free policy which aligns with their its focus on solving global challenges in health.
Auburn U Adopts Smoke Free Policy
Based on a recommendation from the Campus Health and Wellness Committee, all members of campus including visitors may only smoke at the campus’ periphery.