News from Active Minds

6 Innovative Healthy Campus Initiatives that “Wow” Us

Examples from the healthiest campuses in the country.

Through the Healthy Campus Award, Active Minds celebrates leading healthy campuses that anticipate emerging issues related to the mental and physical needs of students and address them in innovative and creative ways through technology, unique programs or partnerships. Read on for programs that have really “wowed” us from Healthy Campus Award winning campuses:

Smartphone App to Serve Students’ Basic Needs

In 2015, CSULB implemented an innovative campus wide Student Emergency Intervention Program to address housing and food insecurity needs on campus. Students who are hungry or homeless, for example, receive meals, temporary emergency housing, emergency funds, and counseling, so they can continue their education. As part of the program, the campus developed a “Beach Bites” app, which alerts students to available food from on-campus catered events and meetings.

Mindfulness as Prevention

Stress, anxiety, and sleep disturbances impede academic success. To support students, Sacramento State adopted the Koru Mindfulness Curriculum, an evidence-based strategy to reduce stress and improve well-being. Additionally, Lawrence University received alumni support to create an innovative Mind Spa Center that, among other programs, offers biofeedback sessions that teach students how to understand and control the body and mind’s response to stress.

Health Promotion Within the Curriculum

Sacramento State integrates health education into freshmen courses. At UW-Madison, the school’s teaching and learning initiatives are integrating health and well-being into the classroom environment, including the redesign of high-enrollment, first year lecture courses. In addition, new courses such as “Greek Men for Violence Prevention” are engaging college men in questions about violence prevention and healthy relationships.

Campus-Wide Collaboration

At SAIC, students, staff, faculty, administrators, and parents all work together to focus on a comprehensive vision of health and wellness. The school uses creative approaches to appeal to the visual artists who make up its student population. SAIC’s “Whole Campus Flourishing Effort” recognizes that health goes well beyond treating illness. The college is tracking the connection between positive mental health and academic outcomes over several years.

Services for Diverse Students

CSULB offers an eight-week program for student survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence. The program includes yoga, meditation, and discussions to help students rebuild their connection to their bodies and develop a sense of self-trust and resilience. In addition, the university’s LIFE Project is a rare example of a comprehensive, personalized resource for campus students with autism. The university also allows emotional support animals to live in residence halls with students who need them, and a financial health course is available for students who are least likely to have had access to such information growing up.

The Call for Applications for the 2018 Healthy Campus Award is now open. To read other recommendations and apply for the award, visit

If you are a student and you would like to be more active in your school’s healthy campus efforts, check out Active Minds’ Transform Your Campus resources for successfully engaging in student-led campus change.

The Active Minds Healthy Campus Award is made possible through the generous support of The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation.