Grants available to support a healthy campus

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A brisk cross-campus walk among the redwoods, from Oakes to Merrill. Twenty minutes with a book under the cherry trees outside McHenry Library. A stop at the Market Cart at the base of campus for fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables.

What do all these things have in common? They, and activities like them, are essential elements of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

I very much value the work done by all of our faculty and staff, and the effort put forth by our students. We wouldn’t be the university we are without all of your incredible contributions. But living a fulfilling life requires “work” in many different areas.

I firmly believe we need daily practices and behaviors that address body, mind and spirit. That balance might involve a daily walk around campus or a noontime meditation session, a workshop on tackling stress or one on getting your personal finances in order. That’s why I’ve always been a big supporter of our campus wellness programs, which aim to help our students, staff, and faculty find the proper work-life balance.

Well, it’s my pleasure to let the campus community know about a wonderful opportunity to expand our wellness offerings. UC President Janet Napolitano a year ago announced the launch of the Healthy Campus Network, a systemwide initiative that seeks to make campuses the healthiest places possible to work, learn, and live. The network, among other things, supports the enhancement and expansion of current campus health-and-wellness efforts for students, staff and faculty. That’s why I’m writing to you today.

Our campus has $140,000 in grant funding available, with a maximum grant of $5,000, to support new or existing campus-based activities that boost campus wellness. The term “wellness,” of course, can be interpreted widely. There are so many facets to a healthy life. To make it easier, and to define the term, we’re seeking innovative ideas that increase student, staff and faculty health in these specific areas: emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial-occupational, physical, social, cultural and nutritional.

These grants will also allow us to build on, and draw attention to, some of the great programs we already have in place.

For more information about UC Santa Cruz’s Healthy Campus Network effort, please visit healthycampus.ucsc.edu. You can also email organizers at hcn@ucsc.edu with questions about the grant process.