Western named a leading healthy campus in the U.S.

University wins the Active Minds Healthy Campus Award

Contacts: Paul Cocke, director, WWU Office of Communications & Marketing; (360) 650-3350 or Paul.Cocke@wwu.edu, and Dianna Dauber, Active Minds, 202-332-9595  x109; dianna@activeminds.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Western Washington University was announced as a winner of the 2015 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award, which recognizes the University as one of the healthiest campuses in the nation. The Active Minds Healthy Campus Award celebrates U.S. colleges and universities that are prioritizing health and demonstrating innovation and excellence in promoting student well-being.

“Western is very proud to receive this recognition, because we take student health and well-being to be one of our most important obligations to our students. Making sure that students not only have the resources they need, but a sense that the campus community really cares about them has been critical in developing a place where students feel they can excel in every way,” said Western President Bruce Shepard.

Western joins Cornell University, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Texas at Austin in receiving this prestigious award.

WWU was recognized for its cohesive, innovative public health approach to student health and wellness. Active Minds and a national panel of expert reviewers conducted a comprehensive, multi-stage application process for evaluation. Western was assessed across eight criteria, all key to creating a healthy campus community. Criteria included the engagement of students in the planning and implementation of prevention activities, efforts to create equal opportunities for health for all students, and using assessment data to drive and improve efforts.

“Western Washington University is leading some of the nation’s most innovative efforts to create a healthy college community,” said Sara Abelson, vice president of Student Health and Wellness at Active Minds. “Western’s efforts are a model for campuses nationwide and demonstrate what is possible when students, staff, faculty and administrators from across an entire university work together so that every student has the opportunity to thrive.”

“Western Washington University is an institution that actively prioritizes the physical and mental health of its campus community,” said Juan Carlos Perez, WWU Campus Recreational Services Student Representative.

Active Minds will be sharing best practices from WWU with higher education institutions nationwide to inspire locally-driven change across the country. Some of Western’s innovative efforts include:

  • Taking a holistic view of student health by housing Counseling, Health, Prevention and Wellness Services, and Campus Recreation Services all under one organizational sub-division.
  • The university-wide Best Self campaign, which helps everyone from students to groundskeepers, pursue well-being practices that enhance physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Western’s Residence Education Model provides students in University Residences with training, education and skill-building for achieving personal wellness, maintaining healthy relationships, and understanding their role in a healthy community.
  • Demonstrated dedication to “upstream” suicide prevention for higher risk populations through the BRAVE program.
  • Western students have unlimited access to the Health Center by messaging a provider online, speaking with a consulting nurse on the phone 24 hours a day, making a same day appointment, or simply walking in.

The Active Minds Healthy Campus Award is a new annual recognition, made possible through support from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation. For more information visit www.ActiveMinds.org/Award.

About Western Washington University: WWU emphasizes excellence in undergraduate education and graduate programs. The third-largest university in the state, WWU offers degrees in more than 160 programs through its seven colleges. About 15,000 students attend Western, which U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked as the top public master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest.  Western serves the local community, state and region through partnerships, innovative research, mentoring and community service activities.


About Active Minds: Active Minds is the leading national nonprofit organization that engages students to change the conversation about mental health. The nonprofit is changing the culture on campuses and in the community by providing information, leadership opportunities and advocacy training to the next generation. Through a rapidly growing network of hundreds of student-led chapters at colleges, universities and high schools, Active Minds increases students’ awareness of mental health issues, provides resources regarding mental health and mental illness, and encourages students to seek help as soon as it is needed. Active Minds is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has chapters in nearly every state of the US. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Active_Minds. For more information visit www.ActiveMinds.org