Shelley Charles, Elder and Advisor on Aboriginal Relations at Humber College, provides land acknowledgement and
opening remarks at Okanagan Charter Signing Event, October 2, 2018. Also in attendance was Jen McMillen (Former Dean of Students),
Chris Whitaker (President and CEO), Monica Kholsa (Ignite, President), and members of the Humber Community.
February 14, 2019
Health and well-being are critical components for success—whether you’re a student, staff member, faculty or anyone else contributing to the Humber community. The goal of creating a healthy and inclusive environment is highlighted in Humber’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. But we’re also setting our sights higher with the aim of becoming the healthiest postsecondary campus in the country.
As a sign of this commitment, Humber recently signed the Okanagan Charter. This agreement calls upon postsecondary schools to prioritize health and wellness in all aspects of campus culture and to become leaders in health promotion and action—locally and globally. We’re proudly the first public college in Canada to adopt the charter and we’re very enthusiastic for what this means for the Humber community.
The Okanagan Charter emerged from the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges, hosted by the University of British Columbia at its Okanagan valley campus. Participants from 45 countries took part, representing both educational and health institutions and including organizations like the World Health Organization and UNESCO.
Postsecondary institutions are in a unique position to be leaders in health and well-being promotion. The conference and charter helped highlight the responsibilities and opportunities for institutions and develop a framework for mobilizing and taking action. It embodies two call to actions for higher education institutes:
As a charter signatory, we’ve prioritized three commitments to engage Humber students, faculty and staff. First is the obligation to make health and sustainability part of our everyday decision-making, focusing on the success and well-being of our community and environment. We’re also working to fully recognize diversity as one of our core strengths and to cultivate a learning and working environment that is rich and diverse. Finally, we’re committed to respecting the primary importance of Indigenous cultural foundations and the principles of mutual respect, inclusion and community engagement.
“Humber’s participation in the Okanagan Charter signals our commitment to creating a culture of compassion, equity, wellbeing and social justice—and above all the success of the institution and our students,” says Humber’s project lead Leah Barclay, Manager, Special Projects & Testing Services.
Humber’s healthiest campus initiative is still in its early days but much work is already underway. Over the coming months we’ll be consulting with the community, developing our own wellness framework and launching a committee to plan our efforts for the coming years.
The Okanagan Charter has provided a proactive and holistic path for us to take. It’s one that ensures our policies, practice and academic mandates support well-being as the bottom line across facets of the Humber community.