ASU helps Sun Devils live better through participation in Healthier Campus initiative

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Arizona State University is committed to helping students develop and maintain healthy habits during their college years that can last a lifetime. This spring, ASU was one of the first universities in the nation to join and complete its commitment to the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Healthier Campus Initiative.

ASU was one of 21 schools across the nation to complete 23 guidelines focused on nutrition, physical activity and wellness programming, expanding ASU’s already extensive array of services and resources available to make healthy choices easier for students.

Healthy lifestyle guidelines were developed by Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading nutrition, physical activity and campus wellness experts. Along with 20 other colleges and universities, ASU made a multiyear commitment to the Healthier Campus Inititative to implement 23 of 41 specifications to enhance its campus environments to encourage students to increase their physical activity, develop healthier eating habits, stay hydrated and maintain their overall wellness.

A few of the ways ASU achieved this include providing adequate bike parking and offering a bike-sharing program, which encourages increased physical activity through greater use of bicycles for transportation. The university also keeps the Sun Devil Fitness Complex open for 16 or more hours per day on all four campuses to make physical activity more accessible for students.

ASU worked closely with its dining and retail food partner, Aramark, to meet guidelines related to food and beverages. The collaboration included making changes to recipes, menus, nutrition information and presentation of foods, as well as collecting the information needed to verify that ASU had met the guidelines.

Additionally, drinking fountains and bottle-filling stations are available in all buildings to encourage Sun Devils to choose water over soda or other sweetened beverages.

Amy Morale, a graduate student studying social work with a concentration in policy administration and community practice, connects students to these health and wellness resources as a Live Well Supervisor at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Morale believes these resources are a key part of students' experiences at ASU and that the accessibility offered through the Healthy Campus Initiative will support their ability to succeed and thrive.

“Students are more engaged and more productive when they are able to take care of their needs such as mental and emotional health, healthy eating and staying active,” Morale said. “ASU’s participation in the Healthier Campus Initiative has provided the appropriate resources for students to be successful.” 

ASU began its work on the initiative in 2015 and earlier this year was officially recognized for successfully achieving the HCI requirements. 

“We are proud to be a part of the first cohort for the PHA College Initiative that completed our commitment,” said Karen Moses, director for Wellness and Health Promotion at ASU Health Services.

Moses said student and employee wellness partners were consulted when responding to the invitation for ASU to join the group of participating colleges and universities.

“We saw this as an opportunity to examine and enhance what we do to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our students and staff,” Moses said.