The Story of UBC Wellbeing

UBC Wellbeing is regenerative—it is not simply about addressing the negative, but about furthering the good—enabling people to leave UBC better than when they first arrived, and to carry this into the next phase of their lives.


 

People who are well are able to engage in deeper learning, are more productive and have a stronger sense of community and connection—all of which help create a happier, healthier campus community. 

However, stress and anxiety, sedentary behaviour, unhealthy food intake, and barriers to inclusion that affect academic performance, workplace enjoyment, and overall sense of wellbeing are a reality for many. By focusing on wellbeing in our teaching, learning, and workplace environments, UBC can help set our community members up for long-term success and improve their resilience, retention, and satisfaction.

The story of UBC Wellbeing is one that we are creating together. Through improved collaboration, UBC is working towards becoming a global leader in supporting wellbeing for our community. Cross-campus efforts, such as Thrive, Move UBC and the VOICE Study, as well as support from senior leadership, have elevated the profile and understanding of wellbeing across the university and created a more connected approach across academics and operations.


 

UBC Wellbeing Milestones

All across UBC, wellbeing work is in action—woven throughout strategic plans, in research across diverse disciplines, and embedded in a broad range of programs, services and initiatives.

Since UBC first opened Student Health Services in 1929, we have championed wellbeing on our campuses through both services and strategic initiatives.  While there is a substantial amount of work to be done to ensure that wellbeing truly becomes embedded and a deeply-held value for all, over the past two decades UBC has made great strides towards becoming a health-promoting university and will continue to explore ways to promote wellbeing.


 

1996
  •  UBC establishes a Health Promotions Programs unit focusing on return-to-work to help faculty and staff to return or remain at work in a supportive and safe manner.
2003
  • UBC expands the Health Promotions Program with a role specifically designed to foster wellbeing in the workplace through proactive health promotion awareness and education initiatives and actions.
2006 
  • UBC launches VOICE, a longitudinal research program about healthy community development on UBC’s Okanagan campus. 
2008
  • UBC HR launches the Focus on People Strategic Framework, focusing on creating a workplace that is dedicated to excellence, equity, wellbeing, and mutual respect, was introduced. As part of FOP, UBC established the Healthy Workplace Initiatives Fund (HWIF) supporting departments in creating grass roots health promotions initiatives as part of the FOP priority to “develop a sustainable, healthy workplace.”
  • UBC introduces a Respectful Environment Statement for Faculty, Staff, and Students. The Statement speaks to our freedoms and our responsibilities, and provides the guiding principles to support us in building an environment in which respect, civility, diversity, opportunity and inclusion are valued.

2009
  • UBC launches Thrive to promote positive mental health on our campuses. What began as a conversation between two colleagues about creating a campus environment that better understood the importance of mental health and wellbeing, has grown to an annual week-long series of events celebrated at numerous campuses across Canada. 
  • First Workplace Experiences Survey (WES) conducted to give voice to faculty and staff and understand their experiences in the workplace. The survey help shaped FOP priorities as well as people practices and actions within Faculties and administrative units.

2010
  • UBC establishes the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI), an ambitious initiative to integrate operational and academic sustainability.
  • UBC invests in three signature climate action projects and sets bold targets to reduce GHG emissions; 33 per cent by 2015, 67 per cent by 2020, and 100 per cent by 2050 (compared to 2007 levels). 
2013
  • “Wellbeing tune-ins” with campus stakeholders, studies and surveys such as the Undergraduate Experience Survey and Workplace Experiences Survey, showed overwhelming support to collaborate on shared goals around enhancing wellbeing.
2014
  • UBC Releases 20-year Sustainability Strategy: Following rigorous community engagement, this strategy takes a regenerative sustainability approach to embedding human and ecological wellbeing across teaching, learning and research; operations and infrastructure; and community.
  • UBC Senate adopts the framework for student mental health and wellbeing 
  • Third Workplace Experiences Survey (WES) conducted included the student workplace experience.

2015
2016 
  • UBC Wellbeing holds ‘Leadership Workshops’ on both campuses, bringing together faculty, staff and student senior leaders to discuss why wellbeing matters and how to support it. Interim President Martha Piper and senior leaders agree–the wellbeing of our people must be a priority at both the individual and institutional level. 
  • In October, UBC proudly became one of the first universities in the world to formally commit to wellbeing on our campuses by jointly signing the Okanagan Charter alongside five other Canadian post-secondary institutions. 
  • Professor Santa J. Ono announces $1 million in ongoing funding to support the wellbeing of our community.
  • UBC's Student Wellbeing Promotion Team is formed to provide leadership on health promotion strategies and programs for students on the UBC Vancouver campus. 

 

By working together, we can build on our significant strengths and achieve remarkable progress in championing wellbeing for all of our community members.  

 

Acknowledgment

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.  The UBC Okanagan campus is situated on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. 

UBC Wellbeing Status Report 

To find out more about how UBC supports wellbeing on our campuses, check out the 2016 UBC Wellbeing Status Report. 

 

We all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. By championing wellbeing, we can build stronger and more inclusive communities at UBC and beyond.