Universities offer enormous potential for enhancing the wellbeing of students, staff and the wider community.
With our expertise in health sciences, it makes sense that QMU is taking a holistic approach to health – aspiring to create a learning environment and organisational culture that enhances the wellbeing and sustainability of its community.
Karen Hicks, Programme Leader for the new BSc (Hons)
Public Health at QMU, gives an insight into our drive to create a ‘Healthy University’.
Does the design of QMU's campus lend itself to good health?
It goes beyond the building design – it's equally about where the University is situated and the facilities around it. On my first visit to QMU, I arrived on public transport. Buses and trains come directly onto or next to the campus and National Cycling Route
1 runs through the campus. An almost full rack of pushbikes was a clear indication that sustainable travel was the norm and a trip around the campus perimeter unveiled a beautiful leafy landscape with swans, wildlife, water features, an allotment, and even an outdoor gym.
An attractive environment can have a positive impact on how we feel and perform, so I often walk in our beautiful grounds when I need to recharge – it's invigorating!
How about the indoor campus spaces?
The main academic building’s atrium is bright, open and airy, so people don't feel contained. The space feels connected, and facilities are easily accessible. At the main entrance, there’s a flag emphasising QMU's commitment to social justice – it’s a strong public health message and clearly an institutional priority.
Is there a sector wide movement to promote health and wellbeing?
I'm the QMU representative for the National Healthy Universities
Network, which is informed by an international framework for universities which are active in health promotion. I also facilitate a Scottish Healthy Universities group. We share best practices about health promotion within universities. We look at the campus as whole and work out how to create an environment which encourages health and wellbeing.
Do we have a University-wide approach to health?
Health-promoting universities are all about a holistic, whole university approach – every aspect of the environment, part of the curriculum, and every policy has a health lens on it. QMU is committed to a healthy university and there’s lots of great work going on, including working with the Students' Union (QMUSU) to review the Student Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
Why is this work important to QMU?
With an international reputation in health sciences we have a moral and ethical obligation to walk the talk when it comes to promoting good health and wellbeing on campus, not just when we are working in the community or on placement.
By committing to the Healthy University concept we will better support students and staff to reach their potential and become a force for good.