AU recognized at White House for a healthy campus

Noah Cloonan

On Jan. 13, Ashland University was recognized at the White House for their participation and successful completion of the White House Healthy Campus Challenge.

The challenge was initiated by the Obama administration in the fall of 2016 with a goal of informing college campuses about the health insurance marketplace in hopes that it would create a healthier campus.

Dr. Carlos Campo heard about this initiative and immediately informed Dr. Deborah Sullivan, the Director of Campus Wellness, about his hope to participate in the challenge.

Campo viewed this challenge as an excellent way to promote pillar four of his Ashland Rising 2020 plan which is to provide a healthy, safe, and supportive campus environment.

AU was charged with providing enrollment activities around campus and had Julie Leon, a Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator, come to campus to help lead and guide students to which plan would be most suited for them.

Along with the in-person meetings, the challenge asked for AU to use other means to make students aware of the health insurance options that existed and to promote the meetings with Leon.

AU used social media, AUMyPortal, WRDL, The Collegian, and personal emails to promote these events.

AU successfully completed all of the requirements of the White House Healthy Campus Challange and was selected in a lottery of over 350 other schools to attend the Healthy Campus Challenge day in Washington D.C.

“I followed up on all of the conference calls that were held and I did send them pictures of our information tables and I don’t know if that gave us an edge but we followed all of the guidelines,” Dr. Sullivan said about how the schools were selected.

Out of all the schools that completed the challenge successfully, AU was one of 58 schools that was selected to participate in the festivities.

Dr. Campo turned down the offer to personally attend the recognition and instead asked Dr. Sullivan if she would represent the university along with two other students.

Dr. Sullivan and AU students, Jackie Genetin and Erin Adams, traveled to Washington D.C. to accept the reward.

The ceremony consisted of two different panels, the first comprised of leaders on ‘healthy campuses’ from around the country, and the second was comprised of leaders from national organizations working to impact local efforts and promote a healthier community.

In between the panels was an award ceremony where AU was presented with their award for successfully completing the Healthy Campus Initiative.

From the Ceremony the attendees were ushered into the main area of the White House to have their picture taken with Michelle Obama.

Dr. Sullivan was thrilled with the success of the challenge and although there will most likely not be a challenge that replicates this one anytime soon she still recognizes that the university will continue to promote a healthy campus.

“We are doing numerous other initiatives, incentives and programming for faculty staff and students,” Dr. Sullivan said.

One of these initiatives is the  Healthy Campus 2020 plan that is still being finalized by the university and will be released soon.

AU will be hosting Dr. Robert Drake from Ohio Health on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Troop Center to talk to students about creating a healthy campus.

Finally the University will be working with both students and faculty to try and get them involved in organizations such as the Wellness Advisory Committee to promote healthy lifestyles on campus.