K-State adopts international charter for health-promoting universities and colleges
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023
Kansas State University has formally adopted the Okanagan Charter, which calls upon higher education institutions to embed health into university culture and promote health collaboration and action. Pictured above, from left: Caleb Stout, K-State student body president; Sally Linton, first lady; Thomas Lane, vice president for academic success and student affairs and dean of students; Richard Linton, president; Kathleen Hatch, Morrison family associate vice president of student well-being; Charles Taber, provost and executive vice president; Kortnee VanDonge, Graduate Student Council president; Jessica Binckley, student body vice president; and Ed O'Malley, Kansas Health Foundation president and CEO. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — Kansas State University is advancing its focus on student, faculty and staff well-being, as well as the health and well-being of communities across Kansas, by formally adopting the Okanagan Charter. This international charter calls upon higher education institutions to strategically embed health into university culture and lead health promotion collaboration and action across all communities served — locally and globally.
K-State, the first university in Kansas to formally adopt the charter, is also a member of the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network, a group of more than 200 colleges and universities aspiring to transform the health and sustainability of communities by contributing to the well-being of people, places and the planet.
"Supporting the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff so that they can do incredible things for each other, our state, our nation and our world is what we're all about," said Richard Linton, Kansas State University president. "We are simply cementing this commitment by adopting the Okanagan Charter, which also allows us to scale what we do so well on our campuses and Extension offices across the entire state to help create healthy communities for all Kansans."
As its first action under the charter, the university is establishing the new K-State Committee for a Health-Promoting University to be chaired by First Lady Sally Linton. The committee will be charged with conducting an environmental scan to identify current health-promoting activities and institutional opportunities on K-State's campuses and across the state.
Co-chairs joining First Lady Linton include Tanya González, interim associate provost for institutional effectiveness; Shanna Legleiter, chief human resources officer; Tim Steffensmeier, assistant vice president and director of engagement and outreach; and Kathleen Hatch, Morrison Family associate vice president for student well-being. Hatch also currently serves on the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network Steering Committee and is credited with introducing the charter at the university and championing its adoption.
"We know that by bringing a dynamic group together, we can inspire, guide and mobilize incredible health-promoting efforts," said Hatch. "This is an opportunity to position health as our first choice."
The committee is also expected to promote system-level work that further educates the university community and integrates health into all areas of the university culture and environment. Key performance indicators will also be identified in alignment with the Next-Gen K-State strategic plan.
The Okanagan Charter was an outcome of the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges held on the Okanagan Campus of the University of British Columbia that year. Developed by 380 researchers, practitioners, administrators, students and more, it was later introduced in the United States, with the first U.S. university adopting the charter in 2020.