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Supporting a Vision; The Okanagan Charter

The Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges

By adopting the charter, Memorial supports a vision to transform the health and sustainability of our current and future societies, strengthen communities and contribute to the well-being of people, places and the planet.

From left are Dr. TA Loeffler, Dr. Peter Cornish and Dr. Gary Kachanoski with the signed Okanagan Charter.

(Photo by Chris Hammond).

President Gary Kachanoski; Dr. Peter Cornish, director, Student Wellness and Counselling Centre; and Dr. T.A. Loeffler, professor and Teaching and Learning Chair, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, signed the charter at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus on Oct. 31 to start off Memorial's first Thrive Week event.

“The Okanagan Charter will encourage us to continue innovating, because it will serve as an accountability measure, encouraging us to track, celebrate and communicate our progress as health promoting institutions.”

-Dr. Cornish


Thrive Week 2016

thrive week oct31st to nov4th

MONDAY Oct 31st- Kick off Launch 2pm UC food court. Join us as the President signs the Okanagan Charter, a commitment to a health promoting campus!
TUESDAY Nov 1st- Thrive Photo challenge! Take a photo of what you do for wellness, send it to @MUNStudentLife #munthrive. Prizes!
WEDNESDAY Nov 2nd- Look on SnapChat for our MUN geofilter and help spread the word about our New Student Support System!
THURSDAY Nov 3rd- UC 3rd floor OASIS: Puppies, Popcorn, Plants; A place to relax and chat!
FRIDAY Nov 4th– Yoga at 12 in the Landing!
EVERYDAY at 12 noon– Meditation in UC 2001.


As part of Memorial’s adoption of the charter, Dr. Cornish announced several mental health and wellness initiatives planned for Memorial’s St. John’s campus, including a new Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre, an online peer support program, a 30-day mindfulness challenge and a new space for the university community to gather, sit and share openly for well-being.


Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre

In winter 2017 renovation will begin for a new Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre. The centre will bring wellness researchers, educators and service providers from wide-ranging disciplines together in an incubator space designed specifically for developing and evaluating innovative health and wellness programing.

The first phase of the renovation will allow family physicians to join the existing counselling and wellness space on the fifth floor of the University Centre. The space on the fifth floor, which is currently empty, will become part of the new Interprofessional Student Wellness and Counselling Centre. Once the space is renovated, the health clinic element of the new centre will be in place in May 2017.


Online Student Support System

7 Cups is an online emotional support resource that will allow Memorial University students to connect with peer listeners trained in active listening. The program offers an opportunity to connect with a supportive person and engage in text-based one-on-one conversations.

This new program will help members of the Memorial University community support, encourage and empower one another and demonstrates the important benefits of social support. This program is not a mental health crisis resource and listeners do not provide therapy.

Memorial’s 7 Cups program will be launched as a healthy campus initiative in winter 2017. To become involved or for more information call Student Wellness at 864-2659!


30-Day Mindfulness Challenge

A university-wide Mindfulness Challenge will be launched in winter 2017. Research indicates that mindfulness can be an effective tool for managing stress, reducing anxiety and improving mental health and can aid performance and focus.

Challenge participants will have access to the MindWell program, which aims to make mindfulness fit into busy schedules with practice sessions that are brief (as short as two minutes) and accessible anywhere.


Yellow bench

The Friendship Bench will serve as a permanent, physical, year-round reminder to students to take a moment out of their day to sit, breathe and talk (or think) about their mental health and that of their friends. It’s intended to inspire peer-to-peer conversations about mental health in order to reduce the stigma and encourage more students to seek help.

The yellow bench will be partially funded by Memorial’s winnings from the March 2016 MoodCheck Challenge.


Written by Lauren Barron, communications co-ordinator with the Office of the Deputy Provost (Students) and Associate Vice-President (Academic) Undergraduate Studies.