Sports Staff Writer
UNC Asheville is initiating a new program through Healthy Campus 2020 to improve the health of students, faculty and staff through food options and campus living.
Stemming from the American College Health Association, Healthy Campus 2020 is a framework schools can use for goals and objectives in working toward a healthier campus.
“As a new person coming into UNCA, I knew that it was not my job to decide what was most important for the campus. It was my job to facilitate a process where other people who were members of this community could decide what they wanted out of this,” said Jordan Perry, UNCA’s Healthy Campus liaison.
Perry said she works to encourage a healthy atmosphere at UNCA since arriving in the fall, focusing on four primary goals.
“We came up with them from different focus groups and meeting with 70 stakeholders, one-on-one on campus. I met with four student groups. I met with a whole bunch of classes and basically just facilitated conversations about what is most important to folks, like what is missing and what is needed,” Perry said.
Through these meetings, Perry said students, faculty and staff chose four important focal points to include in the initiative: student mental health, physical activity and fitness for students, faculty and staff, a balance between work, leisure and nutrition and food justice on campus.
“These four topics really rose to the top and there was not even a close call on which topics to choose,” Perry said. “It was these four without a doubt.”
Sophomore health and wellness student Hunter Newman is one of 47 individuals working with the Healthy Campus Coalition. He co-manages a subgroup initiative within the program for food equity issues on campus called Food Equity Initiative. The group works with food accessibility for the entire campus community. Newman said the program will host pop-up pantries to engage student, faculty and staff in food equity issues.
“We are going to end up doing these things called ‘pop-up pantries’ where we are going to talk about how and where we are getting our food and were going to have different locations on campus promoting all of this,” Newman said.
The food Newman and his fellow volunteers at Healthy Campus 2020 get for the campus community comes from the local area.
“This is all organized to help prioritize health on UNC Asheville’s campus. So we are trying to make healthy options more accessible, find better alternative ways to help people achieve their health goals and build an awareness around health issues that everybody is facing,” Newman said. “We are not just focusing on students here, we are getting data from professors and faculty. So we look at the entire campus as a whole.”
Junior mechatronics engineering student Miranda Rapoza is also deeply involved with different projects within Healthy Campus 2020.
“I am a Healthy Campus 2020 intern and I was hired to help with the fitness action and physical activity group campus coalition. We basically have four sub-committees that meet about weekly to pursue certain initiatives and goals that we have to find for ourselves,” Rapoza said.
Rapoza works on several projects with other individuals for Healthy Campus 2020.
“On the fitness action committee I help with all of the in-betweens with the meetings to make sure things actually happen here on campus and continue to push as an organization. For example, we are going to be installing a new treadmill desk at the library soon and we are working on starting a fund for staff and faculty on campus to apply for standing desks in their offices,” Rapoza said.
Rapoza said she enjoys focusing more of her energy toward the fitness side of the programs.
“We are also going to be working gym orientation videos for all of the equipment there. We are going to put them on the website so that everyone can have access to them and so that everyone can know how every machine works there,” Rapoza said.