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Enabling healthier universities - Highlights from Year one of DCU Healthy

Enabling healthier universities - Highlights from Year one of DCU Healthy

In December 2018 Dublin City University launched DCU Healthy, the university's commitment to a healthier community, working closely with the HSE & Healthy Ireland.  

The health and wellbeing charter for students and staff is part of plans to achieve the designation of a “Health Promoting University” by 2022.

In the absence of a national framework, DCU Healthy developed its own health promotion charter and framework including a process, structure and model for implementation, to ensure that best practice was followed. Both documents are based on the World Health Organisation's Health Promoting Schools Model, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and the Okanagan Charter for Health Promoting Universities. 

DCU Healthy is a collective effort that fosters collaboration across the University. This means it’s not just what DCU Healthy is doing but everyone, across the different units and faculties, do to enable health and wellbeing.

Among the highlights of the initiative are:

DCU Healthy Cookery School

In semester two, DCU Healthy and Campus Res ran a six-week cookery school in conjunction with the HSE & Healthy Ireland. A total of twelve students fully completed the DCU Healthy course and many more dropping in to the weekly Campus Res sessions. Students learned about nutrition, healthy recipes and budget tips. 

World Health Day - Competition

To celebrate World Health Day, the Healthy Meetings; Healthy Lectures competition was held on May 10th. The idea was to encourage staff and students to build health into the every day using the Healthy Meeting Guidelines from Healthy Ireland or other innovative ways.

World Health Day - Healthy Libraries

Along with the competition, the ReCharge Campaign at both O’Reilly and Cregan libraries. The ReCharge Campaign, developed by the Union of Students Ireland, is a student mental health campaign focusing on sleep hygiene, alcohol consumption and exam stress. 

On the day, students were asked to check in on how they were feeling and some ways they could support their mental health. Free tea, fruit and information were also available. 

Smart Consent

This year’s SMART Consent workshops were a huge success. Thirty staff and students were trained in September to become SMART Consent facilitators by Dr Pádraig MacNeel and Dr Siobhán O’Higgins of NUI Galway. The DCU workshops educated over 563 first years in consent over four days across 2 campuses. This number comes to over 15% of first year students attending, with 10% being proven to have a ripple effect. The workshops deal with consenting and non-consenting sexual behaviour in a fun, thought provoking and engaging way. 

Some of the many evidence based projects across the University that collectively work towards a health promoting university

The REACT Project (Alcohol)

Expansion of the student counselling service to 24/7 support (SS&D)

Student Mindfulness Series (SS&D)

Campus Res Alcohol-Free accommodation

SMART consent workshops

Smoke-Free Campus

Staff Wellbeing talks 

Staff EAP Service (HR)

Student Policy on Drug Misuse

Smarter Travel Campus

Trialogue through our Mental Health & Wellbeing Committee.

1st August, 2019