The university was deemed a “Certified Healthy Campus” by the State Department of Health for “promoting health and wellness for faculty, staff and students.”
Every August, the State Department of Health issues a voluntary health-assessment survey for universities to fill out, consisting of 10 categories with about eight questions in each. If a campus scores above 30 percent in each category, then that campus receives the title of “Certified Healthy Campus.”
Becoming Certified Healthy has benefits besides recognition as a health and wellness champion. It also means university officials will be invited to an awards luncheon to be recognized. There’s also potential grant opportunities, according to certifiedhealthyok.com.
The survey scores are divided into three levels: basic, merit and excellent. OCU earned a basic score.
To reach merit, the survey score must be 45 percent or above in each category, and to reach excellent requires 60 percent or above.
Valerie Robinson, benefits and wellness specialist for human resources, completed the survey in December.
The main factors that led to this achievement were the university’s tobacco-free policies, on-campus gym, on-campus clinic, and open counseling services, she said.
“We’ve made strides toward making this a healthier campus,” Robinson said.
OCU in the past kept a relatively steady score, reaching at least the level of basic most years and even receiving a score of excellent at one point.
In 2013 and 2015 the campus didn’t place at all on the survey, failing to achieve status as a healthy campus. Some students said that, on such a theater-based campus, mental health often falls by the wayside because of the difficult nature of performance.
“Performance-based anything doesn’t breed mental health in any way, shape or form. As much as we love it, it just doesn’t,” said Callie Dewees, acting sophomore. “I don’t think we’re the most unhealthy campus, mentally or physically, but I don’t know if I would necessarily say that I feel like this entire campus promotes good health.”
Some students said a potential source for health issues are the policies in Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Entertainment, specifically those regarding weigh-ins.
Megan Carter, dance management senior, said the weigh-in policies are not only disruptive to student health, but also misrepresentative of the professional dance field.
“Dancers who are all in B-level classes, who have incredible technique and are incredible storytellers and performers get told ‘No, you can’t perform because we think you need to lose five pounds,’” Carter said. “I’ve been in New York, I’ve seen so many Broadway shows, and when you look on stage, there’s all different body types. They don’t want everyone to be stick-skinny.”
For the future, the university will pursue the merit level, Robinson said. This will be especially challenging for 2017, as the survey will undergo its regular biannual changes to make the questions more difficult and up-to-date.
“We know that the rest of the campus is aware of this, and we’ll be working toward scoring higher on the survey this year,” she said.