A campus-wide initiative challenges members of the University of Central Florida community to improve their lifestyles by adopting healthy behaviors throughout the next decade.
Healthy Knights 2020, created through Student Development and Enrollment Services, addresses students’ physical, emotional and social well-being through education, treatment and support. The program is modeled after the Surgeon General’s Healthy People campaign, a national effort to promote wellness and prevent disease.
“This is a collaborative effort among departments from across the university to help students establish patterns of healthy behaviors that will serve them well as they move on to become productive members of society,” said Bob Wirag, director of UCF Health Services.
Healthy Knights aims to increase participation in programs that promote healthy living with the idea in mind that proper nutrition, active lifestyles and effective stress management skills lead to academic productivity and success.
The program’s outreach began last year with Healthy Knights Week and the creation of the Healthy Knights Resource Guide, which was distributed to incoming students at orientation.
It allows students to address concerns such as the flu, depression, stress, sexual wellness, drugs and alcohol by connecting them to places that can help, such as the Health Center, Counseling Center and Recreation and Wellness Center.
“The website is designed to help students locate the services they may need, but might not know are available at UCF. It’s their navigator,” said Health Services’ Peter Mastroianni, assistant director for wellness & health promotion.
The health areas included on the website were selected through surveys of UCF freshmen and national data that measure what students believe to be their top impediments to academic success.
Other features of the website include a blog, calendar of wellness-focused campus events and interactive multimedia tools that help students monitor areas such as sleep and fitness.
As part of Healthy Knights, workshops on sleep and computer addiction also have been developed. Future campaigns will address issues such as nutrition and stress management.
“By the time we reach 2020, we want to look back and say that our initiative made a difference in student learning and living,” Wirag said.