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Published: 2024-02-02

Umeå University is the first in Sweden to be certified as a Healthy Campus

NEWS Umeå University is the first higher education institution in Sweden and the Nordics to be certified as a Healthy Campus. The certification, which aims to promote health and well-being among students and employees, is part of the University’s broader sustainability work.

The international certification Healthy Campus is developed by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and aims to improve the health and well-being of students and employees at higher education institutions worldwide. In total, more than 130 higher education institution are registered, and Umeå University joined in March 2023. At the end of the year, Umeå University reached gold level, the second highest level of the certification. 

“It is gratifying that Umeå University is certified so high already in the first year. It strengthens our attractiveness as a university and workplace and also shows that issues of physical activity, health and well-being are a prerequisite of a sustainable work and study environment,” says Hans Wiklund, University Director.

The certification consists of 100 criteria that take into account a wide range of aspects that can affect health. They are divided into seven different areas: physical activity and sport, diet, mental and social health, disease prevention, risk behaviour, social responsibility and sustainability, and sustainable governance and leadership. Active work with these criteria provides the prerequisites for creating a sustainable campus.

“So far, we have focused on reporting what we already do in the areas, but our continued work will focus on what the University’s activities together with the student unions will do to become even better,” says Alexandra Haglund, project manager for Healthy Campus.

Inspiring other higher education institutions

Many of the activities reported by Umeå University have been recognised by FISU as good examples and therefore have the potential to be included in a separate report to inspire other higher education institutions. They include

  • The Health on Campus initiative of Umeå School of Sport Sciences
  • The Buddy programme for international students
  • The Student Health Service’s work to promote mental well-being
  • The campus area’s outdoor environment

“Umeå University already offers a wide range of activities, but through the international collaboration offered by Healthy Campus, we have the opportunity to also draw inspiration from other universities around the world,” continues Alexandra.

The work with Healthy Campus is integrated with the overall sustainability work and will strengthen the University’s social sustainability and role in health and well-being in academic environments.

“In the transition towards a more sustainable university, it is important that we don’t forget about those who stay on our campuses. That’s why we are continuously working to broaden the University’s sustainability work so that social sustainability aspects are integrated into areas that we previously primarily worked with from an environmental or climate perspective,” says Lisa Redin, environmental and sustainability strategist and one of the members of the Healthy Campus reference group.

To maintain and allow us to advance in the certification, the University must report the criteria each year and undergo an external audit every two years. 

“We will continue to work on health promotion to meet the needs of students and employees,” concludes Alexandra Haglund. “It’s a bonus if we reach the highest level of the Healthy Campus certification.”

FISU and Healthy Campus

FISU is an international member organisation that aims to expand the role and reach of university sports around the world. In Sweden, the Swedish Academic Sports Federation (SAIF) is an associate member. 

In 2020, FISU launched the Healthy Campus programme as an initiative to promote and create conditions for health and well-being on campuses worldwide. The initiative supports higher education institutions in integrating health into the campus culture and contribute to a socially sustainable campus. The programme has been developed within the framework of Agenda 2030 and SDG 3 Good health and Well-being.

Read more: Healthy Campus