Building Healthy Universities and Colleges
University and College Health and Wellness
"Healthy students made better decisions, they carry a deeper focus and have something they are committed to. The investment is worth every penny. If you want to retain students, keep them healthy." Dr. Glenn F. Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education
"Wellness promotion on campuses is a step in the right direction. That's the solution being realized by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. We appreciate the Foundation and what it is doing [for Mississippians]." Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Executive Director, Mississippi Community College Board
Supporting Mississippi's colleges and universities in their efforts to create healthy campus cultures is part of the overarching vision of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. The Foundation's University and College Health and Wellness Model is designed to serve as a roadmap for the development of health and wellness cultures that extend from the campuses into the surrounding communities and schools. The Foundation encourages the top levels of leadership at Mississippi’s universities and colleges to adopt health and wellness as part of their leadership vision and mission. In Mississippi, and as of 2018, the Foundation has funded health and wellness initiatives at all eight publically-funded four-year universities, fourteen of the fifteen community colleges, and several priviate universities and colleges.
The University of Mississippi is in the fourth period of its highly popular and successful initiative, RebelWell. Some highlights of RebelWell include fitness classes, health expos, Fresh Fruit Fridays and Walking Wednesdays at local elementary schools, and “Pop-Up” free fitness classes in the Oxford community.
Many of the state’s community colleges have wellness programs that rival those of the larger four-year public universities, including Pearl River Community College. The Wildcat Wellness boasts a youth summer camp, a campus bike share program, fun runs, cooking demonstrations and a host of other activities.
Mississippi College is one of the private colleges making wellness an integral part of campus culture with its Wellness for Life initiative. Healthier meals are prepared for thousands of faculty, staff, students and visitors on the Clinton campus with the addition of new combination ("combi") ovens now in use the campus cafeteria. “These programs are changing our culture,” said Dr. Bill Townsend, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Legal Counsel to the President. "The Clinton community, schools and area churches have embraced our wellness emphasis – those participating from the community in these programs are impacted as much as campus participants.”
Mississippi College is cooking healthier meals for thousands of faculty, staff, students and visitors on the Clinton campus thanks to grant funds provided by the Foundation.
“The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation supports our state’s colleges and universities in their efforts to make wellness a priority,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “We’re excited by the continued progress as they develop innovative programs, tools and resources to serve the students, faculty, staff and the community.”
At the University of Mississippi, RebelWell hosts the annual Men's Homerun for Health Expo that provides health screenings and educational materials related to healthy eating and exercise.
Pearl River Community College makes bicycles available for members of the campus and community to pilot around campus in lieu of driving a vehicle.
Mike Prince, Director of Dining Services at Mississippi College (right), demonstrates the new combination ovens to Dr. Chris Washam, Chair of Kinesiology (Center), and Piper Walters, Wellness for Life Coordinator.