Sometimes, it can feel as if being a student is a barrier to living a healthy lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up in a mindset that eating instant ramen daily, experiencing irregular sleep patterns, and becoming caffeine-dependent are inevitable consequences of being a proper university student (sometimes I think these things myself). But, really, with all the resources we have at the St. George campus to better our health, is it possible that this mentality is simply an illusion? I have a sneaking suspicion that the student gig does not necessarily need to include attending random clubs’ AGMs for the free pizza.
In preparation for this week’s Design For Change conference, I decided to brainstorm a list of ways that UofT is a Healthy Campus in line with some of the themes of the roundtable discussions at the event. On Thursday, student and staff will get together at Hart House to discuss designing a shared vision for a healthier University at the first annual Design for Change conference, and we (students) are all invited! That sounds pretty super to me.
Student Financial Wellbeing
- Student Insurance. Unless you opted out of coverage at the beginning of the year, the Green Shield insurance plan is something you are paying for as part of your student fees. The plan is available for domestic and international students. Our coverage will completely pay for many medications, and it subsidizes many special services, such as massage therapy and chiropractic care, so that they become much more affordable! You can bring your prescriptions to the Shoppers’ Drug Mart Pharmacy near St. George Subway Station and they can set you up with only your T-Card. If you are looking for a medical practitioner, try visiting this site for local services.
Recreation & Extracurricular Opportunities
- Remember the UofT campaign a few years about how UofT has a club for just about anything? There are 800 clubs.
Community Building & Belonging
- So, UofT won’t build a community for you. This is an experience totally up to each of us individually. But there is infrastructure in place that can make meeting new people, finding a community and a “home” on campus more straight-forward. A good place to start for clubs and special interests is Hart House, for arts, culture, athletics, and food!
- There are also events happening all over the campus, all the time! Bookmark this page for lots of ideas, and then commit to attending them!
Physical Spaces In & Outside the Classroom
- There are beautiful spaces on campus to help us feel well. I’m thinking specifically about these spots, highlighted by the Video Crew:
Identity, Diversity & Inclusivity
- If you are looking to nourish your soul, expand your mind, or get free snacks, look no further than the Sexual Diversity Office, Multi-faith Centre, and First Nations House.
Self-Care & Resilience
- University life can feel like a slippery slope. Once we start falling behind on developing unhealthy habits, it can feel hard to bounce back. The Health & Wellness Centre offers workshops and strategies for learning how to best take care of yourself. My personal favourite workshop is the Food and Mood one. If workshops aren’t for you, you can participate in an online webinar at your own pace and at your own time!
Student Support Services
- There are a ton of these! Your registrar, the library system, peer mentorship programs, writing centers, and accessibility services are just a few that come to mind.
Teaching & Learning
- Ultimately, we are all here to learn and to share our ideas. There are inevitably going to be aspects of student life that challenge us beyond our academic pursuits, but I would like to believe that UofT is a pretty great support service in our pursuits of student wellbeing.
When you think of UofT as a healthy campus, what comes to mind? What barriers are there to living a healthy lifestyle? What more would you like to see? Do you have ideas about how to make UofT better? Join the conversation at the first ever D4C conference THURSDAY JANUARY 28TH FROM 6-9PM! There will be mural painting, discussion, and delicious free food!
See you there!