Our mission is to foster the holistic wellbeing of our students by providing opportunities and experiences that enhance all dimensions of wellness, while equipping students with the tools to thrive as individuals and community members. Through a collaborative and shared approach to programming and resources, we inspire our students to succeed at BU and beyond.
How We Got Here
Over the past decade, the national landscape for college health has been filled with challenges. At Boston University (BU), we have continuously worked to address student needs and provide an integrated campus experience where students feel their wellbeing is prioritized by the university. In 2014, BU began its work to become a JED certified campus. This work focused on identifying places where BU can enhance its student facing mental health resources and fully engage the campus in supporting student mental health and wellbeing. While engaging in this important work, and harnessing the concept that supporting student mental health is a shared campus responsibility, it became evident the solutions to supporting students were beyond just the counseling center or health service.
Convened in June, 2017, the BU mental health task force was co-chaired by Dr. Carrie Landa (Director of BU Behavioral Medicine at the time) and Katharine Mooney. The goal of this task force was to identify ways in which BU could address some of the mental health needs of its students beyond the clinical services offered by the counseling center. The committee, through feedback from students and stakeholders, found there were many resources at BU that provided support, but students just didn’t know where to go or even that these resources existed. The task force proposed the creation of a system to better organize student resources that supported all aspects of wellbeing, not just mental health. This led to the framework for The Wellbeing Project.
Co-founded by Carrie Landa and Katharine Mooney, The Wellbeing Project, launched in September 2019, was a campus-wide initiative to support students’ health and wellness during their time at BU. Using seven dimensions of wellbeing, the goal was to teach students about the various parts of their lives that contribute to their health and wellness. The Project engaged the entire campus in supporting student wellbeing by providing grant funding (up to $2000) to faculty, staff and students who wanted to bring programming to their community. In addition, the Project provided pop-up opportunities for students to press pause and take a moment to foster their wellbeing.
In the summer of 2020, BU began working on its 10 year strategic plan, which noted student health and wellness as a key focus area. The proposed plan for this strategic initiative, authored by Carrie Landa, suggested the creation of a holistic, integrative and shared approach to health and wellness at BU to support undergraduate and graduate students through all the dimensions of wellness. This initiative would continue to demonstrate a shared campus responsibility for student health and wellbeing, with the goal of teaching students how to thrive as individuals and members of a community through:
- The delivery of campus-wide programming that promotes student wellbeing and demonstrates how wellbeing is a driver of academic/professional success.
- The establishment of programs and resources that allow students to identify both their strengths and areas of growth so they can enhance their experience as individuals and members of communities.
- Effective marketing and communication strategies that inform students on the vast and diverse resources available to them at BU and in the community.
In direct response to the four strategic priorities outlined in Boston University’s 2030 Strategic Plan: a Vibrant Academic Experience; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Community, Big Yet Small; and an Integrated Approach to Wellness and Health, in November of 2021, the university announced the creation of the new office, Student Wellbeing, and its inaugural Executive Director, Carrie Landa.
Where are we now?
BU continues to lead by demonstrating its commitment to the health and wellbeing of its community, with Student Wellbeing focusing specifically on undergraduate and graduate populations.
Our team serves as educators, prevention practitioners, programmers, consultants and collaborators. We aim to create a campus environment that supports students’ personal, interpersonal and professional growth, and highlights the importance of taking care of one’s self.
We bring multiple campus stakeholders together to provide a truly integrated experience around wellbeing and amplify the numerous existing resources that our campus already provides. BU offers many ways for students to engage in wellness, but the ability to identify those resources and recognize how they contribute to success, both in and out of the classroom, remains an area of growth. We’re working to make accessing wellbeing resources easy and mainstream for all.
We also offer programming that encourages students to foster their own wellbeing while having fun and making memories. The hope is that students learn how to foster their wellbeing in ways that will be meaningful to them regardless of their college, major, and identity.
Ultimately, we believe that all students deserve to feel good and that how students feel matters. Our collective goal – as administrators, faculty and staff – is to inspire our students to feel fulfilled each day, despite the ups and downs of life on campus.