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2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges

July 14, 2015

Thinkspace attended the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges. The conference was held at UBC’s Okanagan Campus in Kelowna June 22-25.

Robert Parlane moderated a panel that discussed how the collective design decisions driving the built environment on campus impose many health decisions upon the individual.

The panel included:

  • Donna Lomas, BA (Hons), MA
    Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen
    Okanagan College
  • Teresa Syrnyk, Architect AIBC, BA, BArch
    Senior Planner
    Infrastructure Development – Facilities Planning, University of British Columbia
  • Leanne Bilodeau, BHK, MA
    Associate Director Sustainability Operations
    University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus

Drawing on the experiences from three campuses: Okanagan College, UBC Okanagan and UBC Point Grey, the panel considered how specific changes from the established norm for both planning strategy and building design can influence the health and well-being of the campus community.

The benefits of daylight and natural ventilation to health and intellectual performance are well-known (Boyce 2003, Mendell, 2013). Going beyond these fundamentals with more significant cultural changes can bring about greater benefits to health and sustainability. The panel considered:

  • Changes considered for both planning and the physical elements on campus;
  • The processes required to bring about such changes;
  • Maintaining these implementations in use;
  • Possible improvements to the process;
  • Feedback from the end-users.

The greater sustainability aspirations for an institution are often complimentary to the improved well-being of the campus population. However implementing cultural change is fraught with challenges for an institution; both risk and failure need to be assessed through the planning and design processes. The panel concluded by discussing the responsibility of an academic institution, as a thought-leader in society, to pursue these goals even though they may be counter to demands of users reticent towards change.