Oakland University

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(248) 370-2100

Three Oakland University students sitting on the edge of a fountain, laughing and smiling.


Building a culture of well-being is a long term endeavor. Strong cultures develop and evolve over time. An individual’s ability to thrive and be successful- as a student or employee is directly correlated to the degree of individual well-being.

Well-being has many definitions. Those that an organization subscribes to is dependent on its structure. Oakland University supports nine dimensions of well-being (physical, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, environmental, financial, cultural, and occupational) and has identified four areas of concentration that support students and employees in those nine areas. The four areas include:

  • Personal Success
  • Growth, Development and Enrichment
  • Emotional Intelligence/Mental Health
  • Environmental Initiatives 

There are multiple reasons Oakland University is poised to be the Healthiest Campus for Michigan. According to the US World and News Report on the Healthiest Communities Rankings for 2020, Oakland County is ranked 212 out of the top 500 counties in the nation when comparing 84 health and wellness metrics. Oakland County scored 69 points/100 in the state.  This compares to the state average of 52.

The metrics included population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality and infrastructure. Oakland County is the fifth healthiest county in the state of Michigan behind Leelanau (41), Livingston (105), Grand Traverse (110), and Emmet (153).

In addition to the national and state numbers, the University itself is positioned to be the Healthiest Campus for Michigan because of the people at the institution, access to funding, and OU initiatives already in place. Having supportive leadership of health and well-being is the first step in achieving this status. Oakland University has also established both private and public donors who want to and have invested in the initiatives. Finally, Oakland has a robust health insurance structure for employees, is a smoke free campus, provides recreation center access to benefits-eligible employees and students with one paid credit hour each semester, has achieved a safest campus distinction, is LGBTQUIA friendly, operates energy efficient facilities and provides access to campus sidewalks. All of these things, combined with more than 75 wellness related programs, services and resources already established makes becoming the Healthiest Campus for Michigan feasible.

The Team/Committee

Becky Lewis, Associate Director, University Recreation and Well-Being

Kevin Ball Ph.D., Dean, School of Health Sciences

Ann Rayford, Graham Health Center Director, Graham Health Center

Flora Dallo, Associate Dean, School of Health Sciences

Caitlyn Hennings, Employee Wellness Coordinator, University Recreation and Well-Being

Amy Cebelak, Assistant Director of Residence Life, University Housing

Noah Pollock, Director of Curriculum Data Management, William Beaumont School of Medicine

Rebekah Farrugia, Professor, Communications, Communication and Journalism

Eric Herppich, AVP Labor/ Employee Relations, Human Resources


To be the Healthiest Campus for Michigan

To support a culture of well-being and individual pursuits of health through programs, services, learning, teaching and work.

Goal 1: Improve prevention and outreach in mental health programming and interventions to consistently engage faculty, staff, and students in healthy behaviors.


  1. Increase the number of and percent of individuals who participate in mental and emotional well-being programming. 
  2. Promote optimal well-being and healthy behaviors in faculty, staff and students through current mental and emotional evidence-based well-being practice. 
  3. Expand access to mental health services and promotion for faculty, staff and students. 
  4. Collaborate with one campus department, college, or school to focus on research, data collection, and evaluation that addresses improvement for campus community mental and emotional well-being. 
  5. Ensure accessible, safe and secure campus facilities that are welcoming and inclusive. 
Goal 2: Empower leaders and managers with wellness resources, strategies, and evidence to strengthen the wellness culture and environment at Oakland University.


  1. Provide innovative and engaging marketing campaigns to identify and promote open dialogue, safe spaces, and resources for the campus community. 
  2. Provide Oakland University administration with annual data related to well-being successes, gaps, and opportunities. 
  3. Maintain a repository of campus-wide wellness support initiatives collected from University faculty, staff, and students to identify gaps in well-being initiatives and services. 
  4. Create and distribute well-being intervention tools and strategies for faculty and staff use with students and colleagues. 
Goal 3: Engage the campus community in developing more environmentally friendly spaces and efforts to increase faculty, staff and student well-being.


  1. Increase the number of campus physical/green spaces that support well-being.
  2. Continue to educate the campus community on campus-wide recycling initiatives. 
  3. Provide access to outdoor physical activity spaces that offer opportunities for social cohesion and integration.
  4. Remove physical obstacles that prevent work, study and social engagement. 
Goal 4: Position Oakland University as a leader in the state of Michigan by sharing best practices and innovation.


  1. Recognize leaders and managers who incorporate wellness and drive a positive well-being campus culture. 
  2. Compare Oakland University with other Michigan institutions in benchmarking well-being initiatives and services. 
  3. Identify sources to track and report best practice efforts with campus colleagues. 
  4. Apply for a minimum of two national awards and recognition opportunities for well-being efforts. 
  5. Share on-going successes and outcomes related to well-being on campus and with the community in an open format (website, social media, print publications, presentations, etc.).
  6. Demonstrate active involvement in local, regional, and national associations related to well-being through conference attendance, committee involvement, and professional presentations.

Over time, varying levels of funding has been secured in support of health and well-being initiatives at Oakland University.  Those include funds from:

  • Priority Health 
  • OU Credit Union
  • Marsh & McLennan Agency

Oakland University has been recognized for health and well-being initiatives by the following:

  • Crain’s Detroit Business
  • American Heart Association
  • Athletic Business
  • NIRSA Promising Practice

Oakland University has several community partnerships for funding and support of major well-being initiatives. In addition, OU has partnered with agencies who support the community in achieving healthy lifestyles. Those currently include:

  • Priority Health
  • OU Credit Union
  • Ascension Health
  • Carrot Wellness
  • American Heart Association
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