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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.76
Liaison Trina Innes
Submission Date Oct. 10, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of Alberta
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Robin Everall
Acting Dean of Students
Office of the Dean of Students
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

Fostering a Culture That Supports Mental Health

Social sustainability involves the many ways that the University of Alberta interacts with and supports the health and wellbeing of our students. Taking care of our community requires initiatives that grow the social good, safe environments, social inclusion and good mental health. UAlberta recognizes that no one unit or service holds all the keys to success in fostering students’ wellbeing and demonstrates commitment in this area through institution-wide, holistic, and strategic planning and management to proactively address mental health outcomes.

UAlberta has implemented a community-based approach to mental health, understanding that it takes an entire campus to support a student. Offering a breadth of services and multiple avenues of access creates an intentional environment of health promotion that pervades campus life. As part of UAlberta’s commitment, in 2012 the Office of the Dean of Students appointed a Provost Fellow, Student Mental Health to critically examine mental health on campus and make strategic recommendations. This comprehensive assessment produced 54 recommendations covering a full spectrum of mental health supports and services, organized into the following ten categories:

• Show a visible campus commitment
• Expand wellness initiatives and raise their profile
• Allocate dedicated resources
• Move towards cohesive mental health and wellness programming
• Engage our community
• Enhance student-centred communications strategies
• Create institution-wide infrastructure
• Review and enhance orientation
• Serve the needs of international students
• Enhance outreach initiatives

The university has already taken significant measures to enhance the student experience on campus with respect to sharing the responsibility for mental health between community-based, student-run, and clinical counselling services. Some of the particular and more tangible innovations include:

• ‘Satellite’ counselling offices in key faculties, to improve access for students
• Revised intake process utilizing psychiatric nurses for better and faster service to students
• Team of community social workers, dedicated to building community capacity and capability
• Enhanced and expanded services and revised hours of operation to meet student needs
Over many years, UAlberta has invested in the resources and services required to support mental health and create a culture of health promotion. Some of these services include:

• Counselling and Clinical Services
• Community Social Work team
• Institute of Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS)
• Aboriginal Student Services Centre (ASSC)
• Aboriginal Students Office
• Sexual Assault Centre
• Faculty In-House Mental Health Support
• Health and Wellness team (student)
• Furry Friends
• Helping Individuals at Risk
• Peer Support Centre
• Unwind your Mind

For more information on how UAlberta is creating a culture that nurtures and supports mental health, please visit the link provided.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.