Health Education Center becomes The Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion

By April 23, 2015Uncategorized

As the UCI campus is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the Health Education Center is celebrating its 25th Anniversary after opening as an independent unit in May of 1990.  The Center is using the anniversary to completely rename and rebrand its identity.

When discussions began last year about the upcoming anniversary of the department, there were talks of developing a special anniversary logo.  In the midst of those discussions, talk ensued about changing the existing department logo as well.  This eventually led to a thought and discussion about completely renaming and rebranding the whole department, not just the logo.  With that, the idea gained energy and the process began.

One important consideration was to align ourselves more currently with what was happening in the field.  Programs and departments across the country were moving towards the terminology and identity of health promotion instead of health education and prevention.  The world of higher education was moving towards more evidenced-based strategies and best practices, so aligning with accepted standards of practice was (and still is) important.  The World Health Organization hosted the first International Conference on Health Promotion in Ottawa, Canada in 1986 and drafted the Ottawa Charter to provide definitions and guidance for the field of health promotion.  Later, and specifically for the higher education community, the American College Health Association (ACHA) has developed Standards of Practice for Health Promotion in Higher Education, and the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education has also developed specific standards of practice for Health Promotion services.  It made sense to align ourselves with a name and identity that is congruent with the standards of practice that define and guide our field.

In addition to these guiding factors, the term wellness has been emerging as a buzz word for programs and services that address health issues.  Initially, the term wellness was thought to be more positive sounding.  In other words, rather than working to prevent illness, the terminology was trying to embrace a more positive sounding approach of promoting health and a state of well-being.  While it’s much more complicated than that, the reality is the wellness “buzz” has been sweeping the public and private sector, as campuses and corporations alike develop health and wellness programs to promote and encourage health and healthy behaviors in their communities.

For these reasons, Health Promotion and Wellness became the foundation of our name and identity ideas. Since we belong to the Wellness, Health and Counseling Services (WHCS) cluster in Student Affairs, this also helps strengthen our alignment and identity with our cluster.

Students provided feedback that just Wellness & Health Promotion wasn’t enough for the name, we had to be a physical location for students to come to or access.  However, they felt the campus already had enough “resource centers,” so we went with “The Office of Wellness & Health Promotion.”  After submitting this official request to the Chancellor’s cabinet for approval, they came back with “The Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion.”  So, while the end result was a little longer than planned, the new name incorporates the core of what we wanted and is clearly a resource center that serves students.

We hope you are as excited as we are about our new name and identity, as we prepare to serve students through the promotion of health and wellness for the next 25 years and beyond.

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