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Experts Explore Ways to Improve Wellness at GCU’s Healthy Campus, Healthy Community Conference


From working their way through adult coloring books to making rigorous workouts part of their daily routines, today’s college students are increasingly creative in the ways they combat stress and embrace healthy behaviors, according to the organizers of “Healthy Campus, Healthy Community,” at Georgian Court University.

Encouraging wellness is the focus of the one-day conference slated for Friday, April 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Casino building on Georgian Court’s historic Lakewood campus. Registration is $20 for members of the community and includes lunch; the event is free to members of the GCU community. Support is provided by the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation® with assistance and support by NJHA/HRET of New Jersey.

“Healthy Campus, Healthy Community,” is hosted by the GCU-Meridian Health School of Nursing and draws on the expertise of nursing and Integrative Health faculty, student affairs leaders, and others. In addition, conference sponsors from the Integrative Health & Medicine program at Hackensack Meridian Health will highlight the “Five Pillars of Health”—purpose, resilience, nutrition, sleep, and activity.

“We want to explore the many ways we can create a culture of health on our college campuses while inspiring everyone in our community to live healthy lives,” said Teri Wurmser, RN, Ph.D., chair of the university’s nursing program. “It’s really a day where everyone can participate in activities that promote healthy living beyond our campus gates and in the greater community.”

Wellness—A Return on Investment

The conference keynote speaker is Bernadette Melnyk, Ph.D., RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN, who serves as associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, and professor and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University.

Healthy Campus Melnyk featured
Keynote speaker Dr. Bernadette Melnyk

The role of chief wellness officer is a first for OSU, but one that corporations have embraced for years. Now universities and colleges nationwide are doing more to promote healthy behaviors, which can lead to a 5:1 return on investment, according to Dr. Melnyk. She also is an expert on evidence-based practices and intervention research to help families, children, and adolescents.

Other conference guests include:

Felicia McGinty, Ed.D., Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Rutgers University
Sara Scheller, Integrative Health Coach, Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health and Medicine
Kathleen Sanford, RN, FACHE, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Catholic Health Initiatives
Scott Woodside, Director for Student Health Services, Rowan University
Peter Wenger, M.D., Chair, New Jersey Immunization Network

In addition to hearing from speakers, participants can join interactive sessions such as “Sugar 101,” “Sound Healing,” and “Qoya Dance Movement.”

For more information, contact the GCU-Meridian Health School of Nursing at 732.987.2183 or fcrpvnyriragf@trbetvna.rqh.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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