UM volunteers hand out giveaways for the Chancellor Wellness Challenge on Wellness Wednesday in front of the School of Law. Submitted photo

OXFORD, miss. – The University of Mississippi launched its new Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge this month to bring the holistic wellbeing of students to the fore.

The 19-day challenge encourages students to take care of their mental, physical, and emotional health by offering prizes for self-care activities and participation in wellness events.

As part of the challenge, the Student Affairs Department has put together more than 75 ways to complete activities such as exercise, mental self-care, or attending wellness events, with points awarded to participants each. At each event or assignment, students are encouraged to attend a virtual or socially distant event that focuses on physical fitness, nutrition, community engagement, social health, or mental health.

In addition to the health benefits, entrants can compete for prizes ranging from $ 1,000 scholarships and parking permits to air pods, yoga mats, sports tickets, and gift cards.

“Personal wellbeing is critical to academic success,” said Chancellor Glenn Boyce. “We are excited to offer a new initiative, the Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge, to encourage and motivate students to take care of their mental and physical health, especially near graduation, so that they can continue in and out of the classroom can thrive.

“We want all of our students to adopt healthy, positive habits and hope they end the year strong by joining us on this wellness journey.”

Natasha Jeter, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Wellness and Student Success, has always been concerned with holistic wellbeing. Over the past year, she and other faculties and staff have seen increases in anxiety, stress, and isolation among Ole Miss’s student body, she said.

The challenge is to respond to these observations and to increase public awareness on these issues.

Law students were given biscuits and wellness brochures on the way to class to kick off the Chancellor Wellness Challenge. Submitted photo

“Everyone should have access to resources so they can improve their personal well-being,” said Jeter. “My goal is to experience a cultural change in which we take a holistic view of wellbeing, not just from a class standpoint.

“When a student earns a B, has good self-sufficiency, builds relationships, and actively engages with faculty, staff, and other students; I look at this success. “

Joshua Tucker, a graduate student in higher education from West Point and graduate assistant in Jeter’s office, was an integral part of organizing the wellness challenge. The challenge could continue in future semesters, he said.

“We plan to face similar challenges in the fall and spring semesters,” he said. “This challenge is meant to continue these conversations on campus as we work towards a strategic wellness plan.”

To see the list of events and learn more about the challenge, students can visit the Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge website. On the website, students can find a schedule of upcoming events, as well as instructions on how to register and earn points. Most activities are offered in partnerships with other departments, schools, and organizations on campus that offer similar events and resources on a regular basis.

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