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Healthy campus initiative aims to promote health, sustainability

By Mathew Foresta

January 29, 2013 1:46 am

UCLA’s new Healthy Campus Initiative, which aims to promote several new health and sustainablility programs, launched on Monday with a celebratory fair in the John Wooden Center.

The Healthy Campus Launch Fair featured a hula-hoop challenge and showcased student projects and campus initiatives.

The initiative will include programs that aim to expand the use of bicycles at UCLA, offer healthier living and dining options for students and fund student-run health and sustainability projects.

“The main goal of the Healthy Campus Initiative is to make UCLA a community where the healthy choice is the easy choice,” said Associate Vice Provost Michael Goldstein, who oversees the day-to-day implementation of the initiative.

Goldstein said the initiative is entirely funded by private donors, including Terry and Jane Semel, the namesakes of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

Goldstein also said that by the end of the academic year, hundreds of thousands of dollars will have gone into the project.

But he also emphasized the role students are to play in the initiative.

“Some of it is top down, but most of … the effort is bottom up,” Goldstein said.

This quarter, several student groups received funding for their projects through the initiative.

Shaydanay Urbani, a fourth-year geography and environmental studies student who serves as director of the Student Food Collective said she received funding from the initiative for a series of workshops called “What’s Cooking?”

The Student Food Collective’s mission is to make local, ethical and sustainable food more affordable for students on campus.

The organization’s “What’s Cooking?” workshops aim to instruct students on eating affordably and ethically in Westwood, she said.

“They’re giving us money to make these workshops possible,” Urbani said.

Goldstein said the initiative is also looking for innovative project ideas from students.

Chancellor Gene Block spoke at the Healthy Campus Launch Fair and talked about the importance of personal decision-making in regards to health and wellness.

“This initiative is about making the informed choices with regard to diet, exercise, transportation and sustainability that will lead to healthier outcomes for individuals and our society as a whole,” Block said.

A smoking ban that is in line with the goals of the Healthy Campus Initiative will begin on April 1, Block said to the crowd at the fair.

“(The smoking ban was) an easy choice,” Block said. “That was a particularly easy choice for you because I didn’t give you a choice, I made the choice, because I decided that was something we absolutely had to do.”

Though the initiative is in its early stages, Goldstein said he hopes it will expand in the years to come.

“Eventually we want to see the Healthy Campus Initiative be involved in every unit on campus,” Goldstein said.

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