Get Healthy with The Office of Health Promotion!

Here at BC, and at any college really, it’s both easy and extremely hard to stay healthy. Sure, we have the Plex and wholesome eating options in the dining halls. We are forced to do at least two minutes of cardio per day when we walk up the dreaded Million Dollar Stairs. While it is easy to be healthy at BC, it’s also easy to follow a slightly less healthy path. I am not only talking about unhealthy eating or avoiding the Plex; an unhealthy lifestyle is one laden with stress, a lack of time management, toxic relationships, and more. When we take a step back and examine whether or not we really are “healthy,” we might find that we’re not as well off as we think we are.

Thankfully, Boston College’s Office of Health Promotion can help with all habits, healthy or not. The OHP is in its third year at BC. It has trained over 100 student health coaches who act as health resources around campus and offer advice to students of every sort. The OHP focuses on health conversations, educating students on the lifelong benefits of maintaining a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. It empowers students to make informed decisions and to develop skills that enhance well-being. I had a chance to speak with Elise Phillips, director of the OHP, about all that the office offers to students.

What Role does the Office of Health Promotion play on campus?

We promote student health and wellness. We’re here to educate and empower students to make healthy decisions and to help them create their own personal health goals and strategies. With all that the students at BC are balancing, it can be difficult to map out clear goals and a means of attaining those goals. The OHP is here to support students in determining their goals through means that are both healthy and reliable.

 

What services do you offer to students?

We offer group health education programs, which take place in classes, in resident halls, in athletic settings, and in student groups.  Programs can be requested through our website and each one has a specific focus. We offer programs on Alcohol and Drug Education, Bystander Education, GirlTalk, How to Worry Well, Nutrition, Healthy Relationships, Time and Stress Management, Total Wellness, and the Hook-up Culture.

We also offer Individual Health Plans, known as iHPs. During an iHP, a student meets with a health coach 1-on-1 to develop personal goals and strategies to live by. An iHP is a conversation during which students can open up about anything that is challenging them. The health coach will work with the student to create a personalized goal plan. By planning our goals, we also plan for health.

We also create Healthy Boards, which are great for RAs looking to replace the bulletin boards in their buildings. They focus on a range of topics from alcohol safety to sleep and stress Management.

We organize Healthapalooza, a free fair that takes place every September. We have tables on meditation, healthy foods (and samples!), Campus Recreation, emergency management, and so much more. The OHP also holds tabling events in the quad, which are run by health coaches.

Additionally, we offer Be Well Lunches, which are talks on a variety of health topics given by BC faculty and staff as well as outside experts.

 

Tell me about this year’s campaign, Nourish.

Nourish was developed throughout all of last year, when we held focus groups and interviews with students about what health-related topic they would like to know more about. Students wanted to increase their knowledge and decrease perceived barriers to eating healthy, so we took their feedback and brought it to Professor Jack Dunn’s Public Relations class, which came up with Nourish. It is a healthy eating campaign that we designed to disseminate six key messages over the year, with one new message per month. Our messages are the following: choose foods closest to their natural form, make half of your grains whole, consume calcium-rich foods, go lean with protein, drink water, and make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. We partnered with dining services and students can see our tags in the dining halls placed on various food stations promoting healthy eating.

 

If you could give students five health tips to live by, what would they be?

  • Take things one-step at a time.
  • Try to balance your day by eating healthy and timely meals, managing your stress, being active and getting enough sleep.
  • Think about moderation with everything that you do.
  • Have a time management plan.
  • Have fun, get into great conversations, and serve your community!

 

Where can students go to find out more about the OHP?

They can visit our website, Twitter, or Facebook page. Our office is located in Gasson 025 and we can be emailed at [email protected].