Partner Spotlight

Oakwood University Students Show Enthusiasm for Health

Partner spotlight from PHA’s 2016 Annual Progress Report

Richard Carr, a nursing student at Oakwood University, serves as a Student Health Ambassador to help the college reach its goal of becoming the healthiest campus in America by 2020. He assists with Oakwood's efforts to complete its commitment with PHA as a Healthier Campus Initiative partner.

On any given day at Oakwood University, you may find Richard Carr wearing a duck beak and waddling around campus doing squats, sliding down an inflatable water slide or simply sporting his Ninja Nurse T-shirt and talking to fellow students about the importance of healthy eating and staying physically active.

Carr, a nursing student, signed on last year as a Student Health Ambassador to help Oakwood reach its goal of becoming the healthiest campus in America by 2020. That means leading campus events designed to make students move in fun and creative ways and sharing his knowledge and passion for better health.

“I wasn’t allowed to play video games as a kid,” said Carr. “So I played outside.” He became involved in martial arts and has applied to compete in American Ninja Warrior, an event for which he’s been training for the past several years. When he learned about the school’s student health ambassador program, it seemed a natural fit.

“I’m pushing myself to live a healthy lifestyle in everything I do and say,” said Carr, who graduates from nursing school this year and has been focusing his studies on preventive health. “Because I know better, I try to do better. I can tell other people about it, and they can see my example.”

Partnership for a Healthier America's Healthier Campus Initiative is a nationwide effort to create campus environments that encourage and support greater physical activity and healthier eating habits.

The Healthy Campus 2020 objective guides the university’s efforts to fulfill its commitment as a member of PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative. For example, in addition to the student ambassador-led events, the university is working to revamp its cafeteria menu and update the offerings in its vending machines to include healthier options. To ensure they’d pass muster with students, they held a vending fair with taste testing of new items such as trail mix and whole grain cheese crackers.

At least 10 fruits and vegetables are offered for lunch and dinner at Oakwood University each day

They’ve also placed water stations and fountains around campus to help students stay hydrated, mile markers to encourage students to walk more and started sending inspirational tweets to encourage OU students to take part in events such as WorkOUt Wednesday or NoFrieday (a day without fried foods). They encourage students to use hashtags and pictures of how they’re participating to motivate others. For example, ColOUr Plate day asks them to send pictures of the colorful fruits and vegetables they’re eating.

“Students see other people doing it, and then they want to do it, too,” said Carr.

View Oakwood University’s 2016 Annual Progress Report verified results.

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