Sustainability and Wellness

The Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 will bring focus in outreach around the topic of wellness among the campus community. The leap from environmental sustainability to personal wellness is not far if we raise our awareness of our surroundings and practice habits that promote a healthy environment.

 

Penn Initiatives and Projects Towards Wellness

The Wellness at Penn initiative affirms wellness as a core priority and necessary driver of life on campus. It offers opportunities to reflect and engage on issues of wellness, stress, mental health, resilience, happiness, personal and academic goals, and the meaning of success. And it defines wellness as an ongoing holistic process with multiple dimensions. Environmental wellness is not limited to the outdoors and involves anything that influences our environment and our capacity to be safe and feel safe.

Getting Outside

The 30x30 Challenge encourages the Penn community to get outside, learn about local ecology, and appreciate the beauty of nature. Participants challenge themselves to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors in nature each day for all 30 days of April.

The Nature Rx program supports the writing of “prescriptions” to be out in nature, since research has shown that time spent in nature can have a positive impact on our health and well-being. The hope is to encourage Penn students, faculty, and staff to go out in nature to reduce stress and anxiety, increase energy, and have protective, restorative time. Find nature now by visiting our map at bit.ly/naturerxpenn.

The Penn Park Orchard aims to educate and create access to local food for both Penn and the wider Philadelphia community. Events open to anyone include orchard maintenance, edible plant workshops and pick-your-own harvests. The Penn Garden is a raised-bed organic garden that serves as a shared educational space for the Penn and West Philadelphia communities. Points on the Edible Campus Map shows the approximate locations of trees on campus with edible fruits, leaves, and nuts.

The Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative is a new initiative bringing together partners from the Center for Public Health Initiatives, Facilities and Real Estate Services, Wellness at Penn, Penn Sustainability, and others across Penn. This year marks the expansion of the Penn Park Orchard into Penn’s first campus urban farm, the Penn Park Farm. The farm will be host to a wide variety of programming including class visits, internships, workshops, volunteer opportunities, and events, with an emphasis on promoting wellness on campus. The main location for the Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative will be the Penn Park Farm, located in Penn Park, one of Penn’s largest green spaces. The farm boasts rows of vegetables, newly tilled beds, and a hoop house for season extension. The farm utilizes sustainable growing practices. Learn more about the Penn Food and Wellness Collaborative by following their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

 

Physical Health

Penn supports Bicycle Commuters by offering an exclusive Expense Reimbursement Program to qualified faculty and staff for out-of-pocket eligible expenses up to a pre-determined annual amount – covering costs such as bike purchases, maintenance, improvements, and bike accessories, parking and commercial storage costs, and safety gear. Penn’s annual participation in Bike to Work Day further raises awareness of the many advantages to commuting by bicycle.

Tobacco-Free Campus – As part of its commitment to maintaining a healthy and safe learning, working and living environment for all members and guests of our community, it is the policy of Penn that all smoking and tobacco use (including the use of smokeless tobacco) is prohibited in all University buildings and facilities. Volunteers support this effort with regularly scheduled cigarette butt clean up collections.

The Healthy Penn Partnership is a comprehensive program for faculty, staff, and students at Penn, focused on increasing the availability and accessibility of wellness activities across the university, among these are the Be in the Know wellness campaign and Campus Wellness Walks.

 

Design

Design and construction according to the WELL Building Standard is encouraged as the campus development plan looks to the future. WELL offers a design framework to improve health and well-being for everyone that visits, works in, or experiences building, in areas such as water and air quality, level of exposure to natural light, and the integration of physical activity into building use. The Wharton External Affairs fit-out in the FMC Tower will receive silver certification under the WELL Building Standard for New Interiors. The External Affairs suite is the first WELL project at Penn, and will serve as a leading case study to inform future projects. 

The Green Fund StairWELL project is designed to increase the use of stairs on campus. The project team utilized the Green Fund to make physical improvements to a stairwell in the Anatomy Chemistry Building using vinyl wall graphics and motivational signage along with refreshed painting and lighting. The success of this pilot project – measured by stairwell usage – will determine if this project could be expanded to other campus buildings.