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UBCO students assemble research project

What makes a healthy university community? A major research project at UBC Okanagan’s campus is asking that question starting this month and continuing through the next year.

The VOICE 2012 project involves more than 100 students as co-researchers, working with faculty and staff to explore ways to create, renew or sustain health-promoting campus change.

It’s actually a new round of healthy campus research, replicating and extending previous VOICE research conducted from 2006 to 2011, says associate professor emeritus of nursing Claire Budgen, one of the more than 16 faculty and staff researchers working on the project.

“Results from the previous VOICE studies indicated that many health-promoting campus changes were associated with the research—for example, improved quality of drinking water, food, student space, activity and outdoor trails,” says Budgen.

Funded through Campus Health grants, the research involves both community engagement and the collection of pictures, facts, figures and testimonies. All campus community members and visitors are welcome to participate.

To support the inclusion of diverse views, the student co-researcher team will include students from multiple disciplines and backgrounds.

Student VOICE researchers began earlier in September by taking photos that identify health issues on campus.

October will see students canvassing campus starting this Wednesday with a community dialogue survey that seeks to find out what UBC students, faculty and staff think about the health of the campus, strengths and struggles.

“This study will contribute new knowledge to the field of healthy campus development, in particular, navigating diverse perspectives,” Budgen notes.

Results of the first phase of VOICE 2012 will be provided at a campus-wide forum on Nov. 21.

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