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Healthy Framework launched to further support students and staff at University of Limerick

Prof Catherine Woods, Chair, Healthy UL, Prof Kerstin May, Vice President Academic Affairs and Student Engagement, Minister Catherine Byrne TD, Senator Maria Byrne, Ruth Maher, Director, Strategic Projects and Transformation, UL and Alanna O’Beirne, Healthy UL Manager
Mon, 25 Nov 2019

Supporting the health and wellbeing of staff and students at University of Limerick will now be further enhanced after Minister of State Catherine Byrne TD launched the ‘Healthy UL Framework’. 

The Minister of State with responsibility for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne TD, said: “I am delighted to be in Limerick to launch the Healthy UL Framework and I wish to congratulate Dr Des Fitzgerald, members of the steering group, and everyone who worked so hard to develop this Framework and bring a special focus to improving and safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the students and staff of UL, now and into the future. 

“Educational institutions such as UL have an important role to play in achieving a healthier Ireland through supporting staff and students, through research and innovation, and through civic engagement. I want to wish the staff, students and all partners every success in creating a Healthy Campus in UL,” she added. 

The Healthy UL Framework was made possible due to the tireless work and efforts of committees, working groups, stakeholders, colleagues and students coming together to design a framework that will seek to implement, monitor and evaluate health and wellbeing initiatives across UL for staff, students and the wider community.

Healthy UL Chair, Professor Catherine Woods said: “The Healthy UL Framework adopts a systems approach to ensure health is central to everything we do. We intend to infuse health into the everyday, committed to improving the wellbeing of people, places and the planet for the current and future generations.”

In recent years, UL has put in place a broad range of initiatives that support this ethos and will continue to do so through the implementation of this valuable framework. 

Prof Kerstin Mey, UL Vice President Academic Affairs and Student Engagement, said: “Already, we have seen the benefits of some of our initiatives and indeed when our President introduced the smoking and vaping ban to our campus, we set the tone for the wider conversation. Health and wellbeing is at the forefront of our minds when we consider the people around us. We continue to support them, through dedicated clinical and pastoral services and through the support of the external agencies who are also active on campus.

“This framework, born out of a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, will enhance the health and wellbeing of those who live, learn and work at UL and help them reach their full physical, mental, social and sexual health and wellbeing,” Prof Mey added. 

In 2013, Government launched Healthy Ireland, the framework for improved health and wellbeing 2013 – 2025. The University of Limerick approved a healthy campus initiative in 2017 to ensure that, within the context of the University’s strategic direction, and the Government’s Healthy Ireland policy, UL is meeting its commitment to health and wellbeing for all students, staff, visitors and the wider community. 

Healthy UL seeks to ensure that students and staff reach optimal health by bringing together university expertise from multiple disciplines to provide a forum to support health and wellbeing for all. 

The framework describes key actions to be achieved under six thematic areas; physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing, addictive behaviours and a healthy environment. The development and implementation of Healthy UL has demonstrated and will continue to clearly demonstrate the University’s significant commitment to promoting the health and wellbeing of all who live, learn, work and play on campus. 

University of Limerick is an active member of the Health Campus Network and has contributed to the development of the National Healthy Campus Charter. 

Prof Mey concluded that “the health and wellbeing of our campus community is hugely important for this University as our people, those who study here, those who teach here, those who live here and those who support us here, are our greatest asset. 

“We must now take that framework and make it work as hard as it possibly can for our community,” she said.

The Healthy UL Framework is available here: https://www.ul.ie/about-ul/healthy-ul.