Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge Encourages, Rewards Holistic Health

Students have opportunities to engage in self-care activities, wellness events throughout 19-day challenge

UM volunteers pass out Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge giveaways in front of the School of Law during Wellness Wednesday. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi launched its new Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge this month as a part of the university’s ongoing efforts to bring holistic wellness to the forefront of students’ minds.

The 19-day challenge encourages students to take care of their mental, physical and emotional health by offering prizes for self-care activities and attending wellness events. 

As part of the challenge, the Division of Student Affairs has compiled more than 75 opportunities to complete activities such as exercise, mental self-care or attending wellness events, awarding participants points for each one. Each event or task asks students to attend a virtual or socially distanced event that focuses on physical fitness, nutrition, community engagement, social health or mental health.

Besides the health benefits, student participants will be in the running for prizes ranging from $1,000 scholarships and parking passes to Air Pods, yoga mats, athletic tickets and gift cards.

“Personal well-being is essential to succeeding academically,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. “We’re excited to offer a new initiative, the Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge, to encourage and incentivize students to take care of their mental and physical health, especially approaching finals, so they can continue to thrive in and outside of the classroom.

“We want all of our students to adopt healthy, positive habits and hope they will end the year strong by joining us on this wellness journey.”

With a background in public health, Natasha Jeter, assistant vice chancellor for wellness and student success, has always been concerned with holistic wellness. Over the past year, she and other faculty and staff have seen an increase in anxiety, stress and isolation amongst the Ole Miss student body, she said.

The challenge is a response to those observations and the increase in public consciousness around these issues.

Law students received cookies and wellness pamphlets on their way to class to kick off the launch of the Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge. Submitted photo

“Everyone should have access to resources so they can improve their personal well-being,” Jeter said. “My goal is for us to experience a culture shift where we look at well-being holistically, not just from a grade standpoint.

“If a student earns a B, has good self-care, is building relationships and actively engages with faculty, staff and other students; I consider that success.”

Joshua Tucker, a doctoral candidate in higher education from West Point and graduate assistant in Jeter’s office, has been an integral part in organizing the wellness challenge. The challenge is something that can continue in future semesters, he said.

“We are planning to host similar challenges in the fall and spring semesters,” he said. “This challenge is intended to continue these conversations on campus as we build toward a wellness strategic plan.”

To see the list of events and learn more about the challenge, students can visit the Chancellor’s Wellness Challenge website. On the site, students will find a schedule of upcoming events as well as instructions on how to register and begin earning points. Most of the activities are provided in partnerships with other campus divisions, schools and organizations that regularly offer similar events and resources.