‘No smoking or vaping’ – GMIT launches Healthy Campus initiative

Galway Daily news GMIT Healthy Campus

This week has seen GMIT commit to fostering a healthy lifestyle and diet with the launch of its new Healthy Campus initiative.

Minister of State with responsibility for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne launched the Healthy Campus initiative at the GMIT Galway campus on Monday, saying that it is important for education to also teach young people to look after themselves.

The GMIT Healthy Campus initiative was first mooted last year by staff interested in working together to make the Institute of Technology a healthier place to study and work.

This took place around the same time as GMIT committed to the Healthy Ireland Higher Education Healthy Campus network and its goals.

A working group was established to meet those goals and has rolled out multiple campaigns connected to healthy living already, with more to come next year.

The biggest upcoming initiative is the ‘Clean Air – No Smoking or Vaping across all GMIT Campuses’ policy to be rolled out in January 2020.

“The young people who attend our Higher Education Institutions are the future leaders and parents in our society,” Catherine Byrne said at the launch.

“So it is important that they have the knowledge, capabilities and confidence to look after their own health and wellbeing, and that they feel supported in this.”

Multiple health related initiatives have already been rolled out such as the joint nutrition programme from the canteen and department of natural sciences, or the sexual consent workshop for all first year students.

Other ideas introduced as part of the initiative so far have not been so directly connected to physical or mental healthy, but more broadly related to promoting campus wellbeing.

One such example is the award winning Voices staff choir set up last February. This has been such a success that a new student choir will join it this semester.

The Acting President of GMIT Dr Michael Hannon said that this initiative has had a “transformative” impact on morale since it began.

Chairperson of the GMIT Healthy Campus Initiative Anita Mahony said that they are delighted with the level of staff and student engagement.

“This month the new GMIT Social Staff and Student Running group started up and within days 70 staff from all campuses had signed up,” she said.