The Wellness-Sustainability Connection


Fall 2017 - Fall 2017


On college campuses, promoting students’ mental, emotional, and physical health is becoming a higher priority for administrators, as this can affect grades, relationships, eating patterns, extracurricular involvement, and overall sense of wellbeing. Duke has recently taken steps towards finding solutions and making improvements in these areas as well. Construction finished in 2017 on the new Wellness Center, which is designed to address student health in a holistic way by bringing many aspects of wellness (including mental and physical health) under the same roof. Duke has also launched the Healthy Duke Initiative, which focuses on five core areas of health (Food & Nutrition, Mental & Emotional Wellbeing, Physical Activity & Movement, Fulfillment & Purpose, and Environment & Culture).

Lately, the Sustainable Duke office and the Wellness Center have been examining the overlap between sustainability and wellness on campus. They are interested in helping students better understand the interconnectivity of these two concepts and apply sustainable principles to personal wellness practices.

It is well documented that that stress and anxiety are the two largest factors impacting students’ individual academic performance (American College Health Association, 2016), and the effects of stress can ripple out and cause damage to personal relationships, physical and mental health, and many other aspects of life. Duke University is an elite institution, but it often attracts students who pressure themselves to perform at unsustainable levels due to an intense campus culture or personal expectations of excellence. By addressing the root causes of stress, it is possible for Duke to reduce stress levels in the undergraduate population and promote a healthier and more sustainable educational model.




Lindsey Noonan, Margaret Overton, Adrienne Hewitt, Dalia Dichter


Charlotte Clark, Tavey Capps


Sustainable Duke, Duke Student Wellness

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Campus Engagement, Emotional Wellbeing, Personal Wellbeing, stress, students, wellness