Smart Healthy Campus

Participating Faculties: Faculty of Health Sciences

Project Leaders: Professor Kevin Shoemaker

Total Project Funding:  $200,000

Funding Period: 3 years


The Smart, Healthy Campus (SHC) initiative will develop research and educational expertise in the
interdisciplinary study and practice of exercise and mental health outcomes among undergraduate
students. Our chief aim is to develop greater resilience in students towards the stresses that
challenge mental health, particularly in a residential campus. Mental health challenges, such as
depression and anxiety, are particularly prevalent (>50%) among entry-level undergraduate
students. Impaired quality of life, diminished student experience, reduced academic performance,
and overwhelmed university health care resources, represent some of the associated consequences.
Physical activity (exercise training) has been shown to enhance resilience to stress. But, data on
this important intervention are limited, particularly in the context of undergraduate students in a
residential campus. Working with three Faculties at Western University, our new international
partners at Bond University (Australia), and corporate linkages to groups such as IBM, the SHC
program will pursue the following objectives: 1) Develop expertise and customized tools in data
analytics and wearable/mobile health technologies that quantify both retrospective, and real-time
prospective, relationships among student mental health (i.e., anxiety, depression), and patterns of
exercise, nutrition and sleep, and 2) Establish innovative undergraduate course-based mechanisms
that promote interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities linked directly to the proposed
research program. Ultimately, we aim to improve resilience of undergraduate students towards the
stresses of transition to academic life, improve their experience at Western, reduce the economic
burden on the university, and develop a scalable model of quantifiable health interventions that are
transferrable to other institutions.