IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich (WZMQ) – Dr. Brock Tessman, the President of Northern Michigan University, paid a visit to Dickinson County today for a special alumni event held at the Pine Grove Country Club. The event saw a great turnout, with enthusiastic alumni gathering to reconnect and celebrate their alma mater.
With the start of the new semester just a few weeks away, Dr. Tessman took the opportunity to address the attendees and provide an update on the university’s preparations for the upcoming academic year. He expressed excitement about the increased number of students expected to enroll this year and how the faculty is gearing up to provide them with a quality education.
One of the key focuses for the university, according to Dr. Tessman, is the health and well-being of their students. He proudly shared that Northern Michigan University is one of only 17 institutions in the country to have signed on to the Okanagan Charter, a new international well-being charter.
Dr. Tessman explained that the Okanagan Charter was developed by representatives from 45 countries who came together in 2015 in British Columbia. This groundbreaking charter serves as a leading-edge framework to guide health promotional universities and colleges, incorporating the latest research in wellness. Its ultimate aim is to infuse health promotion into all aspects of campus culture.
“Institutions across the world came together and developed this charter because they looked around and said, you know, something is going on globally with our young people, with the way we’re connecting to each other as human beings, and with our global environment,” Dr. Tessman said. “So, we’re proud to be a part of that group.”
The charter, which has been signed by only a handful of schools in the country, positions Northern Michigan University alongside prestigious institutions like the University of Michigan and UC Berkeley.
Speaking about the Okanagan Charter, Dr. Tessman emphasized the significance of its holistic approach to well-being. He explained that it encompasses various aspects, including the physical and mental health of students, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity on campus, and promoting environmental sustainability.
“It captures something that is really important to Northern, and that is a really integrated approach to wellbeing. Some of that is around the physical and mental health of our students – making sure they feel supported and a good sense of belonging, some of it’s around our campus culture and making sure that students and employees can see themselves in the institution around them, and some of that’s around environmental wellbeing. We’ve got such a great natural setting in the U.P. We’ve got the lake, and the trails, and the woods. And so environmental sustainability, those are some of our most popular programs,” Dr. Tessman stated.
He further emphasized the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability, highlighting the unique natural setting of the Upper Peninsula. With its pristine lakes, breathtaking trails, and lush woods, NMU recognizes the importance of protecting these resources for future generations.
The Okanagan Charter also acknowledges the significance of environmental well-being through a closing prayer delivered by an elder of the Okanagan Nation during the 2015 International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges. The prayer expresses gratitude for the forethought involved in paving the way for many future generations, and emphasizes the urgency of safeguarding natural resources for generations to come.
Dr. Tessman expressed his enthusiasm for the integration of the Okanagan Charter into NMU’s programs and initiatives. He stated, “The Okanagan Charter commits Northern to really integrating all of these aspects in an intentional and aggressive way. You’ll see a lot of news coming out of Northern about programs related to Okanagan.”
The students, employees, and community of NMU are already rallying together to support the implementation of the Okanagan Charter, according to Tessman. With its comprehensive approach to well-being, and recognition of the importance of environmental sustainability, Northern Michigan University aims to provide its students with a truly holistic educational experience that prepares them for a brighter and more sustainable future.
For more information about the Okanagan Charter, visit:
Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges (2015).