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Spotlight on: Environmental Wellness

Explore how student, faculty, and community initiatives to promote combined human and environmental well-being empower Temple’s journey to a more collective, equitable, and sustainable future.

What does Environmental Wellness look like?

Promoting environmental wellness is a crucial part of the Office of Sustainability’s goal, as established in the 2019 Climate Action Plan, to create a more inclusive and permeating sustainable culture on campus. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Environmental Wellness Dimension involves being able to be safe and feel safe. This can include accessing clean air, food, and water; preserving the areas where we live, learn, and work; occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support our well-being; and promoting learning, contemplation, and relaxation in natural places and spaces.

To pursue this goal, The Office and key partners at Temple Ambler, Student Activities, and the Wellness Resource Center have developed several student-focused programs, academic and community engagement initiatives.

Nature-based Wellness at Ambler Campus

The Ambler Campus provides opportunities for Temple and greater community members alike to develop a healthy relationship with nature through various educational programs and activities. The Ambler Arboretum’s membership in the Campus Nature Rx Network – a network of 70 colleges and universities dedicated to supporting campus mental and physical health through inclusive and equitable nature engagement teaching, research, and outreach – exemplifies their innovative leadership in promoting environmental wellness.

During Temple’s October 2022 Wellness Day, the Ambler Campus hosted a diverse range of programming including yoga in the gardens, guided mindfulness activities, self-guided nature scavenger hunts, a succulent planting workshop, and a facilitated experience on the challenge course to promote student wellbeing through environmental engagement.

Ambler Campus’ Recreation, Outdoor Education, and Wellness (ROW) department draws upon the growing body of research suggesting a connection between outdoor activity and increased positive mental health outcomes to provide outdoor recreation education for students and community members alike.

One such initiative is the ROW program’s collaboration with the Philadelphia Outward Bound School (POBS) to provide training opportunities for volunteer trip leaders – expanding access to outdoor leadership opportunities for Philadelphia youth.

Climate Cafes: Peer-Facilitated Environmental Wellness Programming

Climate Cafes are unique therapeutic models for individuals experiencing climate grief or eco-anxiety that create an informal, open, respectful, and confidential space to safely share emotional responses and reactions to the climate emergency.

During these sessions, EcoReps from the Office of Sustainability, trained to facilitate climate cafes by the North American Climate Psychology Alliance, guided over 50 students of all different majors to come together to share intimate feelings of grief, anxiety, guilt and helplessness – enabling deep connection and dialogue amongst like-minded peer facilitators.

By sharing their diverse perspectives and approaches to interacting with climate and the environment, students created an interdisciplinary and holistic experience where peers learn from each other, coming together to work through and process shared climate grief intellectually, cognitively and emotionally.  

Interested in environmental wellness? Check out these upcoming opportunities.

Self care fair

Join the Wellness Resource Center and Student Activities on Tuesday, March 19 from 1-3 pm in the HGSC room 200 for their bi-annual Self Care Fair. Students will get the chance to find community and learn skills and strategies for a joyful life by connecting with campus resources and partaking in mindfulness activities.

Save the Date: Arbor Day at Ambler

Celebrate Arbor Day on April 26 at Ambler Campus alongside Temple community members and the public with a dynamic mix of interactive performances and experiential activities that promote self-care, community care, and planetary wellness like a Recreational Therapy conference, the Ambler Arboretum’s launching of an Art in Nature application, and the Ambler Research Symposium, Follow @templeambler on Instagram for updates on the event.

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