The University of Vermont Wellness Environment: Feasibility and Initial Results of a College Undergraduate Health-Promoting Program
Yang Bai, William E. Copeland, Zoe Adams, Matthew Lerner, Jessica A. King, Steve Szopinski, Vinay Devadanam, Jeff Rettew, & Jim Hudziak
The University of Vermont (UVM) Wellness Environment (WE), an incentive-based program focused on health promotion, illness prevention, and behavioral change, is hypothesized to improve health and academic outcomes by incentivizing behaviors that promote positive brain health and decrease normative risk for alcohol and drug use in college students. This article discusses the feasibility and initial results of the program. Initial feasibility results indicate that it is possible to collect high-quality data through periodic questionnaires and daily surveys related to key outcomes, including drug and alcohol use, health-promoting behaviors, academic performance, and continued enrollment/ retention. Although in its early stages and only reliably tested in those students who live in the WE, the UVM WE program has demonstrated that if given the chance to make healthy decisions, students will embrace it, and have better academic and behavioral outcomes and far less negative alcohol or conduct violations. While these results are promising, they are not causal.