Northwestern Alva Campus named Certified Healthy Campus

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Northwestern Alva Campus named Certified Healthy Campus

March 8, 2016

Catherine Engelken, Richard BurdickCatherine Engelken, assistant director (left) and Richard Burdick, director (right) of the J.R. Holder Wellness Center, were presented the award for Certificate of Merit for Certified Healthy Campus on behave of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Alva campus.

The Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva Campus recently was named a Certified Healthy Campus by the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Center for the Advancement of Wellness, a branch of the Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program.

On Wednesday, March 2, Northwestern was recognized with a Certificate of Merit at the awards ceremony in Norman.

The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program is a free statewide certification that showcases organizations and communities that are committed to fostering environments that support healthy choices. More than 2,000 applications were submitted this year to the program. The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program began in 2003 as a collaborative initiative with four founding partners — the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma State Chamber and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The Certified Healthy Campus Program began in 2011 in order to recognize both public and private post-secondary campuses and career technology centers that promote health and wellness for their employees, students and visitors.

Director of the J.R. Holder Wellness Center Richard Burdick and Assistant Director Catherine Engelken started the push for the initiative to become a certified healthy campus. Although the Northwestern campus is now certified Burdick and Engelken want to continue to improve campus. A Wellness Committee, broken down into a student committee and an employee committee, helps to ensure campus wellness. The Student Wellness Committee meets monthly to come up with new challenges or class ideas.

“We’re trying to improve and to change constantly,” Burdick said. “We try as much as possible with all forms of health and wellness to incorporate our students as much as full-time faculty and staff. Receiving the certificate lets the community, students, staff and faculty know we are moving forward and trying to better the campus. “We’re trying to create a healthier campus, not just getting a certificate, but putting the achievement into action by making leaps and bounds to improve on certain areas.”

“It was a rewarding experience,” Engelken said about receiving the certificate.

Burdick and Engelken encourage everyone, from beginners to experts, to use the wellness center to its full potential.

“Come check it out,” Burdick said. “Don’t worry about failing or not knowing what you’re doing. The wellness center is a judgment-free zone, and we’re here to help you. Our student staff members are as helpful as possible, especially with people who aren’t as comfortable with the process of working out. Don’t ever hesitate to come up and ask us questions.”

To anyone on the fence about incorporating more physical activity into their lives Engelken said, “Try to find your place to plug in. We have group classes, six to seven different classes, at a varying skill levels. Our instructors are not only knowledgeable but incredibly welcoming… Come meet people, too. This is a great place to network if you are off-campus. It’s a very positive environment.”

The campus application consists of eight standards: integration with the learning mission of higher education; collaborative practice; cultural competence; tobacco, drug, alcohol, and mental health issues; health, wellness, safety; and professional development/continuing education.

There are three levels of certification: basic, merit and excellence. The Certificate of Merit was rewarded to the Northwestern-Alva campus as a healthy campus.

The J.R. Holder Wellness Center is free of charge to full-time students and employees. For those outside of the university, can get a membership on daily, monthly, semi-annual and annual basis. For more information on membership fees visit

For more information about overall health wellness or events and exercise schedules “Like” the wellness center on Facebook For questions contact Engelken at (580) 327-8105 or, and contact Burdick at (580) 327-8109 or