Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate – Media, 610.740.3790


Cedar Crest's "Health Connection" Beats NYU and Syracuse to Claim Gold Award

Allentown, PA (February 8, 2006) – The Health Connection at Cedar Crest College was selected as the Gold Award winner in the category of Student Health, Wellness and Counseling by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). NASPA chose Cedar Crest's program from a national pool of program entries that included Silver Award winner New York University and Bronze Award winner Syracuse University. The award, given in recognition of the efforts that college campuses are making to encourage healthier lifestyle choices, is part of the annual NASPA Excellence Awards.

"We are committed to promoting health of mind, body and spirit in our students, faculty and staff and have seen great success with this program," says Joan Laffey, dean of student affairs and one of the key developers of The Health Connection. "The Cedar Crest community is thrilled that our program has been singled out among hundreds of campuses as the best in this category."

Stories about the "Freshman 15" and binge drinking are relatively common on today's college campuses. Recent studies, however, have shown that health issues among America's college students may go even deeper -- and with far greater consequences. In fact, some studies have demonstrated that students, more often than not, leave college less healthy than when they entered – having picked up unsafe habits including poor eating, smoking, unprotected/unsafe sex, sleep depravation, lack of exercise and stress.

In 2003, Cedar Crest embarked on a mission to improve the health of its students in a multi-pronged, research based, College-wide initiative, The Health Connection, which integrates co-curricular programs with the sciences and liberal arts. As a women's college with a history of meeting national needs and building strength in the health sciences, Cedar Crest is developing a model interdisciplinary program of health and wellness that, in time, can be used by other universities to meet similar goals.

With three main components – education, experience and research – The Health Connection includes credit and non-credit courses in health and wellness, lectures and an annual conference on health and wellness; a unique personal training, fitness and nutrition program called Healthy U; and The Longitudinal Health Study, a comprehensive annual survey that will track students' changes in health beliefs and practices and continue to follow them after graduation.

Since its inception, The Health Connection has seen measured successes in each of its components such as:

34 courses in Health and Wellness
A minor in Health and Wellness
More than 1500 total pounds lost to date by participants
64 percent of students surveyed reached their Healthy U goal
A dramatic increase in fitness center usage

The Health Connection at Cedar Crest College will be recognized as a Gold Award winner at NASPA's annual national conference in March 2006 and will, at that time, have the opportunity to be named the Grand Gold, Silver or Bronze medal winner out of all category winners.

Judged by experienced NASPA members, The Health Connection had to demonstrate a detailed set of criteria that included its relevance to Cedar Crest's mission, success in addressing student needs and/or critical campus issues and evidence of program sustainability.

For more information about The Health Connection and/or its components including photo, video, and interview opportunities, please contact the College Relations Office at 610-740-3790.


NASPA, student affairs administrators in higher education, is the leading voice for student affairs administration, policy and practice and affirms the commitment of student affairs to educating the whole student and integrating student life and learning. With 9,400 members at 1,400 campuses, and representing 29 countries, NASPA is the largest professional association for student affairs administrators, faculty and graduate students. NASPA members are committed to serving college students by embracing the core values of diversity, learning, integrity, service, fellowship and the spirit of inquiry.

NASPA serves its members with sponsored research, publications including a quarterly research journal and management magazine, a wide-range of professional development opportunities and mediums, as well as by advocating on behalf of students and educators.


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