UBCO joins global network of Age Friendly Universities
In June 2022, the University of British Columbia Okanagan became the 8th Canadian university, and third in Western Canada to join the Age Friendly University global network. The Age Friendly University (AFU) network is comprised of institutions of higher education around the globe who have formalized their commitment to improving the age-friendliness of their policies, programs, and spaces. Joining this network positions UBC Okanagan as not only a leader in research on aging but also as an institution committed to being inclusive to all. The AFU principles can be applied beyond the realm of “age” and speak to the overall importance of diversity, accessibility, and inclusivity in higher learning, ultimately improving the campus experience for all.
The AFU network asks members to evaluate their institutions on the 10 AFU principles. The Aging In Place research cluster at UBC Okanagan carried out a preliminary assessment of how the university is meeting these principles. The information gained was subsequently used to develop surveys targeted for and released to current campus staff, faculty and students as well as retirees and the local community to understand perceptions of age-friendliness at UBC Okanagan. This information has been compiled into a comprehensive report detailing the existing strengths and areas needing improvement at UBC Okanagan (download below). Our findings illustrate that students and faculty value and want older adults to participate on campus, that our campus is relatively physically accessible and that efforts are needed to increase older adult participation on campus and improve retiree engagement.
The full report reviews the findings from this assessment in detail, and positions opportunities to become more age friendly that align within UBC Okanagan’s Aspire themes:
- Research Excellence
- Transformative Learning
- Community Engagement
The Aging In Place research cluster looks forward to continuing to work with UBC Okanagan to find ways to make our campus more age friendly with the support of this global network.