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Healthy Habits Starting Here

Students and staff dancing outside for exercise.
The Semel HCI (Healthy Campus Initiative) Center at UCLA aims to make UCLA the healthiest place to work, learn, and live.

UCLA’s work to benefit the world starts with Bruins on campus. Take the Semel HCI (Healthy Campus Initiative) Center at UCLA: By aiming to make UCLA the healthiest place to work, learn, and live, it has become an international model for promoting well-being.

An Influential Initiative

Envisioned and funded in 2012 by Jane and Terry Semel, the initiative has put caring for self and others front and center. Its achievements include:

  • Expanding life skills courses and launching a food studies minor
  • Funding student projects ranging from helping food-insecure students to music-inspired breaks
  • Making UCLA a tobacco-free campus
  • Creating the jane b semel HCI Community Garden and medicinal gardens
  • Upgrading dining options to the nation’s best for the last three years
  • Starting one of the country’s first campuswide diabetes prevention programs
  • Inspiring the UC Healthy Campus Network, UC Global Food Initiative, and nationwide Healthier Campus Initiative

“Expanding the definition of ‘healthy’ to include social engagement, mental well-being, the built environment, and more is something the center has made great efforts to encourage,” says Fiona Zhang ’20. “Being part of it has opened my eyes to different resources and helped me practice mindfulness.”

A Gift to Gain Ground

Now the Semels, who have benefited many UCLA areas for more than 25 years, have made a new gift to establish the Semel HCI Center at UCLA, providing permanent resources for student participation, research projects, and campuswide programs. Funds will accelerate efforts to enhance social and emotional well-being and build a culture of health.

“The Healthy Campus Initiative has spread across the campus, creating a kind and compassionate community, and is setting an example for others to follow,” says Jane Semel, who contributes beyond philanthropy by attending meetings, tending the gardens, and encouraging all involved.

A Celebration of Collaboration

The Semels’ gift was announced at an annual celebration on May 9 at Pauley Pavilion. This year’s event focused on social engagement, featuring panels of experts and student leaders and remarks from Jane Semel, the center’s Associate Vice Provost Wendelin Slusser, Chancellor Gene Block, and author and journalist Maria Shriver. Appropriately, the theme was “HCI Revolution: Together We Thrive!”

Thanks to the Semels’ generosity, Bruins are getting on board — and on bikes and hikes and meditation mats — for well-being.

Published September 2018

Three individuals of varied ages plant in a community garden.

Students and staff exercise healthy habits.

Group of UCLA staff and students prepare to ride new UCLA-branded Bruin Bikes.

Students and staff exercise healthy habits.

A professor prepares food samples for students in a classroom.

Students and staff exercise healthy habits.

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