Six new universities have joined the Healthy Campus programme run by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), bringing the total involved to 57 from 33 countries.
The project, launched in May 2020, aims to enhance all aspects of health and well-being for students on university campuses worldwide, through the structured promotion of physical activity and healthy practices.
The latest entrants are Ulster University, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, University of Malaga, Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, University of Antwerp and Guangdong Polytechnic College of Agriculture.
"It is very satisfying that programme continues to grow with great interest from FISU members," said Fernando Parente, FISU director of Healthy Campus and Universities Relations.
"Many universities contact us to learn more about the certification process."
Several universities have already received certification of this internationally renowned label, with Peking University, University of Porto, University of Lausanne, University of Coimbra, National University of La Matanza, University of Algarve and ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon among those that led the way.
The most recent universities to achieve certification are the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Ireland, the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia and University of Lucerne.
Katie Redmond, manager of WIT Vikings Sport, partners with WIT, said: "Together with Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), WIT Vikings Sport are delighted to be part of the FISU Healthy Campus Programme, an exciting global initiative that embeds health and wellbeing into all aspects of campus culture, which in turn improves our student’s lifestyles.
"We are very proud to be the first in Ireland to obtain the certification.
"In this first phase of the FISU Healthy Campus programme, we collected all the good practices we already had in place from the different services, departments and schools within WIT."
Pariente added: "As soon as a university reaches the certification level, the 40 validated criteria out of 100, we begin to evaluate good practices.
"The 10 universities that have reached this level have all developed exceptional work in general, namely in the area of physical activity and sport for the entire community, as well as giving special attention to mental health, particularly in these pandemic times."
One of the additional motivations for universities to join FISU Healthy Campus is that the programme also provides information and guidance within the scope of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs) of the United Nations.
In addition, it is an excellent opportunity for the members of the programme to gain access to exclusive information and best practices from other universities around the world.
"Participation in the FISU Healthy Campus programme is part of the University of Algarve’s strategy to promote health and well-being, which we have been doing since 2018," said Saúl Neves de Jesus, vice rector of the University of Algarve.
"It is with great satisfaction that we have achieved the gold level certification of the FISU Healthy Campus label," he added.