New survey gives students opportunity to create healthier campus

person holding a smartphone

York University students will be invited to participate in the Canadian Campus Wellbeing Survey (CCWS) from Feb. 28 to March 18, a confidential survey designed to give students a voice in how to create a healthier campus.

The survey gives students an opportunity to provide feedback about their personal experiences with health and well-being on campus, and will offer  the University insight on how to support student well-being and enhance services.

The CCWS will help inform the University’s well-being initiatives and shed light on the health and well-being needs of students so staff, faculty and service areas can better support them, says York’s Assistant Director of Well-being Tina Ranta.

“There’s a lot of upcoming work that York University will be doing around how we’re approaching well-being, and how we look at the University as an interdependent environment. It’s really looking at the wellness of the whole community,” Ranta says. “Staff, faculty and instructors will be able to understand the needs of students a little differently so they’re able to shift and adapt to how they’re able to respond to those needs.”

A survey for Canadian post-secondary institutions

The CCWS is a confidential survey for Canadian post-secondary institutions and is part of a national study coordinated by the University of British Columbia (UBC). This is the first time York has participated in this survey, having previously issued the American National College Health Assessment (NCHA) since 2013.

Ranta says while the NCHA was an important survey that led to several health and well-being programming improvements across campus, having a Canadian-focused survey like the CCWS will provide York with information about the unique needs of Canadian post-secondary students.

“The questions for the CCWS are similar to NCHA except it takes a trauma-informed approach to gathering Canadian-relevant data that reflects the diversity within our student communities. Questions are based on a validated scale commonly used within Canada for research,” she says.

York plans to issue the CCWS every three years. The questions are from well-established surveys often used in Canadian populations, and focus on nine main areas:

  • mental health assets
  • mental health deficits
  • student experience
  • health service utilization
  • physical health/health behaviours 
  • academic achievement
  • substance use
  • food security 
  • sexual health behaviour

“The survey results will help with shaping programs and supports and services on campus. It is a great opportunity for students to express their voice, and be heard in a safe way, because the data that York receives back from UBC will be de-identified,” says Ranta.

The survey will be open to all York University students, who will receive a personalized link by email during the week of Feb. 28 to March 4 from “” The survey takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

After the survey period, data analysis will begin. York expects to receive the results back in time for the summer, says Ranta. Data can then be used to inform well-being initiatives and programming across York. Previous data from the NCHA surveys have led to the implementation of:

  • York’s previous mental health strategy;
  • York’s student alcohol strategy;
  • peer health education programming;
  • the former Wellness Hub;
  • accessible suicide safety training programs safeTALK and ASIST; and
  • peer programs designed to address the largest stressors for students: careers, finances and academics.

Students can win prizes

Once students complete the assessment, they will have the opportunity to be entered into a draw, separate from the survey, for a chance to win one of the following prizes:   

  • one iPhone 13 Pro with 128GB (valued at $1,399)  
  • one of 3: Fit Bit Versa 3 (valued at $300)  
  • one of 5: $100 Amazon gift cards  
  • one of 10: $50 Uber Eats gift cards  
  • one of 20: York Lions gear (valued at $10 to $20 each)   

For more information about the survey, visit the CCWS website. For questions about this project at York or how York plans to use the results, contact Tina Ranta at For questions about the survey, please email the CCWS at