The Mindful Campus Initiative

OCAD University

The Mindful Campus Initiative

To enhance students’ coping and resilience skills by incorporating mindfulness training and practice

Mindful Campus is designed to help emerging creatives develop skills and techniques that will support them in flourishing and adapting within today’s challenging times. The initiative includes mindfulness-training activities, in both self-directed and group-based experiential learning, to help students develop self-awareness, increase self-regulation, develop perspective-taking skills, learn coping skills, increase optimism and strengthen connections with the outcome of supporting them in their academic and personal success.

The program is modelled on mindfulness-based interventions for young adults developed and delivered by the Centre for Mindfulness Studies. These courses are being adapted to emphasize the development of coping and resilience skills specifically for art and design students.


Art and design student populations at OCADU, NSCAD, ACAD and other art colleges/universities across the country.



  • Link a comprehensive set of mental health promotion materials to a peer support network in order to foster student wellbeing and access to resources.
  • Increase student access to resources
  • Improve student wellbeing


The Mindful Campus Initiative has 5 distinct elements:

  1. Self-paced video lessons teaching students about mindfulness and how to practice it.
  2. In-person and virtual group classes for students
  3. Mindfulness training for staff and new student wellness peer support workers.
  4. Videos to help students practice mindfulness and talk about their health.
  5. Pop-up activities on campus to help students take a breather from their work, socialize, and learn more about mindfulness.



  • Virtual
  • University and College

Implementation sites

  • Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, Calgary, and Surrey


  • There was a recognized need to use a lens specifically catering to the niche of art and design students in order to relieve the stressors particular to this population.


Key protective factors

  • Social and emotional skills
  • Pro-social behaviour
  • Resiliency
  • Coping
  • School connectedness

Key approaches

  • Peer support
  • Mindfulness-centred



Adrienne Harper (