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Business Officer Magazine
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Business Intel

A roundup of short news articles and useful resources for business officers

CAMPUS OPERATIONS
A Healthy Enhancement to Student Wellness

For many students, college life includes initial experiences in making their own food and lifestyle choices—decisions that have the potential to develop into lifelong habits. To make healthier choices a little bit easier on campuses across the country, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is launching its Healthier Campus Initiative. Through this effort, PHA will broker commitments with colleges and universities to make their campuses healthier by adopting guidelines around food and nutrition, physical activity, and programming.

"Colleges and universities play an integral role in preparing students for what lies ahead, and a central piece of that is learning healthy habits that will last a lifetime," says PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. "The PHA Healthier Campus Initiative aims to create an environment in which physical activity and healthier eating are integrated into students' daily lives, so these healthier habits become second nature."

PHA works with the private sector to secure commitments that make healthier choices more accessible and affordable, regardless of where people live, work, or play. PHA also ensures that commitments are kept, by publicly reporting on the progress partners make.

From child-care providers to food manufacturers, from sporting good brands to media companies, from hospitals to food service providers, PHA's partners vary widely, as do their agreements. For example, grocers across the country are bringing new stores to underserved areas.

Because partners and participating institutions demonstrate dedication to creating a healthier society, PHA works to celebrate success and spread the word about the real changes these companies, organizations, and academic institutions are making. (Go to http://ahealthieramerica.org for examples.)

Better Eating, More Movement

For the past several years, healthier trends, such as more nutritious dining options and access to bike-sharing programs, have been spreading across college campuses. Unfortunately, at the same time, students' overweight and obesity rates continue to increase. "A Prospective Study of Weight Gain During the College Freshman and Sophomore Years" published in 2010 by the National Institutes of Health indicates that those rates increase by more than 15 percent during the first year in college, while most college students do not meet dietary and physical activity guidelines.

fast fact

"Subsidies for public higher education institutions have hit a 10-year low, while students for the first time pay on average half or more of their education's cost. This represents an 18 to 22 percent increase at public four-year institutions over the decade."

–Trends in College Spending: 2001–2011, a report by the Delta Cost Project at the American Institutes for Research

By signing onto the new initiative, college and university campuses will work to change this reality, and build on the efforts already taking place across the nation. For example, the new Instant Recess program gives students, faculty members, and staff at the University of California, Los Angeles, the opportunity to fit in a few minutes of movement—from Frisbee, to hula hooping, to jogging—before heading off to classes or studies.

In addition, UCLA recently opened the Bruin Plate (named after the university's sports teams), which is one of the first completely health-themed dining halls in the country. With all entrees coming in under 400 calories, the B-Plate is designed to make a simple but healthier eating choice.

Customized Programs

Working with a group of the nation's leading nutrition, physical activity, and campus wellness experts, PHA has set guidelines that colleges and universities can "mix and match" to develop the best plan for their respective campuses.

Some of the guidelines include: 

Food and nutrition

  • Provide healthier food and beverage services in campus-operated dining venues.
  • Select healthier optionsfor vending machines.
  • Increase local food in campus dining service.

Physical activity

  • Create a built environment that encourages active forms of transportation on campus, including access to walking and bicycle paths.
  • Encourage student physical activity and movement through extended gym hours, fitness assessments, daily activity breaks, and other activities.
  • Provide access to personal trainers on campus.

Programming

  • Implement comprehensive wellness programs for individuals on campus.
  • Offer other wellness programs, including activities that address food security, service learning, and cooking skills.

When colleges and universities sign onto the Healthier Campus Initiative, they become a part of a broader network dedicated to turning the healthy choice into the easy choice.

RESOURCE LINK For more information on how to join the Healthier Campus Initiative, contact Sara John, communication coordinator, sjohn@ahealthieramerica.org

SUBMITTED BY Stacy Molander, vice president, strategic initiatives, the Partnership for a Healthier America, Washington, D.C., smolander@ahealthieramerica.org

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By the Numbers: Student Loan Debt, 2014 

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QUICK CLICKS

Owning Up to Finite Facilities Budgets

www.sightlines.com/insight/state-of-facilities-2014

The 2014 State of Facilities in Higher Education, an annual report of Sightlines, indicates continuing fiscal challenges that directly influence physical assets. For example, with capital needs for facilities continuing to grow, campus spaces built in the 1950s and '60s demand renewal at the same time that the more-complex buildings constructed since 1995 require attention to keep them operating efficiently. All this is occurring during a period in which capital and operating investments for campus facilities have fallen and remain below FY09 levels in terms of real dollars. The report outlines some strategies colleges and universities are implementing as a result, including (1) analytic review of campus land use and building scale, sometimes choosing to consolidate functions housed in many small buildings into a larger, more efficient facility, and (2) investing more in annual capital upkeep of facilities to shift the focus away from short-term corrections, thus slowing the growth of deferred maintenance.

Updated NASFAA Resource

www.nasfaa.org

In late July, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) released an updated edition of its annual federal student aid primer. The National Student Aid Profile is designed to inform policy makers, the media, and other stakeholders about the facts surrounding student debt issues and funding. With the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in full swing, the profile includes recommendations on a variety of fronts, "with many intended to reduce student debt and borrowing and make the student aid programs easier to access," says NASFAA President Justin Draeger.

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RISK MANAGEMENT
Profiles of Fraud Perpetrators

*New research by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) sheds light on the risk of occupational fraud (stealing from employers or clients). In its study Profile of a Fraudster, the association reviewed nearly 1,500 fraud cases, gathered from the experiences of its own members.

Understanding the characteristics of those who may commit internal theft can help identify and quantify where such risks might exist within the organization or institution. Here are a few of the many conclusions highlighted in the report:

  • The higher the perpetrator's authority, the greater the fraud losses.
  • The majority of fraud is committed by individuals working in one of only seven departments.
  • The vast majority of occupational fraud is committed by first-time offenders.
  • Collusion helps employees evade independent checks and other antifraud controls, allowing for theft of larger amounts.
  • Occupational fraudsters often exhibit certain behaviors that can be warning signs of potential crimes (including living beyond means and maintaining close relationships with vendors or customers).

Interestingly, most fraudsters work for their employers for years before they begin to steal. Therefore, ongoing monitoring of employee behavior and an understanding of risk factors and warning signs are much more likely to identify fraud than pre-employment background checks.

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