The Wellness Environment (WE) at the University of Vermont (UVM) is an innovative program designed to instill healthy behaviors in students at their most vulnerable ages — their college years. In essence, it empowers students to make better choices while their brains are still maturing — and maintain these healthy habits throughout their adult life.
As part of an immersive program based around four pillars of wellness — mindfulness, yoga, fitness and nutrition — they needed an app to incentivize students to engage in these positive behaviors.
When the WE team approached Green Mountain Software to develop their app, we were thrilled to take on the challenge. To succeed in promoting these behaviors, the app needed to succeed in engaging the students who use it — on their terms. The result is an app based around the iPhone and Apple Watch that utilizes chatbot technology and iBeacons to intelligently interact with students based on time of day and where they are.
Wake up in the morning and WE Cat may ask you how you slept. Head to the dining hall and WE Cat will ask you to log your food. Walk past the gym, and WE Cat will give you a gentle reminder to work out. WE Cat also tells you about Wellness Events of the day, encourages you to work out, chill out and meditate, and take a daily survey about your day. With interactive dialogs developed by students, WE Cat speaks their language.
Pioneered by Professor James Hudziak, M.D., WE is significantly reducing substance abuse on campus and earning national attention for its groundbreaking approach.