COMPASS, formerly known as Healthy Expectations, is a project developed by George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health. Developed in 2005, COMPASS represents one part of an overall programmatic initiative designed to help new students make a healthy transition to college. While the content can be valuable for students and others of all ages, it is designed with particular attention to the unique transition considerations faced by a student new to the college environment.
Designed at George Mason University, the initial intent was to prepare a resource that helps students maximize their success in college. COMPASS was conceptualized and written in a way that could easily be useful for college students at any college or university in the nation. While some issues are unique to a specific campus or setting, most issues found with the transition to the college experience are fairly common across the nation. The local campus-based applications of COMPASS are found with the local resources segment as well as personalized discussions among staff and students. Similarly, the reflection and planning worksheets are helpful as a guide for individual students taking charge of their own lives, with these serve as general guides and helpful frameworks. Thus, what was initially written for Mason students is quite applicable and appropriate for other students throughout the nation.
Initial funding for this project was provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Ultimately, the project focuses on the reduction of high risk drinking among college students through attention to the root causes of alcohol abuse. The innovative strategies seek to promote life health planning within the context of social norms marketing. A more extensive explanation of this approach is elaborated upon further in the background information section found on the project’s web site.
The foundation for COMPASS is the Life Health Pyramid, a construct of seven life health themes specified to address the ‘root causes’ of drug/alcohol abuse. If individuals, particularly young people, are engaged with the process of ‘life health planning’, it is believed they are less likely to become harmfully involved with drugs or alcohol. The seven life health principles and Life Health Planning are based on Charting Your Course: A Life-long Guide to Health and Compassion. This book also contains legacy letters by a wide range of individuals, promoting strategies for young adults to live the healthiest and most productive lives.
In 2006, the Healthy Expectations project (of which COMPASS is a part) was named as a recipient of “Model Program” funding by the U. S. Department of Education. This new funding promotes dissemination of this initiative with college and university students throughout the nation. The contents of this resource were developed under a grant from the U. S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U. S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.Back To About COMPASS Homepage
Begin Your Journey
Click the COMPASS Logo to begin your COMPASS journey!
COMPASS Topic Resources
Visit this wonderful resource page of 31 different health topics (such as time management, financial management, study skills, alcohol, sleep, and more). Click some of the pictures below to read about a health topic.
At Mason, we are providing this to help you make healthier choices, and to connect you with the vast array of resources that exist.