Just for the Health of It

Healthy U Wellness Challenge 2014
Wellness Homepage

The client

Campus Rec wants to be the leader in Urban university recreation - as a department, we gauge our efforts not just on what we see before us, but make sure to strive to reach the highest standards of the recreation field.  To that end, we hope to mirror the Portland State's commitment to leading on national issues around sustainability while becoming known as a University that creates a nationally recognized adaptive sports environment.

The Healthy U Wellness Challenge is a 9-week competition open to PSU students, faculty, and staff to foster physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, intellectual, social, and environmental wellness campus wide. Individuals and teams can earn prizes by accumulating points in three categories: Healthy Habits, Exercise, and Event Participation. The Challenge begins on January 13 and runs through March 9. Registration is open to all members of the PSU community on December 2 at Member Services inside the Rec Center. Members pay $10 ($7 earlybird), and non-members pay $20 ($14 earlybird) and receive a 6-visit pass.

What they needed

Last year the Healthy U Wellness Challenge site was migrated to the Drupal 7 framework to allow for sustainable code-creation and security adjustments. Unfortunately, last year was a rush for site content and the basic framework for logging points. 

As we approached the new year, our goal was to take something that was significantly better than the last two years and make it great. We had several different goals as we approached this new design:

  • Make it mobile, make it great (theme)
  • Expand on the functionality of the Healthy Habits and exercise minutes
  • Put the power of the Team in the hands of the users
  • Create a more efficient system for accessing the site


Extensive work over a period of several months and Agile phases was applied to the existing module and theme. This expanded one module to a suite of four modules designed around the user. Banking off of the flexible Zen theme framework and incorporating responsive elements such as Flexslider, we created a redesigned, responsive theme for 2014. 

The Habits and exercise minutes module was adjusted to include: point logging, exercise minutes, pre-/post-challenge surveys, assessment reporting, Team management, and more. This resulted in the one module being split into four abstracted modules, thus increasing the maintainability of the code.


  • Responsive, user-experience site, focusing on the usability on a mobile device.
  • Custom set of PHP-built modules for the Healthy U Wellness Challenge.
  • Published work on Github for transparency and examples for other institutions.
  • Users given control of their experience. Teams managed by fellow users (rather than interns)
  • Connection to the Portland State CAS Single Sign-On solution (eliminating additional account required for all PSU participants).


Linux, Apache, PHP, MySQL, Drupal 7, Github, Asana, HelpScout