HOPE-Informed University

“Integrating the HOPE framework into SDSU’s current well-being support system will connect and inspire the university at a broad level and allow for continued opportunity for improvements to the holistic health of student, faculty, and staff.”
Dean Steven Hooker, College of Health and Human Services

SDSU: HOPE Happens Here!

The Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) framework is based on the research of Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs). PCEs have shown promise in mitigating the impact of toxic stress on children and families. PCEs allow children to form strong relationships and meaningful connections, cultivate positive self-image and self-worth, experience a sense of belonging, and build skills to cope with stress in healthy ways.

By promoting access to positive experiences throughout university life, the HOPE framework offers a potential strategy to counter the negative consequences of ACEs and foster healthier outcomes for children as they mature into adulthood. The HOPE framework has four evidence-based building blocks which include Relationships, Environment, Engagement, and Emotional Growth. The graphic shows how the Social Policy Institute (SPI) has expanded the HOPE framework’s building blocks to be inclusive across the lifespan.

Hope Building BlocksSPI is passionate about bringing the HOPE framework to San Diego State University (SDSU) and expanding its application outside of childhood to college students. We believe that HOPE will be a unifying umbrella for all the initiatives that currently exist on SDSU’s campus. We also believe that HOPE will identify the areas that need to be strengthened. Below you will find the vision, mission, next steps, and timeline for this project.


To establish SDSU as the first Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) Informed University in the country, where the environment offers equitable access to a range of positive experiences that foster a sense of belonging, mattering, physical and psychological safety, individual growth, and dignity at a comprehensive level. We are committed to collaboratively repairing harm where it occurs and cultivating inner strength and resilience in and with students. We desire to create a campus culture where everyone can show up on campus as their authentic self and have access to opportunities for growth. We imagine HOPE spreading organically within and throughout academic, personal/family, and professional communities on campus for generations to come.


The mission of integrating the HOPE Framework throughout SDSU’s health and wellness infrastructure includes:

  • Analyzing the wellness resources offered at SDSU through the research-backed lens of the Four Building Blocks that promote positive experiences and aligning them with the HOPE Framework.
  • Centering student voice and engagement in guiding the HOPE framework at SDSU.
  • Creating additional HOPE Informed wellness and health offerings at SDSU.
  • Developing a “HOPE Checklist Self-Assessment” to connect departments and organizations across campus to ensure they are fostering specific elements of positive experiences.
  • Increasing awareness regarding the impact of Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) on lifelong wellbeing.
  • Providing equitable access and agency for individuals across the lifespan to seek out PCEs in the SDSU community.
  • Using an anti-racist framework, HOPE seeks to maintain diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of engagement.

Hope Happens Here timeline

If you are interested in joining the HOPE Guide Team or learning more about the HOPE project, email Yvonne Epps at yepps@sdsu.edu or Jakob Schmall at jbschmall@sdsu.edu


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