“The university has a wide range of initiatives that have been set up around student welfare – particularly over the past few weeks. We want to bring them together and offer them online via a single platform,” says project champion Rianne van der Zanden. Van der Zanden works at the university as programme manager for student welfare projects. “We’ve been planning to bring everything together in one spot for some time now, but corona has definitely accelerated the process.”
The platform has been structured on the basis of different ‘welfare themes’, explains Van der Zanden. For example, students can find tips and information about online learning and planning under the cognitive welfare theme, or information and modules about how to deal with depression or anxiety under mental welfare. The platform also offers links to organisations that can offer students professional help with specific problems.
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But you can also visit the site for info and support in the areas of physical and social well-being. For example, Erasmus Sport offers online yoga sessions and other workouts, while the Food Lab shares all sorts of healthy recipes. Student associations will also be posting their online activities on the platform. And EUR’s student pastor, who is happy to talk about any big questions you may have, is offering online consultation hours that focus on students’ spiritual welfare.
The website also includes the option to chat live with trained fellow students. This service was set up especially for students who are struggling with questions about their personal welfare, or who need a sympathetic ear. “In a short period of time, we have managed to train some twenty students via Zoom to handle this job. They will be working in shifts to help students in need of support.”
Students’ welfare is important to the university. Van der Zanden says the team had been thinking about setting up a platform like this for some time already. “The same evening that the government announced it would be ordering the closure of all bars and restaurants, several colleagues and I received an e-mail from the university asking whether we could set up something. No problem: the plans for strengthening our student welfare programme – including the current online platform – had already been written.”
During his interview on Erasmus TV this morning, Rector Magnificus Rutger Engels said he was ‘proud’ that this platform could be set up in such a short time span. “These are uncertain times. The majority of our students – some 80 percent – are doing relatively well. But a share of them – including many of international students – feel quite worried. We want to facilitate and support them through this initiative.”
Students can visit the platform by logging in with their ERNA account on my.eur.nl. EUR staff members can check out the platform via this link.