The Student Wellbeing Week has been organised several times in recent years. What exactly does this week aim to achieve?

“As a university, we want to show people that we place top priority on student wellbeing and their personal development. During this week, we organise lots of activities related to wellbeing to demonstrate what Erasmus University offers its students. It’s important for students, but also for lecturers, to not merely focus on getting good grades, but also on personal development. To look for the person behind the student. It’s also great fun with activities for everyone.”

You organise workshops like kickboxing and self-defence, as well as activities like ice baths and ‘speed friending’. How do you know whether this week will really be useful for students?

“Obviously, we need to wait and see the evaluation and reactions we receive later from students, but many students reacted positively to the previous Student Wellbeing Weeks. We therefore hope that students will feel motivated to incorporate such physical or creative activities into their lives, because it’s important not just to be cognitively active but also to physically take a break.

“Besides physical and creative activities, we offer lots of workshops after the wellbeing week too. If you’re a perfectionist and that causes you problems, you can take part in a course on managing perfectionism. And there are lots of other wellbeing workshops.”

Rianne van der Zanden1 – Floris Vlasveld
Image credit: Floris Rietveld

What have you learned from previous Student Wellbeing Weeks?

“In the previous weeks, we sometimes had more famous people coming to give talks, but students tended to see that as a kind of lecture. We noticed that students prefer to be actively involved. During this wellbeing week, they can let off steam, have new experiences and make new contacts with their fellow students, for example. This is particularly important since the pandemic, when many students felt unhappy and sometimes developed serious mental problems. Obviously, it’s good to study, that’s what university is there for, but it’s also important to be mindful of the person behind the student. That’s something we really want to emphasise.

The Living Room has reopened on campus What role is the Living Room playing this week?

“We are organising many different workshops, but we also need an area where students can play games or relax in the massage chairs, which are very popular among the students. We have also introduced the personal support centre, which will stay open after the week too. Students can come here with all kinds of questions. Trained students are available there who can answer your questions.

“For students, this is easier than going to a confidential advisor or study advisors, for example. If they have a problem, they can immediately come here. This is way of removing the taboo. Students shouldn’t feel ashamed. At this point in their lives, things change fast, and they need to make rapid choices. That can cause stress and uncertainty. A support centre like this can help. If the student needs more support, they can be referred to professionals in the university.”

students working on their self-portrait for an nft – Urmi Vallassery

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