We are here for all your questions and problems
Welcome to our new blog. We hope to give you an exclusive look into the inner workings of the biggest student-led project our university has: the Student Wellbeing Point (SWP).
What started off as a critical exposition of the university’s efforts and a desperate plea for more cohesion and support for students’ wellbeing by last year’s University Student Council, has now turned into a full-fledged initiative. Since November, the SWP has had an incredibly cosy and central location next to the Student Desk. Situated right next to the offices which are used by other student wellbeing services, such as the Student Psychological Counselors, the SWP also offers the opportunity to speak in a private room. With a student-employee pool of which half are international students, the SWP is not only fully bilingual, but there will also always be a student present who can relate to your situation.
Despite a challenging pilot that immediately had to deal with the restricting Covid regulations, the Student Wellbeing Point has always managed to stay open (either physically or digitally) from 10-16h every weekday. So far, the Point Peers have already managed to help out over 200 students who visited the physical location or reached out digitally. In this recurring blog we will shed a light onto the personal experiences of these empathetic student employees, sharing tips, referrals and solutions to problems and questions students face.
To kick-off our blog, we wanted to introduce you to one of the most important key figures of our Project Team:
My name is Frieda Schaufeli and I am the Student Wellbeing Officer at the VU. This position was created in early 2021, after it became clear that issues surrounding student wellbeing needed to be addressed more structurally. This became clear, in part, because the corona crisis had magnified the problems prevalent among students. The past year I have therefore, together with colleagues from various departments, started to put student wellbeing more on the map. Among other things, we have drawn up a concept of the VU’s vision on student wellbeing. This vision conveys that we carry a shared responsibility at the VU.
The vision also emphasizes that safety and inclusiveness must be ensured at all times and that the institution works in co-creation with students on (new) initiatives. In this way, we ultimately want to increase awareness of wellbeing and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Prevention also plays a major role; we want to focus more on strengthening mental resilience and personal development. Next to this vision we have also worked on expanding and improving the information available about student wellbeing. In extension to this we organized the first VU Health & Wellbeing Week in November. Last but not least, I have been involved in setting up the Student Wellbeing Point and Panel. From the moment the USR presented this plan, I was very enthusiastic about it and the students who set it up are incredibly driven and professional. I have every confidence in this promising project.
Take a look at our Student Wellbeing Point (and Panel) page for more (contact) information and the most recent updates. The official launch is on Wednesday March 23rd, 15.00 hrs Agora-1.
Student Wellbeing Officer
PHOTO: Yvonne Compier