NKN: Students need perspective now more than ever
Not only does giving students the opportunity to work on a perspective have a positive effect on their current well-being, but also on their well-being long after the coronavirus crisis has faded away. This is one of the findings of the meeting on student well-being held last Monday by the Dutch Knowledge City Network (NKN: Netwerk Kennissteden Nederland). The meeting revolved around connecting students to their university and city, with a focus on health, the student community and housing.
Adolescents and young adults are also finding the measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus difficult to deal with. The need to contribute to society and gain new social experiences is stronger than ever at their life stage, and precisely this is being denied them. The lack of face-to face teaching and meetings with fellow students or lecturers on campus is therefore having an effect on student well-being.
The meeting, which was initiated and chaired by the mayor of Delft, Marja van Bijsterveldt, was attended by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, representatives of the knowledge cities, student organisations and higher education umbrella organisations, and by researchers, among others. Everyone present agreed that there was a need to offer perspective. The suggestion was made to create extra meeting spaces for students and to offer them culture vouchers as soon as the opportunity arose. Various parties are hard at work developing initiatives. These include the design of a coronavirus rapid testing street in Groningen and the field labs event scheduled for February. The decision was reached at the meeting to increase collaboration to examine how to provide all students with more perspective, while also making them part of the solution. This would mean that their knowledge and expertise would be fully exploited, and maximising their social impact.
Student well-being at the institutions
Student well-being is high on the agenda at Dutch universities. Although students are increasingly experiencing stress, lack of motivation and feelings of loneliness, they continue to work hard at obtaining their credits. During these difficult times, universities are indeed doing their utmost to support students, implementing everything from telephone hotlines and radio stations to buddy systems, in an effort to spur student resilience and health. For more examples of what universities are doing regarding this crucial theme, take a look at the student well-being e-zine.