The well-being of students is our number one priority
The past few years have been exceptional for students. Most courses have been realized by distance learning and there may have been very little other interaction as well. SAMK has been planning and carrying out a wide range of activities to increase the interaction and well-being of students.
Campus libraries have board games that you can play, for example, with a group of students. In the picture Reetta-Kaisa Kuusiluoma (on the left) and Maija Penttilä.
– Distance learning has influenced students’ well-being. Some students feel that they have not been met, that they are just some bobbles in Teams, says Maija Penttilä, Project Manager of the FeelWell project.
– For some students, distance learning has worked well. A lot of students, however, have felt lonely and disconnected from all communities. It is great that genuine encounters can be pulled off again, continues Reetta-Kaisa Kuusiluoma, Project Manager of the Study Well project.
Some degree programmes continue to offer their studies completely or for the most part online
– With this in mind, Student Union SAMMAKKO has developed an e-tutoring model to ensure equal access to tutoring for everybody, says Kuusiluoma.
Well-being week will be held again this year
Students’ well-being is closely connected to their ability to study and progress in their studies. In addition to the actual campus environment, well-being naturally includes many other parts as well, such as home and hobbies.
– Students are in a wide range of life situations. We are discussing how we can work together on campus to support the well-being of students with different backgrounds. Teacher tutors, student counsellors and the special needs teacher will, of course, help students with issues related to studies. We also want to encourage students to participate in leisure activities together with other students, says Kuusiluoma.
The projects led by Kuusiluoma and Penttilä have created practices to increase community cohesion.
– We have organized, for instance, outdoor activities together with SAMK pastors and church social workers and thinkable walking sessions with Soteekki. And, as last year, the well-being week will also be held this autumn, says Kuusiluoma.
Meaningful activities – a focus on community
The main point of the activities is that they are student-centred. According to Penttilä, it is essential that it is the students who plan activities for other students. She emphasizes also that not all activities are sports-related.
– In the autumn, we will be training well-being tutors who will start to organize activities that students want – for instance sports activities, board game nights or museum tours, she says.
This autumn, together with students of social services, they will also organize peer-to-peer activities to support the students’ mental well-being and social inclusion. StudyBuddies act as support and encouragement for other students in their everyday challenges related to studies.
Penttilä encourages students to get involved in tutoring.
– It’s worth getting involved in tutoring, for instance as a peer tutor or a well-being tutor. There is a lot of research on how much volunteer work can contribute to one’s own well-being, she says.
The results of both the well-being survey directed at SAMK students and the well-being report published by the City of Pori in June 2022 show that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people’s moods to swing.
SAMK has invested in student well-being, for example through StudyWell and FeelWell projects, which received special grants from the Ministry of Education and Culture, and CampusMoWe sports and well-being services. You can follow the activities and events of both projects on their joint Instagram account.
A comprehensive package on student well-being has also been compiled on the SAMK website on students’ well-being.