University can be a challenging time for many students. Living away from home in student accommodation, more to pay for, and being surrounded by new people can all have an unsettling impact. The education sector has come a long way to recognising that challenge, but there is so much more to be done to support student wellbeing and every stakeholder has a part to play, including suppliers.
By Malcolm Brooke, Director, Circuit Laundry
This can mean supporting universities with creating welcome physical spaces, extending financial support, opening communication channels attentive to student needs or all of the above. But one thing remains the same: improving student wellbeing should be the focus.
Creating a welcoming physical space
The power of a welcoming physical environment cannot be understated. This applies on campus and off it, from lecture theatres and university accommodation buildings, through to amenity spaces and laundry rooms.
Before furnishing an area, it’s important to ask, what is the purpose of this space? Are you helping to create an area where students are meant to be energetic, or is this space a calm chill-out zone? Every part of a university estate should provide a positive experience for students. Whether that’s an engaging seminar room that encourages conversation, or a bright laundry room that makes what can otherwise be a mundane task easier and enjoyable.
Taking care of students’ financial concerns
Amidst the cost of living crisis, bills are inevitably on the rise, so we know universities will want to do everything they can to help students better manage their finances. This can begin with how they pay for university accommodation. Laundry-inclusive rent bills offer an incentive to students, as it means they know exactly how much their bills will be and can budget more effectively.
Re-booking schemes also mean that accommodation managers can offer returning students a pre-loaded laundry card with enough washes to last all year. This again gives students one less bill to think about, taking one source of stress off their shoulders. Partnering with conscious suppliers is also beneficial to university accommodation managers. Offering more options that reduce student financial concerns, like laundry-inclusive bills, sets them apart from other accommodation providers and gives students an incentive to choose their building over somewhere else.
Helpful and meaningful communication
Communication is key to helping student wellbeing. If students have a problem, knowing who to turn to makes a huge difference. Universities need to ensure that whatever the service they’re offering to students is complemented by communication channels that solve any queries efficiently, such as an online chat function. With communication often digitalised, a human touch is still vital. Automated systems have their benefits, but the option of speaking to a real person can make all the difference. Online chat functions where students can then schedule a call is crucial to helping students build connections and have impactful human contact.
Working to improve student wellbeing is a collective effort, and it’s important for universities to partner with conscious suppliers who want to make a real difference in this process.