What place has well-being in a student’s life? How is it considered by Higher Education Institutions? And by student organizations? In order to better understand what’s at stake for student well-being in Europe, Animafac and 6 other European partners work together within the Well-Being Innovations for Students in Europe project (WISE).
Many students suffer from problems of malaise, as shown by numerous studies and research. Some groups of students are particularly vulnerable to issues of well-being due to the discrimination they already face (e.g. refugees, people with disabilities). Since the beginning of 2020, the health crisis has had a strong impact on students’ well-being (virtual absence of student life, need to adapt to new learning methods, integration difficulties, significant deterioration in mental health, etc.). In addition, new forms of malaise are emerging, such as eco-anxiety, which affects 15% of young people (2016 IPSOS survey). The well-being of students therefore represents a huge challenge for higher education institutions, but also for student organizations acting in favor of their peers, which are more and more numerous to take up this issue.
Student life is an essential dimension in HEI’s strategy and it’s recognised as complementary to academic learning. Lately the Covid crisis has shown us how important is the social, cultural and civic part of student life for the well being of students. This project is specifically focused on student life, an important part of their well being. By student life, we mean all activities that make the daily life of students: lessons, cultural activities on campus, social relationships, citizenship activities and volunteering in their campus, student restaurant, health services, and other facilities. It seems necessary for universities and student organizations to take action and cooperate better in order to improve well-being and student life in Europe.
In this context, the WISE project promotes and encourages well-being in student life within the European Higher Education field. This project aims to identify what is important for the well-being of students and how universities and student organizations can act within student life policies in favor of student well-being. For the next 3 years of the project, the consortium will:
- Develop expertise to understand better what’s a stake for student well-being within student life: quantitative and qualitative research and reports.
- Develop resources and training to help HEI and student organizations to take in account and act for well-being in student life (vademecum, toolkits, training).
- Develop proposals and communications to promote student well-being and student life as essential components in Europe.
6 partners are involved in this project: Animafac (a student association network in France), the European University Foundation (EUF), the European Students Union (ESU, a student union network, based in Belgium) and 4 European universities which are the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra in Portugal, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, the Transilvania University of Brasov in Romania, and the Charles University of Prague in Czech Republic.
Different steps of the project
All along the project, the consortium will create the following intellectual outputs:
- A quantitative survey: “European panorama of innovative initiatives in favor of student well-being” (2022)
- A qualitative study: “innovations in favour of student well-being in European higher education” (2022-2023)
- A platform “The European university of tomorrow for student wellbeing” (2023)
- A training kit for university staff to implement student well-being initiatives (2023-2024)
- A training kit for student organizations to implement student well-being initiatives” (2023)
- An European Guide of recommendations on student well-being” (2024)
Two training sessions will be held:
- An internal consortium training on student well-being (April 2022, online)
- A training course “Acting in favour of student well-being” (March 2024 in Belgium)
Six dissemination activities of the project results will be organised in order to share and promote the result of the project in different countries in Europe:
- December 2022 in Romania
- February 2023 in Czech Republic
- September 2023 in France
- March 2024 in Portugal
- April 2024 in Greece
- September 2024 in Belgium
Eventually, WISE ambition is to reach all the 28 countries of the European Union, 300 higher education institutions and 150,000 committed students.