Universiteit Leiden

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Staff symposium on student well-being – A shared path to well-being: students and staff

Tuesday 2 April 2024
Are you unable to be present in Leiden on 2 April? You can also watch the symposium via a livestream.
ECC Leiden
Haagse Schouwweg 10
2332 KG Leiden

We are hosting the third staff symposium on student well-being at the ECC in Leiden on 2 April 2024 from 09.30 to 16.00. This year’s focus will be not only on student well-being but also on your well-being as a staff member. The symposium will be the first step toward a university community where student and staff well-being go hand in hand.


Doors open
Opening by hosts Yousef El Baser en Adrian Herbaut
Plenary mindfulness session with Petra Penning
Keynote speaker Erik Scherder
Workshops round 1
Healthy vegetarian lunch and well-being market
Workshops round 2
14:50 -16:00
Alcohol free drinks and well-being market

Hosts Adrian Herbaut and Yousef el Baser

The hosts of this year’s staff symposium are Adrian Herbaut and Yousef el Baser. Adrian is studying International Relations and Organisations at our university. This explains his affinity with international students and why he is often found at Campus The Hague. Yousef is studying Medicine and worked as a student official at the Municipality of Leiden last year, where he helped develop the www.YounginLeiden.nl website. Their different backgrounds will allow Adrian and Yousef to bring the student perspective to the symposium.

Keynote by Erik Scherder

Professor of Neuropsychology Erik Scherder will deliver the keynote at the symposium. He is the man who fascinated the Netherlands with his appearances on De Wereld Draait Door and DWDD University and is considered the expert on brain science. He is also the initiator of the Ommetjes-app

Erik is also Professor of Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen and sits on the board of The Netherlands Sports Council. In his keynote he will look at the effect of movement on our well-being. He will give practical tips on how to get moving every day and some ideas on how to apply this to the teaching.

Interactive well-being market

New this year is the interactive well-being market. This gives you the chance to talk to colleagues from Student Support Services, including the student counsellors and psychologists. And you can ask your colleagues from the University Sports Centre your questions about sports and nutrition or undergo a body scan. Healthy Universities can help with insights and advice on stress, work-related or otherwise. The experts from 113 Suicide Prevention will also be on hand to answer your questions and the Door het Geluid Foundation will help you understand the student perspective. If you prefer a creative break, you can also take a mini-workshop led by a drawing teacher from LAK, the Leiden Academic Art Centre.

Workshop round 1: 11:45 - 12:45

Dr. Yvo Sijpkens (1960) is an Internal Medicine specialist. His medical journey began at the Leiden University Medical Center as nephrologist. In 2008 he transitioned to the Haaglanden Medical Center in The Hague. For years, his treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease, hypertension and diabetes relied on polypharmacy. Over the last years he shifted his focus towards championing lifestyle intervention as the cornerstone of treatment. As medical advisor he supports the Dutch foundation ‘Je Leefstijl Als Medicijn’.


Optimal Nutrition for Metabolic Health

Metabolic syndrome, characterized by increased waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, blood glucose and high triglycerides, often precedes common chronic diseases that are treated with medication in isolation. The broader term "metabolic dysfunction" captures associated conditions like liver steatosis and atherosclerosis and highlights the underlying hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance. Factors such as stress, lack of sleep, smoking, physical inactivity, and prolonged consumption of processed foods are primary contributors to metabolic dysfunction. Consequently, transitioning to low-carbohydrate, unprocessed foods is recommended as a fundamental strategy to combat chronic diseases and improve metabolic health.


Hanno is an internist-endocrinologist at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). He is Professor of Diabetology, practises internal medicine (LUMC) and is a former member of the Dutch Health Council (standing committee on nutrition). He is the former president of the Dutch Obesity Partnership and co-founder and member of the management team of the Dutch Innovation Center for Lifestyle Medicine.

We all feel stressed from time to time and this can be caused by different stressors. These can vary from daily (e.g., traffic jams to work ) and acute (e.g., trying to meet a deadline) to  chronic stressors (e.g., a sustained high workload). But what is stress? Why do we experience it? What consequences does it have for our mental and physical health? What unique human characteristics affect these consequences? And what can we do about that? 

We will discuss why stress is important in our lives and the potential negative and positive effects of stress. We will also look at individual differences in how we experience stress and its consequences. Then we will consider different ways to deal with stress, to either reduce the stress itself or its negative consequences. This may be helpful to both you and your students. 

Henriët is Associate Professor of Health Psychology at Leiden University’s Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit. Her research focuses on the role of stress and expectancies (placebo and nocebo effects) in somatic symptoms (e.g., pain) and conditions (e.g., kidney disease). 

See Dutch programme.

See Dutch programme.

See Dutch programme.

Everybody can communicate. We do so all day long in a variety of ways. And it generally works as expected. But sometimes things go wrong. If they do, it can help to be aware of where you and others are in the Rose of Leary. In this workshop, you will gain information on the Rose of Leary and will apply it to real-life situations. This will help you learn how you can use this model for yourself.

Simone is a trainer, coach and counsellor for gifted students at Leiden University.

See Dutch programme.

Workshop round 2: 13:50 - 14:50

The underlying message of posters or any reference to the number 113 (the suicide prevention number in the Netherlands) is clear: talk about it. While this may appear straightforward, many people can struggle with this. Concerns can arise, such as: What if discussing it exacerbates the situation? What if it inadvertently plants ideas in the other person’s mind?

In this lecture, you will acquire knowledge about suicide trends and prevention activities in the Netherlands. Additionally, you will develop the skills to assist a student or colleague dealing with suicidality. The session will also cover potential interventions and provide guidance on where to seek further assistance.

Dr R. Gilissen is head of the research department at 113 Suicide Prevention, the largest research department within the field of suicidality in the Netherlands.

Mirjam van Driel works as a health care psychologist at 113 Suicide Prevention. In her work she is responsible for the quality of the helpline and online therapy. 

Stress and traumatic experiences are one of the strongest predictors of mental health problems. Therefore it is important that we better understand how resilience can be improved. In this lecture, Van Harmelen will discuss what resilience is and isn’t, if and how we can measure it and how we can boost an individual’s resilience.  

Anne-Laura van Harmelen is Professor of Brain, Safety and Resilience at Leiden University. She is currently involved with the Social Resilience and Security interdisciplinary research programme, which is designed to contribute to greater social security for all. Her research focuses on a better understanding of the complex social, psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of risk and resilience in adolescence. 

In this workshop, we will explore the possibilities of building well-being through playing and implementing a diversity card game titled ‘What’s Your Story?’ Dr Tingting Hui developed this card game to facilitate open conversations about diversity, inclusion and well-being among students and faculty members. Central to it are the concepts of storytelling and play: while storytelling has proven to be an effective diversity intervention in higher education, the format of play can enhance empathic listening and lay the foundations for critical intervention by creating a safe sharing space. 


Tingting Hui is Assistant Professor at the Film and Literary Studies of Leiden University. Her research earned her the Young Scholar Excellence Award from the Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies and an Honourable Mention in the Horst Frenz Prize from American Comparative Literature Association. Last year she won the JEDI fund and developed the ‘What’s Your Story?’ diversity game. 

See Dutch programme.

Are you in contact with students who are stressed out by having too much choice? Are they overwhelmed by choice overload? This workshop combines theory about stress and decision-making with activities like role plays that will allow you to reflect on personal challenges in the support you offer students. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your student contact with colleagues who face the same challenges in helping students suffering from stress. Our workshop offers practical tools, including a tailored ‘first-aid kit’. 

As a psychologist and psychology teacher at Leiden University, Hagar Donners specialises in guiding university students who face emotional challenges on the road to professional growth. Her passion lies in creatively translating scientifically proven methods into the intrinsic motivations of each individual, inspiring and empowering them on their unique journey.    

As a study choice and career counsellor at Leiden University, Eva van der Meer specialises in guiding students in the practical challenges they face on the road towards more clarity in their studies and career orientation, and in their professional growth. 

We all have an equal amount of time available to us every day. And yet this can feel totally different from day to day! In this workshop we will look at how time works in general and how your time works in particular. How can you get more grip on your time and the things you have/want to do in it? You can use the information in this workshop for yourself, but can also use it to help other people (for example students) get a grip on their time. 


Simone is a trainer, coach and counsellor for gifted students at Leiden University.

Sign up now!

Want to be there on 2 April? Register via the button below. In the registration form, you can indicate which workshops or lectures you want to attend.

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Are you unable to be present in Leiden on 2 April? You can also watch the symposium on this website via a livestream.

Curious about the programme of previous editions? Check out the 2022 and 2023 programmes. 

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