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Augustinus receives first Student Well-being Award

A growing number of student organisations are focusing attention on the mental, social and physical well-being of their members. This year, the first Student Well-being Award was therefore presented at the annual reception for new student association board members (’omgekeerde constitutieborrel’) in Plexus. The award was won by the L.V.V.S. Augustinus student association for its comprehensive approach to well-being.

Every autumn, the new board members of Leiden University’s student associations meet the Executive Board at a special reception. It is traditional to use this occasion to honour a number of excellent student initiatives. This year, for the first time, the university presented an award for an association that made exceptional efforts in the area of student well-being. The award was judged by the Student Well-being Team, who looked at aspects such as how innovative and inspiring the nominated initiatives are and how much impact they have.

Well-being across the whole spectrum

During the presentation, the award winner L.V.V.S. Augustinus was praised by Annetje Ottow, president of the Executive Board, for having developed an outstanding, comprehensive approach to the well-being of its members. ‘The association’s efforts cover the whole spectrum and include, for example, creating awareness, publicising the range of support provided by Leiden University, early detection, promoting social safety and offering psychosocial interventions. It is innovative and inspiring to see that an association gives so much attention to so many aspects of well-being. A strong well-being structure is clearly evident in the association.’

Auke Hofman and rector magnificus Hester Bijl.

When accepting the award, Auke Hofman, president of Augustinus, reported that the association is already working on its next projects, such as a support programme for students experiencing financial pressure. Augustinus also launched the ‘counsellors project’ last year: a low-threshold way for the association’s students to access psychological counselling, free of charge and without a waiting list. ‘Student well-being is receiving more and more attention, and is now also recognised by the university and the city of Leiden,’ said Auke. ‘Partly thanks to them, our “counsellors project” can be extended to the whole city. There are also plans for a national roll-out, so that students anywhere in the country can get help if they need it.’

Auke has seen that many other student cities are also taking excellent steps in the area of student well-being. Referring specifically to Leiden, he said: ‘But I think we can say that we’re ahead of other student cities in the Netherlands in terms of communication about student well-being, our joint initiatives and our collective interests. We can all be proud of how we work together with the university, the city, the Local Chamber of Student Associations (PKvV) and all the other associations in our efforts to achieve a healthier life for all students.’

Honourable mentions

The Executive Board was greatly impressed by all the nominations submitted. Three student organisations received an honourable mention for their exceptional efforts.

  • Many student organisations are working hard to help people talk more easily about the theme of student well-being, by organising activities and workshops. For several years now, the CIROS student association has organised an entire Mental Health Month for its members.
  • The Hague Student Association (HSV) has given various workshops on transgressive behaviour, stress and even a time management course for first-year students.
  • Some associations have created separate committees or working groups in the area of student well-being. Last year, the Asopos De Vliet student association set up the TROTS working group, which is making great efforts to promote social safety and inclusion in the association. Each month it highlights a different current topic relating to these themes and organises activities around that topic.

Student well-being and Leiden University

Student well-being has rightly received increasing attention in recent years; not only from educational institutions but also within student organisations. This is a development that Leiden University seeks to encourage and support.

If you’re a student organisation within the university community and would like to know more about the possibilities for support, please contact the Student Well-being Office. If you’re a student and want to stay informed about the latest developments and activities in the area of student well-being, please sign up for the monthly Student Well-being Newsletter!

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