By Linette Wallace, CELT Coordinator
Support and activities for Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) students over the festive period looked slightly different this year due to the second national lockdown and the staggering of students leaving the campus earlier than normal and focusing on remote learning.
However, to ensure the safety and welfare of our students, (some of whom still remained on campus during the holiday period) a suite of activities and support were put in place to help people not feel isolated and so that they could access key advice and assistance should they have needed it.
Prior to the Christmas break, the University started on-campus Lateral Flow Testing for both students and staff. This helped to ensure that students could be tested for COVID-19 and protect themselves and their families as much as possible by having the required amount of self-isolation time if applicable before returning home for the holiday period.
Whilst the campus was closed, the security team were present on-site 24/7 and accommodation and Chaplaincy staff also provided support. The Students’ Union continued to add wellbeing advice to their social media pages throughout the season and students could continue to access a range of resources and advice through the Student Advice Centre and via the Health Assured service BGU have put in place so that students can access wellbeing advice 24 hours a day. All BGU students have access to the Resilience Toolkit which is situated on their virtual learning environment and provides a raft of information on stress/resilience and mindfulness.
In addition, goodie bags containing a range of treats were delivered to International and Erasmus students living on campus and small, potted Christmas trees were also delivered to some of these students living off-campus so that they could make their environments as homely as possible. To help engage with and safeguard students who were away from family and friends during the holiday period, staff at BGU organised online chit-chats, door step meets, organised walks and a remote virtual ‘Escape Room’ game.
Students, some of whom were resident on campus and some who still participated after securing a flight home, worked together to answer a range of challenges and puzzles to advance through the game and solve the conundrum. The Escape Room was hosted by Macmillan Cancer Support and donations were made to the charity of £160.56 including Gift Aid to support the event.