The student wellbeing team at Xamk consists of several professionals: the senior lecturer in sports, sports coordinator, occupational physiotherapist, study counselling psychologists and student wellbeing experts. We aim to meet students in diverse environments and situations. The essential content of our work consists of various meetings with groups, individual guidance, casual chats in the corridors and organising various events. In addition, we share tips through the student intranet and produce content for online courses.
The student wellbeing team collaborates actively with the different Xamk units. The team also works in close co-operation with various campus town and national networks.
Student wellbeing is important
According to the customer feedback survey in 2019 concerning services, students find that the services of study counselling psychologists and student wellbeing experts as well as the sports services are rather important and rather adequate. The results of the 2019 survey are shown in the figure below. On a scale from one to five, the average score for the importance of services is 4.0 for study counselling psychologists, 4.0 for student wellbeing experts and 3.8 for sports services. The respective average scores from students on the adequacy of services are 4.2, 4.2 and 3.8. The survey is carried out every two years. We aim for higher average scores in the next survey to be carried out in 2021.
Quick access to individual counselling appointments
Individual counselling appointments are part of the work of study counselling psychologists and other student wellbeing specialists. The study counselling psychologists provide approximately 700 individual appointments each year, while the other student wellbeing professionals provide nearly 1,000 appointments.
With respect to individual counselling, the accessibility and correct timing of the services are more important than the number of appointments. Being able to respond quickly to students’ requests is important for the study counselling psychologists and student wellbeing specialists. Every effort is made to arrange the first appointment within 14 days of contacting a psychologist or other wellbeing specialist. In 2019, the first appointment was always available within 15 days.
In addition to individual appointments, for the first time in autumn 2019, Xamk offered a course led by study counselling psychologists to support students’ ability to study and their wellbeing. Approximately 80 students completed the course, and a decision was made to include the course permanently in Xamk’s course selection.
Physical exercise gives energy
Students have access to the campus gyms every day. Instructed group exercise and ball games are offered weekly in each campus town, whenever possible.
The Kouvola campus does not have a gym, but students may use municipal gyms and gyms of private sports centres. In 2019, the sports activities offered to students included, for instance, fitness boxing, ball games, floorball, futsal, cheerleading, American football, kettlebell workout and outdoor ice hockey.
Students are also given the opportunity to try different sports. In 2019, these included wall climbing, archery, indoor surfing, body weight training, skiing, kinball, squash, karting, golf and yoga.
In 2019, Xamk’s American football team, Xamk Hawks, participated in the national American football league for higher education institutions. In addition, one team from the Savonlinna campus participated in students’ volleyball Finnish championships.
It is also possible to take sports courses at Xamk. The courses consist of doing basic physical exercise, trying new sports and learning about local sports services and physical exercise opportunities.
In Mikkeli and Savonlinna, sports services were reorganised in autumn 2018: all sports activities – ball games, instructed group exercise and gym training – were included in students’ sport sticker fee. The number of stickers sold is monitored at the annual level.
During the academic year 2018–2019, altogether 607 stickers were sold. In autumn 2019, the number of stickers sold fell by 140 compared with autumn 2018. The probable reasons for this are the uncertain future of the Mikkeli gym and the access control problems. In Savonlinna, there were problems with arranging opportunities for weekly ball games in 2019.
In 2020, we will be looking for a new location for the gym in the Mikkeli campus area. Another goal for the years to come is to increase the number of sports stickers sold at least to the same level as in 2018.