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Catering to a multi-faceted student experience

The Russell Partnership's Professor David Russell and Charlotte Harbour explain the steps we take to make an optimal experience

Posted by Rianna Newman | October 05, 2017 | People

The student experience is inherently unique and individualised, based upon a range of extraneous variables relative to academic and personal life. A positive student experience is a subjective and highly personal conclusion that will be influenced by individual expectations, experiences and ambitions. As educators, influencers and facilitators of this experience outcome, we need to ensure the provision of opportunities that will enable students to drive their own student experience towards that of personal success and fulfilment. So, in practical terms what are the steps we take to facilitate an optimal experience economy? Firstly, we must understand that students are responsible for their own happiness and primary success within the campus environment; they will have their own personal motivations and ambitions ranging from academic prestige to social integration or self-development and adventure. These motivations are at the core of a positive student experience, and through external “supplementary” factors there is further opportunity to facilitate and accelerate this success potential. 

Following this understanding, the second step in facilitating achievement is by ensuring students are prepared for their personal journeys in the weeks before the beginning of their university experience. An efficient, effective and online induction system augments optimum alignment and a universally positive pre-arrival experience. Furthermore, contemporary online induction has been shown to reduce withdrawal rates in the first 12 weeks by up to 50%. Ensuring students are physically, mentally and emotionally prepared from the outset will provide clarity and evoke feelings of readiness – what better way to start the semester? Visit the Stems by RP website for more information.

As research continues to evolve, we are seeing more evidence that links diet with stress, academic achievement, motivation and stable energy levels – all fundamental factors for optimising the student experience

Thirdly, and perhaps less obviously, research has confirmed time-and-time again that what students consume has a profound effect on stress levels, anxiety and even happiness in both the long term and short term. Regardless of experience, ambitions and lifestyle preferences, the vast majority of students would agree that a university experience low in stress, anxiety and depression is positive. As research continues to evolve, we are seeing more evidence that links diet with stress, academic achievement, motivation and stable energy levels – all fundamental factors for optimising the student experience.

As we now know that optimum physical and mental health can be supported through a lifestyle rich in unrefined, low glycemic load (GL) wholefoods such as vegetables, oily fish, lean meats, unrefined fats, low GL fruits and wholegrains, we can implement F&B offers into university campus outlets to provide our students with opportunities to nourish themselves and maximise their potential in the pursuit of their own successful student experience.

Delivering a positive student experience is multi-faceted, and will be unique to each and every individual. Let us embrace the variety of students that we invite to our institutions, and enable their diverse ideations of the ‘ideal’ student experience through readiness activities and optimisation of physical and mental health through food and beverage.  

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