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Embracing diversity - optimising the Student Experience

Let us embrace the variety of students that we invite to out institutions, says The Russell Partnerships's Prof David Russell

Posted by Hannah Oakman | September 18, 2016 | Catering & hospitality

The student experience is inherently unique, and the building blocks of a ‘successful’ student experience are dependent upon various academic and lifestyle preferences. A positive student experience is a subjective and highly personal conclusion that will be influenced by expectations, experiences and ambitions. As educators, influencers and enablers we should ensure the provision of opportunities that will empower students to drive their own student experience towards that of personal success and fulfilment.

So, how can we do that? We know that students must facilitate their own personal journey of success – whether that be academic prestige, social integration or self-development (the ambitions may be endless). The first 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?

Secondly, research has confirmed time and time again that what students consume has a profound effect on stress levels, anxiety and even happiness (via serotonin levels). 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. One recent research study observed a consistent trend for the relationship between good-quality diet and better mental health and some evidence for the reverse; similarly others have highlighted the importance of combining a healthy and varied diet alongside exercise to protect, as far as possible, anxiety and depression within adolescents. 

As we now know that optimum physical and mental health can be supported through a lifestyle rich in unrefined, low glycaemic load wholefoods such as vegetables, 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 F&B.  

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