The start of the academic year can often feel overwhelming for students; elapsed are the long summer evenings, exotic travels and social events with family and friends. Instead, a new structured occasion awaits – one full of opportunity, self-development and prosperity. The transition to university life can be a daunting experience for students, most notably ‘freshers’ who will be accustomed to home comforts, familiar faces and particular learning styles. A shift to higher education will often alter these practices and principles, and it is our job to ensure that the transition is positive, innovative and collaborative.
One way we can encourage integration between students is the implementation of on-campus food outlets that encourage sharing, incorporation and relationship building. Traditional sharing dining styles such as tapas and Mediterranean-style platters may instigate the connection between students.
Furthermore, for many students this will be their first time away from home. There is a possibility that students will have rarely cooked for themselves, nor understand the importance of good nutrition for optimum academic performance. Ensuring there is sufficient information available on the significance of a nutrient-dense diet is of paramount importance, as is the assurance that students will have healthy food available on campus. This should be available in outlets and any local amenity shops provided on campus – access to affordable and fresh fruits, vegetables and wholegrains is essential in the promotion of student development and wellbeing.
One way we can encourage integration between students is the implementation of on-campus food outlets that encourage sharing, incorporation and relationship building
A creative idea we developed to support freshers at The University of Edinburgh was the launch of ‘Student Survival Guides’. With input from nutritionists, psychologists and F&B Professionals, the guides inform readers about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, which includes recipes, shopping lists and nutritional information to enable an informed, responsible and positive transition to student life.
Whilst the beginnings of the university journey are essential for integration, we must not forget the importance of an efficient, effective and streamlined induction system. As well as ensuring an adequate and innovative F&B provision, the utilisation of orientation software will ensure that students are fully prepared in all aspects regarding their transition, and systems such as STEMS by RP can facilitate an optimum alignment and arrival experience.
The student journey will be an extended adventure replete with growth, connection and enjoyment. Let’s start the semester as we mean to go on…