The University of Vaasa and the student union were granted 100,000 euros for the well-being and counselling of students

The Ministry of Education and Culture has given the University of Vaasa and the Student Union VYY a special grant of EUR 100,000 to renew and strengthen preventative well-being and counselling services for students. Due to the COVID‑19 pandemic, the ministry awarded universities and universities of applied sciences special grants.

Through their joint-project, Mikä neuvoksi (“Now what?”), the university and the student union will improve the well-being and counselling of students as well as address loneliness and promote a sense of community.

– We want to build a sense of community and positive culture by involving the whole community. The pandemic has changed studying and the lives of students, and new measures are needed to develop both counselling and leisure activities, says Vice-Rector Annukka Jokipii from the University of Vaasa.

In the Mikä neuvoksi project, the well-being of students will be improved by increasing peer support also together with other actors in the region. The aim is to develop practices that will work after the pandemic too. Examples include student clubs and other leisure activities, like online game nights and virtual dinners. In addition, the student counselling operations that support the well-being of students will be developed. At the University of Vaasa, every student gets a student counsellor who is assigned to them according to their degree programme. Student counsellors help students with study-related matters. Within the project, also the study psychologist’s services and community building in remote teaching will be strengthened.

The first steps will be taken immediately. A project worker will be recruited to strengthen and organise measures related to community building through peer support. A trainee study psychologist will be recruited to improve the availability of the study psychologist’s services. Student counsellors will continue to be in touch with students to ask how they are. As the COVID‑19 situation progresses, the possibility of organising small events on campus will be assessed as events help build a sense of community and motivate students to maintain a daily routine. The measures will be directed to first-year students in particular.

– We want our students to be well, feel a part of a community and have services and activities that are suited to their needs. In this project, it is of utmost importance to address students’ loneliness and well-being as well as the progression of studies and commitment to studying, says Specialist in Students Interests Lauri Tuohiniemi from the Student Union VYY.

Further information:
Vice-Rector Annukka Jokipii, University of Vaasa, tel. +358 29 449 8482, annukka.jokipii(a)univaasa.fi
Specialist in Students Interests Lauri Tuohiniemi, Student Union VYY, tel. +358 44 324 8961, eva(a)vyy.fi