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University wins national award for supporting students during Covid-19

  • Mental health campaign that helped students during Covid receives top accolade
  • Virtual #30DaysOfKindness initiative encouraged students to post acts of compassion on social media to boost happiness
  • Award comes just weeks after Chichester was named a top-20 university for student experience by Times and Sunday Times

 

THE University of Chichester has received a national award for an innovative mental health campaign that supported its students’ welfare across Covid-19.

The accolade was presented by education think-tank Edurank for its #30DaysOfKindness challenge, which encouraged students to post acts of compassion and positivity on social media to boost happiness and wellbeing.

The virtual campaign was initially launched for mental health month in March but continued into the first weeks of lockdown to help people stay connected in isolation. It was jointly led by the University’s Digital Content Producer Mikki Collins together with clinical psychologist and mental health specialist Dr Moitree Banerjee to provide professional guidance.

Dr Banerjee said: “When we talk about compassion, we think about helping other people, however, research suggests that compassion towards others and towards yourself is actually closely linked. That’s something we de-prioritise quite easily, and it’s easy to forget to take care of our own wellbeing. We started this campaign to encourage people to not only look after their loved ones but ensure they take care of themselves.”

Initiative encouraged students to post acts of kindess on social media to boost happiness

Chichester’s #30DaysOfKindness challenge was awarded best campaign for supporting student wellbeing by Edurank, and comes just weeks after it was ranked in the top 20 for students experience by the Times and Sunday 2021 Times Good University Guide.

As part of the campaign, the University’s social media team hid words of encouragement around campus while Dr Banerjee created a wall of kindness for people to write positive messages to others.

Digital content producer Mikki Collins, who partly oversaw the campaign, said: “University students and staff responded incredibly well and we didn’t anticipate the level of engagement we received. The number of people that shared their mental health experiences was inspiring and propelled the campaign to become award-winning.”

The initiative received more than 130,000 interactions among the students and West Sussex community across its 30-day period, and encouraged many to share their own experiences of mental health through blogs and vlogs.

University created a wall of kindness for people to write positive messages to others

Katie Penn, a second-year screen acting student at the University, said: "I 100 per cent agree that Chichester puts their students' wellbeing as their first priority. Every week we are kept updated with what's happening within the University when restrictions are changed and how you can contact student support and wellbeing. The community support is so comforting and I'm glad I’m here."

Nearly 150,000 students voted in the annual Edurank awards, which this year received entries from 51 universities around the UK.

Judge Nick Wilmer said: “Our student panel was impressed by how Chichester opted for a community-based approach, bringing students together and helping to them to form positive social interactions with each other, while simultaneously covering their own emotional needs.”

From the outset of the pandemic, the University of Chichester has helped in the collective fight against Covid-19, including making thousands of pieces of protective equipment for frontline NHS staff and remotely loaning its IT-processers to a US supercomputer developing a vaccine.

For more about the University’s award-winning #30DaysOfKindness campaign and how it is providing a safe environment for its students to learn visit the University Twitter feed. Alternatively read about the University’s work to keep its community safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.