Category Archives: Health and Wellbeing

Thursdays in Black: increasing awareness around sexual violence

Student blogger Ben reflects on efforts on campus to build the Thursday’s in Black campaign.

Thursdays in Black is a global campaign aimed with increasing awareness of sexual violence, consent culture, and positive relationships. Thursday’s in Black encourages everyone to wear black every Thursday in solidarity against gender based violence.

The 2018 formation of UC’s Thursdays in Black club has led to many events including clothing swaps, discussion panels, and free workshops, keeping its focal message in mind. You can typically find our stalls Thursday’s at the central library’s entrance for free coffee, resources, and conversation. Otherwise, look out for us on Facebook. The on-campus presence of clubs and campaigns such as Thursday’s in Black lies at the heart of UC’s culture, building a community united in diversity.

Kaitlyn White, President of Thursdays in Black @ UC says:

“It’s so important to have a movement like Thursdays in Black that breaks down the taboo of sexual violence and is spreading awareness for what we all can do to end rape culture. To have a campaign like this on campus means that we can firstly spread awareness about what sexual violence is, then take actions within our communities and through working with the university to end sexual violence and promote a safe and fun campus.”

(Thursdays in Black has developed a strong presence on campus. Left to right: Mel Haworth, Abby Robertson, Kaitlyn White, Katrina Hope.)

On-campus societies and campaigns such as Thursdays in Black, the counsellors at the UC Health Centre and those of the Māori Student Development, Pacific Development, and Student Care teams are all there for a reason. The safety and security of everyone on campus is paramount.

You can read more about Thursday’s In Black at UC  in the latest Chronicle on page 22>

UC info on sexual harassment and sexual assault is available here> including information on:

  • consent

  • bystander intervention

  • healthy relationships

  • support

  • report

Going Zero Waste as a Student

Many of us want to reduce our waste, but it can seem like a huge task, especially for busy students.

Frankie Desmond spoke to Masters student Helena Ruffell about her journey towards minimising waste, which she shares on Instagram @eatsleepsustain.

Helena was inspired to start cutting back on waste by “images of coastlines and oceans full of plastic… especially those involving marine organisms and seabirds.”

“Another big influence was the fact that our landfills will just keep filling up… There will be a point where there will be no room for our waste to go.”

Helena found some aspects of reducing waste to be challenging.
“I definitely struggled with having time to make my own lunch and going supermarket shopping.

It added a couple of extra minutes to my day but I thank myself now for taking that extra time, to avoid processed and greasy fast foods!”
Helena has also noticed other benefits from her lifestyle changes, alongside reducing her waste.

“I’m eating much healthier! I’m saving lots of money not buying processed foods, and I have a lot more energy as a result. It’s also really handy just popping out to the garden to get some herbs for dinner.”

For students wanting to minimise waste, Helena suggests moving away from packaged foods as a good first step. “Instead of buying packaged crackers, scones or muffins, you can easily whip some up on a Sunday night!”

“Bringing reusable bags to the supermarket is an obvious one, and you can extend this to not using a plastic bag for your fruit and veggies!

Just go without, or reuse the millions I’m sure are hiding out under the sink in the flat.”

For some more inspiration on ways you can cut back on waste as a student, check out some of the great ideas Helena has shared on Instagram @eatsleepsustain.

Mental Health Awareness Week – get involved

Student and staff well-being is a priority for our UC community and Mental Health Awareness Week from 8 – 14 October encourages us to focus on looking after ourselves.

World Mental Health Day is Wednesday 10 October, and we encourage you to head outdoors and get active. Walking is a great way to improve your mental health and you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. The Breeze Walking Festival has a number of walks to choose from including our own UC run, All Right? Amble 2018 

Take the time to visit our Wellbeing Partnership web page. Three UC courses to consider if you have not had the chance are: Growing Personal Resilience 2018, Mental Health & Wellbeing – Awareness for Heads & Managers and Supporting Students in Crisis.

If you are concerned about a friend, colleague or student, ask how they are doing and listen – you don’t need to be an expert. If you are still concerned, suggest they contact a professional service such as their family doctor or the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). EAP is a confidential counselling service, paid for by the university, designed for short-term intervention.

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand has excellent advice at www.mentalhealth.org.nz.

Students can attend the UC Health Centre or contact Student Care at any time. If you refer a student, check in with them soon afterwards to see how they got on. These sorts of actions show you care, encourages others to get help when needed and helps remove the stigma around mental health.

 

Paul O’Flaherty 
Executive Director Human Resources
Kaihautū Matua Pūmanawa Tangata 

Lynn McClelland
Executive Director Student Services and Communications 
Kaihautū Matua Ākonga me te Whakapā