An initiative led by students at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) is promoting a culture of happiness and positivity on campus, through a range of weekly activities that aim to inspire self-awareness, personal reflection, and mental and physical well-being. Led by the university’s student Wellness Society, the Wellness Wednesdays program encourages participants to focus on self-care amid the growing pressures young people are facing in daily life.
Bringing together students from across all four faculties, Wellness Wednesdays aims to raise awareness about mental health, while providing an outlet for participants to develop new skills and meet new people. Explaining the background to the initiative, President of the CUD Wellness Society, and Psychology student, Vaishnavi Varma said, “We noticed that when students returned to offline learning after the pandemic, many of them were struggling with making new friends and interacting with their peers, in addition to the usual study-related stresses of deadlines and exams.”
‘’The Wellness Wednesdays program encourages participants to focus on self-care amid the growing pressures young people are facing’’
She continued, “We know that well-being can impact academic performance, so we wanted to do something to provide time-out for students to focus on themselves and to connect with one another. Wellness Wednesdaysprovides the opportunity for students to meet in a relaxed environment where they can socialise, collaborate, de-stress, and also support one another.”
The weekly gathering presents a diverse range of experiences for students to get involved in, from painting and candle-making to meditation and physical activities. The program works in partnership with other university societies to stage dedicated events around occasions such as Sports Week and Mental Health Awareness Month, and also collaborates with local businesses to help students connect with the community.
‘’We wanted to do something to provide time-out for students to focus on themselves and to connect with one another’’
A regular at Wellness Wednesdays is student Yasmeen Khadri, who said, “The events are great to join because they provide me with a dedicated time for self-care and help to promote my overall well-being. I love to enjoy simple activities like painting and jewellery making, which help to reduce my stress and foster my personal growth. It’s a valuable opportunity for me to prioritise my wellness, connect with a supportive community, and engage in activities that bring me joy and relaxation.”
Speaking about the impact of the initiative, Vaishnavi said, “It has been fulfilling to see how students immerse themselves in the experiences and bring forward their own ideas for activities and opportunities to collaborate. It is also heartwarming to see students come along each week, build their confidence and create new friendships that might otherwise never have happened.”
‘’I love to enjoy simple activities like painting and jewellery making, which help to reduce my stress and foster my personal growth’’
Maryam Farahmand, Student Life Officer at CUD, concluded, “We know how important it is to dedicate time to well-being and relaxation, and the Wellness Society took the initiative to establish a weekly programme that encourages and enables students to schedule this as a regular commitment. The fact that this is a student-led activity means we have seen a high level of engagement and excellent feedback on the positive impact this has for participants.”