With Universities having to adjust quickly to more online learning, there was a need to support students in a new way. Those that remained in accommodation and those that returned home needed the connection of the university teams more than ever. Through this, a virtual res life community was born. Student accommodation professionals responded quickly and creatively, rising to the challenge with enthusiasm and passion. We recently caught up with James Greenwood Student Experience Manager at UAL who has delivered over 72 different types of online events including meditation, yoga, dance, fitness, energy healing and positive psychology. The programme has been well received by the students and staff with over 3,600 in attendance. James said it will certainly be something that adopt next year as has provided a unique opportunities for students and staff to be involved in events.
We are seeing many institutions offering sophisticated online platforms that will enable students to start building relationships before they arrive on campus. However, we shouldn’t make assumptions that all students have the component digital skills to engage with these programmes. Managing digital communities can be as challenging as managing a traditional res life programme. Rebecca O'Hare Head of Partnerships and Res Life at Student First, recently shared some hints and tips on creating successful virtual communities.
With the new term fast approaching it looks as if virtual communities are here to stay with a blended offering of in-person and virtual events, opening up the offering to those living off campus.
Hayley Mintern – Business Sector Director Student Accommodation