‘Wellness Hub’ Set to Drop in Place of Campus Shop

‘Wellness Hub’ Set to Drop in Place of Campus Shop

The hottest new campus cry spot

The University of Otago is stepping up its mental health game, announcing that the area which was once Campus Shop South will be turned into a ‘Wellness hub’ for student use. Currently under development by contractors, once open the hub will both supplement and unify the range of pastoral care services which the University currently provides. 

Right outside the South entrance to Central Library, the University says that the hub “signals to students that seeking support is central to the tertiary education experience and that the University places it physically, as well as metaphorically, at the heart of life on Campus.”

Student Services Director Claire Gallop told Critic Te Ārohi that, “This will be a multipurpose space that can work for private face-to-face meetings, group activities, socialising, studying or relaxing as needed.” To this degree, Claire emphasised the accessibility of the location as a key factor, arguing that the hub would be a “warm and welcoming place” for students to be “connected to whatever support they may need.”

In attempts to create a unified space for students, the hub will be staffed by a team of Haoura and Peer Connectors, whilst regularly hosting staff from the Pacific Islands Centre: Te Huka Mātauraka; International Student Support; the Disabilities Office; Student Health Services Mental Health Team; and the Careers Development Office. 

“There’s evidence that student hubs work best when they’re in high-traffic areas,” Claire says. “It really is right in the heart of the Dunedin campus.” It’s almost like they’ve heard the sniffles of students in Central stressing over their mid-terms.

When asked what they thought of the proposal, one student, Hannah, said she thought it was “so important […] there’s not any other services at the University which are as easily accessible.” Speaking to her own experiences, another student Madi said, “there have been times in the library in the lead up to finals where I’ve almost cried not knowing things […] I needed something like that.” Hannah also suggested that the service could “take some of the burden off Student Health [counselling services].”

Currently, the University is working on “how the hub will look and feel,” with Claire pledging that “we’d like it to be up and running before the end of the year."

This article first appeared in Issue 11, 2024.
Posted 4:58pm Saturday 11th May 2024 by Hugh Askerud.