Young people’s wellbeing is one of the most discussed topics in the Danish media, and the discussion has now reached CBS. Here, students are battling loneliness and working hard to find the motivation to study.
Jacob Bødtcher-Hansen, a first-year student from the International Business program, recognizes the feeling of not being motivated.
“It’s quite boring, really, and it’s tough to find the motivation to study. But I’m lucky in the sense that I know a lot of people in Copenhagen. I have a social bubble to rely on. But many of my fellow students have had to move to Copenhagen from other parts of Denmark or from abroad without knowing anyone here. These students are in a very vulnerable situation since they haven’t had a proper chance to get to know anyone. And that’s why I have signed up to become a wellbeing ambassador,” he says.
At the beginning of the year, a wellbeing campaign was launched on my.cbs.dk and CBS social media accounts, and now it is being followed by a new initiative: wellbeing ambassadors.
So far, 62 students across CBS study programs have signed up for the initiative to become wellbeing ambassadors, and there is plenty of room for more, says Mette Gøtterup-Tang, Student Coach at CBS.
“A little while ago, we interviewed some students about what they wanted CBS to do to help them out. A person from HA Almen said it would be great to have students from each class and study programs initiating online activities and talks,” she explains and continues:
“We were quite excited about this proposal, so we started working on it in Student Affairs and came up with the term wellbeing ambassadors.”
Being a wellbeing ambassador simply implies that the ambassadors initiate activities that, in one way or another, can strengthen the community, the feeling of togetherness, and hopefully make students feel less lonely and demotivated.
“I hope that we can do some online Friday bars with music quizzes and alike. Hopefully, then people will get to know one another better. We are 200 just in my class, and there are still many students I have never talked to. So it will be great for me as well,” says Jacob Bødtcher-Hansen, who applauds the new initiative:
“I think it’s great that CBS is finally taking some responsibility for the students’ wellbeing. It’s really important and needed. I think a lot of students think that CBS has done the absolute minimum so far when it comes to the students’ social health. I applaud this initiative, but still think CBS should do more to face this challenge,” he says.
Too far away
Kristina Jørvad, Senior Advisor in Student Affairs, explains that through campaigns, CBS has advised students on how to increase their wellbeing – but it must come from the students themselves if it is to work.
“Everywhere you look, you see well-meaning pieces of advice, but they become more meaningful when they come from the students themselves, otherwise it can feel as if the ‘adults are telling the students what to do’,” she says.
Beannie Susanne Kauling Sloth, Communications Advisor in Student Affairs, adds:
“If the students do some activities themselves, they somehow feel closer to them. We, of course, want to do things too, but somehow, it’s too ‘far away’ in some sense. It’s easier to not attend or feel like you are not part of it, but if a student from your program or someone you know takes the initiative, maybe it’s easier to engage,” she says.
It’s important for CBS to react to the situation and help its students to improve their wellbeingKristina Jørvad
Student Affairs will host kick-off meetings in weeks 6 and 7 for the new wellbeing ambassadors, who will also get their own Facebook group where they can share good ideas for online activities. Student Affairs will regularly check in with the ambassadors and also share ideas for topics and tendencies that can help the ambassadors in their jobs.
“The initiative is built on trust and volunteering. However, there’s a possibility for bachelor’s students who want to be wellbeing ambassadors to earn points for student citizenship, which is something they can use when they want to go on exchange,” says Kristina Jørvad.
She explains that they can earn the points by documenting the initiatives and activities they host as wellbeing ambassadors. Master’s students who want to be wellbeing ambassadors will receive a certificate when the first round of the initiative ends in June.
A strategic initiative
The new wellbeing initiative is not only a response to the current situation, but it also matches CBS’ new strategy, which has wellbeing as a priority.
“It’s important for CBS to react to the situation and help its students to improve their wellbeing, or at least acknowledge how they are feeling. And hopefully initiating something on a local level in the study programs will have a larger effect,” says Kristina Jørvad.
Mette Gøtterup-Tang adds:
“It’s great that wellbeing is on the agenda. This means we, as an organization, acknowledge the importance of it. And we have great expectations about that and the wellbeing ambassadors. We hope the students’ activities will help the ambassadors to improve the situation,” she says.