A lot of research shows that things are not rosy with student well-being. The TU Delft Student Council plans to make this a subject of discussion during the How are U Week. Delta spoke to Marten Leenders, Julie Tazelaar and Ellie Boyd, the organisers and project leaders at Education & Student Affairs (ESA).
“It is time that we stop treating the issue as a taboo. Everyone experiences times when they are not comfortable in their skin,” says Student Council Chair Marten Leenders. To open up student well-being for discussion, the Student Council is holding the How Are U Week from 14 to 18 November. Student well-being will be in the spotlight for five days during workshops and readings.
‘We see that it is hard for internationals to find connections’
There will be free sports activities at X, the sports and culture centre, every morning. “It will include krav maga and yogalates (a combination of yoga and pilates),” says co-organiser Julie Tazelaar. The programme also includes readings by a former pretend student, who pretended to be a student for a long time, and Michael Kortekaas from the Dutch television series Hunted.
International student associations are organising social activities such as a potluck dinner where everyone brings some food, and a pyjama party. “The social aspect is particularly important for international students,” says Tazelaar. “We see that it is hard for them to find connections with fellow students.”
The idea of a student well-being week came about two years ago during the Covid pandemic. “The first hybrid version of the wellness week was held then,” says project leader Boyd. “TU Delft made a budget available to reach a couple of hundred people. The initiative turned out to be so successful that last year the Student Council argued to include all TU Delft students. This week is the result.”
“During Covid, students’ mental health of students was under great pressure. But many people still have the feeling that they are failing if they say that it is not going well with them,” says Boyd. “We want to show that you are strong if you do express yourself and ask for help. It is important to take the time for yourself and not just go on endlessly. TU Delft students are often exceptional people, but you can also stand out by slowing down.
‘This year needs to resound all around Delft’
Leenders agrees. “The workload for TU Delft students is high, but students find it hard to bring up the issue. This makes the How Are U Week all the more important.”
The three hope that the wellness week will become an annual event. “This year needs to resound all around Delft. If that happens, our mission will have succeeded,” says Leenders.
What workshop or reading should you not miss? Three tips from the organisers.
- Leenders: “The reading by the pretend student. It’s really interesting how you can end up in a spiral of lies. It is also an open discussion so everyone can ask questions.”
- Tazelaar: “The Time Out Café, an interactive performance about transgressive behaviour. The group previously performed the piece at the Delftsch Studenten Corps. I have heard a lot of praise about it.”
- Boyd: “The reading by Michael Kortekaas. He is known from the television series Hunted and talks about mental resilience, performing under pressure, and how you can avoid losing yourself in these circumstances. And if you have time, then book a time slot with the petting therapy dog Norah!”
- See the How are U Week’s full programme on the website.
- See Instagram for more information.