© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

New measures enforced at University of Canterbury campus accommodations

Victoria Stevens
UC library
The University of Canterbury library  Madeline Keown (Supplied)

The University of Canterbury has introduced new measures targeting first-year students who fail to access health care services.

An online tool was introduced at the start of the year to cater to a range of issues students might face in their first year of tertiary education including responsible relationships, inclusivity and socialisation. 

The induction tool allowed students to make connections with other students who lived in Campus Living Villages. 

Students were also given a 'Looking after yourself' booklet at the start of the first semester that provided information on campus security, health and wellbeing. 

Harrison Keesing, a student from the University of Canterbury, said they have support services available but not all students know about them.

"UC needs to reach out more, like informing students about their services because I haven't seen a lot about their services"

He thinks UC needs to promote their services so more students know they have options if they need help.

Keesing said they are doing what they can but there is always room to improve.

Campus Living Village (CLV), the organisation that owns some student halls, invested in new technology that supported welfare tracking and a place to store notes on incidents and follow-up engagement. 

A new alert system called Analytics for Course Engagement (ACE) was introduced at the start of this year, specifically aimed towards first-year students who needed extra support.

ACE is a monitoring system for first-year students who can view their engagement levels and compare them to other students.

A University of Canterbury Spokesperson said CLV has been actively involved in the ACE monitoring system the past year and has developed the new management system with input from UC support services. 

Students that were identified most at-risk by the ACE team, received text messages, then were passed on to college staff for a follow-up, and finally a referral to student care management.

A report released by the University of Canterbury showed that few cases advanced to the final stage. This report was based on data up to May 27, 2020.

1010 students were identified as being disengaged, 429 received a text message first, with only 170 that needed a second message. 154 students were referred to their college staff and 20 were passed on to student care management.

Each student got personalised response plans that addressed their needs with help from the ACE team, the university and halls of residence staff.

CLV agreed to work with cleaning staff to get early signals of wellbeing issues in students, such as monitoring meals and door access.

Residential halls undertook a variety of training for new students and several residential advisors were trained and supported by UC staff.

Another student from the University of Canterbury said it was doing what it could but lockdown would've impacted it.

She said some people open up easier when talking to someone face-to-face.

"One thing several people have mentioned to me is they didn't feel like reaching out to a UC mental health team since it would've been over the phone, which I'd assume would be harder for them".

Support services and helplines are available for all students.