Ease exam stress – get your cuddle fix!

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) is easing the bite of trimester one exams with doses of animal love amidst a jam-packed schedule of de-stressing activities.

Students are lapping up the chance to spend time with SPCA puppies across each of the three campuses: Kelburn, Pipitea and Te Aro. Additionally, The Kitten Inn will be bringing furry felines to Kelburn for the first time.

‘Study Week is a stressful time and we’re here to make it a little bit better’, says VUWSA President Jonathan Gee.

‘Students get the chance to unwind from the stress of exams for a while and have some playtime with the cutest animals. Animals de-stress you, and everyone’s talking about the importance of having animals in times of stress.

‘Some students will have had to forfeit hours at work, and therefore income, to devote time to study and to do their exams. Many will be trying to study in cold, damp flats that are not so nice to be in.’

In addition to having puppies and cats, VUWSA has organised a huge amount of activities, including breakfast and lunches across each of the three campuses. For breakfast, students can expect cereal, toast and Peoples Coffee; and for lunch, delicious Hare Krishna curry with rice. And for the first time in Stress Free Study Week history, VUWSA has organised free curry nights compliments of MTR Foods for two nights at Kelburn campus.

‘We’ve got everything on offer! Free coffee, muesli and curry to eat. We have puppies and kittens to play with, meditation workshops and exercise classes,’ says Rory Lenihan-Ikin, VUWSA’s Welfare Vice President.

‘During the week we serve around 8,000 meals across three campuses. That is a lot of students with full bellies that can focus on study without having to head home to cold flats to cook.

‘In the future we hope to feed students three nutritious meals every day during study week. It’s great to have MTR Foods on board this year who have donated enough curries to serve dinner on two nights. We hope to have them and other companies on board next trimester so we can do this every night.’

For VUWSA it’s not just students’ well-being during study week that VUWSA care about though. It is students’ well-being throughout their entire university experience. From students’ financial well-being pushing for a tertiary discount on public transport, to study well-being pushing for extended library hours and a more equitable approach in getting assignment extensions.

‘Student well-being is a priority for VUWSA, especially considering that student hardship is a harsh reality for many students. Many students take time out from full-time jobs to complete degrees and often sacrifice a break in earning income for education. We are hopeful the education will pay off; but while students take this break they often live below or along the poverty line,’ says Gee.

‘We’ve made some positive progress improving students’ well-being though. Along with Stress Free Study Week, we’ve pushed for more funding in Student Health and Counselling, received a commitment from the Regional Council for a 25% tertiary discount on public transport, and worked alongside the University to build a well being campaign and The Bubble.’

Many organisations based at Victoria University, such as CanDo, The Science Society and the Victoria University Recreation Centre have also jumped onboard providing creative play, cramming sessions, and gold-coin entry fitness sessions.  

For the full line up of Stress Free Study Week activities: www.vuwsa.org.nz/sfsw