|Sector||University Society, Philanthropy, Wellbeing|
|Challenge||A strategy was required to build a sense of community within the Arts & Social Sciences faculty, and increase involvement with our society|
|Project Time||6 months|
As a Philanthropy & Wellbeing subcommittee member of UNSW’s Arts Society, this was my first ever involvement in university, and so I took this as an opportunity to throw myself in and learn and do everything that I could. I worked in a tight-knit team of 6, with leadership who provided unwavering support in prioritising our personal and professional growth which really drove my passion for going out of my comfort zone and embracing life.
Challenges & Opportunities
As an entirely new portfolio of the society, the Philanthropy and Wellbeing team began the year from scratch, having the freedom to make our roles what we wanted them to be. This was extremely liberating as we weren’t confined by prior expectations on how to run our portfolio in terms of events and initiatives. As a subcommittee member, this meant that I could have an enormous amount of influence and impact in the decision making process of entirely new initiatives.
One of these initiatives was Feelin’ Well Fridays (FWF), a weekly post in the UNSW Arts Society’s Discussion Group on Facebook promoting selfcare and wellbeing.
FWF aimed to tackle a variety of the society’s challenges, including:
- A weak sense of cohesion and community amongst Arts and Social Sciences students
- A limited budget to plan events and initiatives
With these obstacles in mind, there were also a number of opportunities that FWF aimed to take on:
- The collective team’s interest in enhancing student mental health and wellbeing, and increasing awareness of social issues
- The majority of students using social media, particularly First Years
- The already existing FB Discussion Group
And so, Feelin’ Well Fridays was born – our society’s best known initiative in 2018, recognised as the #1 society in leading the path towards better mental health.
The Discussion Group
With a weekly schedule, each team member wrote up a post about whatever they wanted – all under the topic of self care. Our schedule was organised around events such as midterms and finals, and also important social and cultural events such as NAIDOC Week, Disability Awareness Week, and Mardis Gras. It was important that we showed our support for all students, particularly under-represented and marginalised groups.
Ultimately, our posts centred around being fun and friendly reminders to take care of yourself, featuring lists of tips and tricks on how to take a break from the craziness of life, as well as recommendations on movies, books and other fun activities. It was important to have a positive and approachable tone throughout our content in order to encourage people to engage through our comments.
Our writing was also accompanied by a bright and motivational graphic, aimed to not only grab people’s attention as they were scrolling through their feed, but also to compliment and reinforce our message.
Overall, the initiative was a success as we had an increase of user comments through our posts, which then led to greater awareness of the society’s social events.
I believe that FWF’s strength was backed up by an extremely strong and supportive team, with the most transparent and effective communication I have ever experienced. Our team worked in sync with one another, being proactive and always being there to lend a helping hand whether it be a quick read through, or to step up when a member had to take a break for personal reasons.
This was one of the most rewarding projects I had ever taken part in, particularly directly seeing how the morale of those involved with our posts and the Arts Society were greatly boosted. Being able to be that little spark of joy and highlight of some people’s week really drove my passion for helping others, especially in the mental health space.