The landscape of Cork City has changed in recent years due to the construction of student accommodation premises such as Amnis House. The opening of Amnis House provided another 190 student beds to a city that is sorely crying out for increased accommodation amid this student housing crisis. Uninest, who run this student residence, are currently in the process of building another student accommodation centre where the Brewery Quarter once stood. When finished, this will provide another 413 beds for students who are moving away from home and adjusting to life in Cork City.
However, this is not all that Uninest, and their owners Global Student Accommodation, want to do for their student residents. Along with providing students with a roof over their heads and a warm bed at night, Uninest launched their Student Wellbeing Framework across its sites in Dublin and Cork. On the 6th February they outlined and described how the company have ambitious goals to provide this support for over 1,700 students who live with them during the college year. This framework is the result of a research study commissioned by Global Student Accommodation and conducted by Red Brick Research, started in December 2017. The Student Wellbeing Framework is based on nine pillars the research showed were important values in any student’s life, worldwide. These include spiritual, mental, cultural, social, environmental, physical, academic, financial and career needs.
During an interview with Bobbi Hartshorne, head of External Relations and Student Wellbeing at Global Student Accommodation, the University Express had the opportunity to enquire how this global structured framework was implemented within their student communities. “It didn’t matter then if we were delivering the framework in Ireland, Japan or Australia but what it also meant was that when we were serving international students in those countries, that the nine pillars would resonate with them as well,” Ms Hartshorne says. Beginning as a landscape study, it drew information from multiple different areas surrounding the idea of student life. The prime goal of this research was to observe the intertwined relationship between where a student lives, and their wellbeing. This being the first study of its kind means that others companies who provide student accommodation, may use some of the research in the future. Bobbi Hartshorne described how they have been able to build relationships with companies who are passionate about student wellbeing and also create a community within their residencies between staff and students.
This has taken a new approach to looking at the idea of student wellbeing and Ms Hartshorne emphasised the need for a joined up network approach between universities and accommodation so the support in the accommodation would be seen as all-inclusive, instead of a separate entity. This would ensure when it came to student wellbeing the message would be clear and concise when a student came looking for support. This is Uninest’s way of investing in their students’ college experience as most of these supports come at no extra cost to the resident.