Starting university and moving away from home for the first time is kind of a big moment and it can be pretty scary – exciting but scary.
In September 2019 the university added a Residential Warden team to its support network to try and make this transition a little bit easier and I am so happy to be a part of that team.
As part of the Student Support network, the warden’s job is to support the welfare of all students living in university-owned and managed accommodation. But they are slightly different from the rest of the support team in a few ways.
- Firstly they are all postgraduate students themselves. This means that they have recently been through the ups and downs of undergraduate life so they understand the kind of problems students face.
- Secondly, they mostly work out of office hours. Providing support on evenings and weekends means that students can access the support they need pretty much 24/7. It also makes it a little easier to fit that support to a students schedule without interrupting lectures or seminars.
- Finally, the wardens will typically come and visit you at your flat which has multiple benefits. You get the support you need without having to leave the house which is a big bonus if you ask me. But it also helps to keep everything a little less formal and a little more relaxed, and a positive environment like that is so important when you’re accessing help or support.
The work that they do is really varied, and there isn’t much that they can’t help you with. For example, one evening it could be a flat check-in to make sure that everyone is settled at the start of the year, or it could be hosting board games night in the Pier cafe on a Monday evening. It could also be giving you advice on a Thursday drop-in session, or it could be providing mediation to smooth things over with your flatmates following a dispute.
They also host a number of social events; so far they’ve run events for occasions like Halloween, Black History Month and Christmas, to name a few. By the beginning of term two, the warden team had supported one in ten students living in university accommodation. For a new service, those are really positive figures.
This addition to the university could not have come at a better time. Mid last year the Guardian published an article suggesting that psychological distress and illness are on the rise in UK universities. They found “alarmingly high” rates of anxiety, loneliness and substance misuse when they surveyed 37,500 students. Having an extra service that is designed specifically to combat these kinds of issues and protect the welfare of students is such an important step in addressing these findings.
You can learn more about the team and what they are doing by following their social media @UoLRW.
The scheme has just started hiring Residential Wardens for the next academic year, so if you’re interested in being part of the team you can apply now.