The goal of Aalto’s wellbeing operations is to build the community by supporting the individual

Dear student at Aalto University, the university offers you easily accessible support for your studies and all wellbeing-related questions and concerns that you may have. All wellbeing operations at Aalto aim to build inclusive community wellbeing where no individual is left behind.

Students talking with each other

Suvi Helko and Tuuli Asunmaa, photo: Unto Rautio / Aalto University

Conditions for a good life exist in Finnish society 

We are living in challenging times in an ever-changing global situation. This has inevitably affected the wellbeing of many of us. According to the recent World Happiness Report, Finland is nonetheless the happiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row. In the World Happiness Report, happiness refers to a good quality of life rather fluctuating feelings of happiness. In Finland and other Nordic countries – all of which were among the highest-scoring countries in the report – people typically trust society. In these societies, there is little corruption and people can rely on mutual support in times of distress. Studies have also found that the results of quality of life assessments apply to everyone living in Finland regardless of their background. 

Community wellbeing at Aalto University 

As discussed above, Finnish society provides conditions for a good life. The goals of Aalto University include not only individual wellbeing but also the growth and development of individuals into active members of the community. 

Aalto University is taking a wide range of measures to be a healthy and active community that provides support and resources for the wellbeing of individuals – because taking care of individual wellbeing benefits the entire community, too. People who are exhausted may not have the resources to help others or care about what is going on in the surrounding society. People who are well, on the other hand, have the resources to actively participate in society to make a change in areas they care about – whether it be climate change prevention or anti-racism, for example. In addition, being an active member of a community increases an individual’s sense of belonging and purpose. 

As a highly international university (see the Times Higher Education’s 2022 ranking), Aalto University values equality, diversity and inclusion. Aalto’s aim is to build an inclusive community whose members feel a sense of belonging and can fulfil their professional, educational and social aspirations fully. The university is committed to working towards providing an inclusive and accessible environment in which employees and students with diverse backgrounds, and their intersections, are treated equally and are free to work and study without fear of discrimination. 

Aalto provides support for student wellbeing 

At Aalto University, no student is left alone when they need support to improve their wellbeing. The nearest sources of support are the planning officer or coordinator of your programme and the academic advisor appointed to you. If needed, the course teachers will also help for example if you need individual study arrangements. In addition, Aalto University provides the following wellbeing services: 

  • The Starting Point of Wellbeing is an easily approachable service that provides you with advice and guidance on where to get the services and support you need. The Starting Point of Wellbeing provides drop-in advising every weekday and organises various wellbeing events and open door events. 

  • Study and career psychologists are there for you if you wish to discuss matters such as your studying skills, motivation, stress and career. 

  • Guidance counsellors can help you think about your studies and future plans and get an overview of your situation. They can help you plan your studies and set goals. 

  • Aalto chaplains are there for you whenever you want to speak to someone in confidence about anything related to work, personal relationships or your life situation in general, regardless of your personal beliefs or background. 

  • Courses and workshops and self-study materials online. 

  • The Personal Impact course offering is a collection of courses taught at Aalto, addressing topics such as personal development, values, purpose and wellbeing. Taking these courses will also earn you ECTS credits. 

  • The Best Thing Today is a podcast series where Aalto’s study psychologists discuss wellbeing at Aalto (and elsewhere) with a number of guests. 

Student wellbeing is also supported by a large range of services outside Aalto. Aalto’s most important partners: 

  • The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provides healthcare services to all higher education students in Finland. For an annual fee (71.60 euros), each student receives comprehensive health services, including health checks, oral healthcare and mental health services. 

  • UniSport provides support in the area of physical wellbeing. 

  • Nyyti ry is an organisation promoting students’ mental health and ability to study. Nyyti provides confidential counselling, support and a more objective outsider view on various life situations. 

  • Aalto University Student Union (AYY) supports students’ social wellbeing and represents their interests. 

In addition to students’ personal resources and studying skills, their ability to study is also affected by teaching and the learning environment. Aalto University annually collects information on the effects of these factors on Aalto students’ wellbeing by means of the AllWell? student wellbeing survey. Its results inform the development of not only the wellbeing services mentioned above, but also degree programmes and teaching. All students responding to the survey receive personal feedback where, based on their responses, they get tips for example on better stress management, ways to improve their studying skills and recognising the importance of emotional skills. 

Follow Aalto’s wellbeing operations on Instagram @aaltowellbeing to hear about our latest news, events, training and workshops on wellbeing and building our community. You are warmly invited to join us in various wellbeing activities both on campus and online. Welcome to the Aalto community!

References:

Helliwell, J. F., Layard, R., Sachs, J. D., De Neve, J.-E., Aknin, L. B., & Wang, S. (Eds.). 2022. World Happiness Report 2022. New York: Sustainable Development Solutions Network. World Happiness Report (2022) 

Kunttu K., Komulainen A., Kosola, S., Seilo, N. & Väyrynen T. (toim.). 2021. Opiskeluterveys.  Helsinki: Duodecim. 

Lorde, A. 1992. Burst of light. Women's Press (CA). 

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