Back in 2022, we asked students about their experiences with the Oasis Student Wellbeing Centre. We learned how valuable the centre is but also how we can continue to provide a useful Oasis experience. Reading time ~ 2 minutes, 53 seconds.
The Oasis Student Wellbeing Centre is a student community centre on the Bedford Park Campus. Walk through the laneway from the library towards car park 5 and you’ll find the building on the left.
It is a nice place to hang out by yourself or with friends. You can find a quiet nook (inside or outside) and read/study. You can use the kitchen to prepare food. Strike up a conversation with a volunteer or chaplain.
You can also take part in activities, programs and events that are spread throughout the week.
During COVID, the centre had to close and only fully reopened in the second half of 2022.
As students started to come back to the centre, the Oasis crew launched a survey to better understand awareness of and use of the Oasis Community Centre.
294 students participated in the survey through paper and online forms.
Some of the key findings from the survey were:
- 86% of students rate the importance of Oasis to their university experience as extremely to moderately important.
- 81% of respondents report Oasis as having contributed to their success and/or wellbeing at Flinders. However, this was a more common response for international students – 93% compared with 67% of domestic students
- 86% of the students that completed the survey are aware of Oasis
- Word of mouth is the main way that students find out about Oasis – 31% overall, which shows that students are telling their friends about the space which is wonderful
- 43% of the students surveyed visit Oasis at least weekly
- the top 3 most common words used to describe Oasis were friendly, welcoming, and helpful. Relaxing, supportive, and open were also frequently mentioned by domestic students, whilst international students commonly mentioned peaceful and supportive.
- The Community Market continues to be the most accessed service
- The most common challenge for students was academic workload/pressure/stress, followed by budgeting/financial stress
- Additional Workshops and Support was rated as the best way Oasis could support students with these challenges
Survey completers provided lots of suggestions on how to improve Oasis and the team has started implementing them. For example, they have increased their opening hours from 8am-8pm and have been bringing more plants into the space 🌵
Moving forwards, they are looking to increase their food offerings at the market and to utilise the services of Meals on Wheels and their BBQ to provide more free meals during the year. They will be reviewing the workshops that they provide to ensure that there is a solid program for students to choose from. They will partner with FUSA and other support services on this.
As I looked through the survey results a few findings stood out to me.
First, I was pleased to see both domestic and international students responding to the survey. This bodes well for programs like Flinders Mates that involve cultural exchange between domestic and international students [as an aside, Flinders Mates kicked off during orientation and attendance was excellent].
Second, was that ‘word-of-mouth’ remains a powerful means of raising awareness of Oasis. It is important therefore that I keep giving news and updates about Oasis here on the blog and through my lectures and seminars. It also means if you’ve visited Oasis and found it helpful, please consider sharing the experience with peers.
Third, was that programs and facilities were the most appreciated aspects of the Oasis experience. To me this speaks to the centrality of the Centre itself as the basis of what Oasis offers. Of course, this means the value of Oasis might be limited to those that can access Bedford Park campus. With that in mind, if you are online or on our other campuses, what do you need in terms of programs and resources? If the demand is there, we can launch programs for those who are online.
Fourth and final, as someone who builds lectures and workshops, I got some ideas about topics that I should be covering or how workshops should be delivered:
- Online self-accessible content is needed – students wanted programs they could do in their own time – I’ve been thinking Studyology is a good example of a program that needs a self-guided format
- Topics that students would like more information on include stress management, time management, workload pressures, belonging/connection and mental health and wellbeing
- Lectures, seminars and workshops aren’t the only ways we can deliver content on topics like those listed above – we could look at different kinds of events (e.g. like the launch of Good Vibes Experiment)
I’d like to give a big shoutout to student Michelle Newman who compiled the results of the survey. Without her work we wouldn’t have these insights that can inform the future of Oasis.
Whilst the survey is closed, we are always keen to hear your thoughts on the health and wellbeing services we provide. For Oasis this would be via email email@example.com