With the semester quickly coming to an end (how has it already been a year??), the strain is starting to show on all of our faces, the bags under our eyes begging for SWOTVAC so that we can have a tiny bit of breathing room before plunging into the chaos of exams.
Thankfully, our beloved Welfare Department has provided us with a semblance of relief in the form of their annual flagship event: Wellness Week which was held in conjunction with World Mental Health Day. The event aimed to increase awareness about mental health whilst also facilitating a positive and open environment that celebrated wellbeing.
The festivities kicked off with the “Sapot Lokal Fair” which spotlighted 10-15 student businesses that sold a range of products including: sweet treats, upcycled artwork, crocheted items and pre-loved clothes. However, the highlight of the day was most definitely the free goodies, handed out by the Welfare Department. By participating in their “Take What You Need and Give What You Can” activity, they were then able to receive a free bag of popcorn. The students were then treated to a surprise free coffee by the famous Kee Nguyen stall, with the line stretching all the way from the foyer to Mad Alchemy as sleep deprived students rushed gratefully to grab their free cup of joe.
The second day saw a continuation of the Sapot Lokal Fair as well as the “Take What You Need and Give What You Can” booth, with a new addition of a photo booth that allowed students to commemorate their memories of the first physical Wellness Week after nearly 2 years of online learning. Ms Na Mui Gee, head of the Monash Counselling Department was also cordially invited to give a mental health talk titled: Dealing with Stress & Burnout, a session that was incredibly informative and helpful for the Monash community, as we struggle to continue balancing being full times students as well as figuring out our place in the world.
The third day saw even more student turn out as the Welfare Department’s official Instagram @musa.cares made a surprise announcement at midnight, which was the arrival of Waka Waka Gelato’s pop-up store which would only be there for a short window of 2 hours, from 12pm to 2 pm. Throughout the day, the “Positivity Playlist” noticeboard was also set up, where students were encouraged to write their go-to song that uplifts their spirits.
For the final day of Wellness Week, the Welfare Department took the saying “Breakfast of Champions” a bit literally as they provided the student population with free sandwiches from Monash’s very own sandwich and toast stand. Warm and delicious, there were smiles everywhere as students chowed down on their free breakfast which provided them with the perfect energy boost for a long day of classes. The very last event that was held to wrap up Wellness Week was Just Dance, held at the Porch where students were given the opportunity to bust out their best TikTok dance moves.
After the event, I had a brief but insightful conversation with my office neighbours, Jasper and Ina about their term in office and their preparations leading up to Wellness Week.
Q: What’s it like being the first post pandemic and fully offline Welfare Officers?
“It’s been a tough but interesting experience trying to readjust back to the physical campus life, as it was a challenge to try and get all the internal operations of the department up and running again, while also learning the ropes of the role. However, it does feel rewarding to know that we’ve managed to get the ball rolling again!”
Q: What are some of the most difficult challenges you faced for Wellness Week?
“Aside from the usual time constraints of getting an event up and running, the process of getting our external vendors approved was one hell of a ride especially with all the delays and procedural shakeups thrown at us by the finance department.”
Q: As we all know, you guys have been re-elected as Welfare Officers for the year 2023! First of all I’d love to congratulate you and secondly, what can we expect for the future of the Welfare Department?
“There will definitely be a lot more care packages and giveaways that the students can look forward to as well as more mental health centered initiatives such as campaigns and an upgraded Wellness Week in 2023!”
Written by Ashley
Photos by Tshe