THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SPACE
Previously, the space was home to similar furniture as elsewhere on the ground floor, and was more of a general seating area without a defined purpose.
With a need identified by staff and students for an enclosed, relaxing and contemplative space, it made perfect sense to transform the entrance area to fit this purpose. Named by student consultation, the Relax & Renew Space was launched to coincide with Stress Awareness month and the upcoming exam period.
Since it’s opening last year, it already seems to be proving a popular and welcome addition. It’s been great for encouraging breaks from academic studies and the opportunity to connect with others in the GCU Community.
Senior Library Administrator, Nicholas Healy, said:
“In designing the Relax and Renew space, we wanted to have a place that was distinct from other areas of the library. We decided that a table for group activities would be really useful for hosting different sessions & workshops. We also settled on the idea of having three ‘living room’ areas with a sofa and chairs surrounding a coffee table.
Lastly, we decided we’d like the wellbeing effect of having plants and trees around. So to help define the space, we specified a range of planters to help create an enclosed and restorative area. It’s also important that the planters can be moved to allow us to quickly adapt to different events and changing requirements in the future.”
Whilst university can be incredibly enjoyable it can also come with stressful moments. It’s therefore so important to provide students with the space and tools to help manage the more challenging times.
“Relax and Renew provides a safe space where you can browse and engage with a selection of resources related to wellbeing and mental health, including self-care resources and our fiction and non-fiction book collections – either on your own or with friends.
The wellbeing space will also be available to groups and clubs to host a range of events to help encourage creativeness and togetherness across the GCU community.”
HOW IT’S BEING USED
It’s great to see that this space is being used in so many different ways to support student wellbeing.
Here you can see it being used by Computing, Engineering and Built Environment students for academic writing support; for students to take part in some arts and crafts; and just for enjoying time with friends and using the space to de-stress with a few games.
They’re using Padlet to share an events timetable with students, and welcome suggestions for more events in the future.
Games evenings, craft sessions and writing & research cafés are a few examples of how the space has been utilised so far.
On behalf of the Relax and Renew Planning group, Julie Smith said: