Two of NAIT’s collaboration rooms have been converted into spaces more conducive for self-care.
Before the pandemic, students had access to a “well-being lounge” for a quiet space and an opportunity to recharge. Now that space restrictions and staffing for the lounge is no longer feasible, NAIT aims to create these opportunities in other spaces. Rosie Colangelo, NAIT mental health program coordinator, has overseen the development of this project for a year.
The well-being spaces, found in CAT 233 and 314, can accommodate six to nine people between the two of them. The lightweight furniture, including privacy screens, allows students to easily rearrange the room to fit their needs.
“You could always cater [the room]—that’s kind of the beauty of it is you can decide for yourself what works for you,” said Colangelo.
More changes to the interior include yoga mats and blocks, couches, a bean bag chair (in CAT 314) and nature decor for additional privacy from the hallway. The spaces are conveniently located in low-traffic areas to minimize outside distractions. Numerous resources can also be found throughout the spaces. Using QR codes, students can access guides on mental health, taking meaningful breaks, and knowing what their body needs.
Colangelo also created a “mental health first aid kit” that includes a booklet with various resources, ear plugs, a paper clip, bubbles and a smooth pebble. These kits are available to anyone that books the spaces.
“The strategy for [the bubbles] is that when you blow, you’re forced to exhale … and that regulates the body. [They’re] very simple tools that are accessible to anyone. [The] pebble is for focus when you need that sensory grounding. And they’re all outlined within this [kit].”
Colangelo is continuing to develop the well-being spaces to better suit the user’s needs.
“Every student who uses the rooms will have the opportunity to provide feedback on how their experience was [and] they can provide suggestions for other resources that they might find helpful,” said Colangelo.
The well-being rooms can be booked online using the student portal. Once logged in, click on “Academic Support,” then “Collaboration Rooms” or go to https://bit.ly/3CcahBv.