Student and staff collaboration is not only reserved for academic projects. This is an account of how last year’s Sensory Day came to be and why you should consider attending events that will enhance your Warwick experience… by Keeley Varey
Last term was really exciting for myself and a fellow Occupational Therapy student! This is why: we are in our final year and currently on placement at the University of Warwick. As part of this placement, we have been involved with many of the Wellbeing events at Warwick. However, we also had the chance to organise our very own!
We did not know what to expect when we first decided to host a Sensory Event in collaboration with the Wellbeing Team, the Community Engagement Team and the Library Disability Support Team. As students ourselves, we wanted to create an event which would be interesting and enjoyable for other students, with a key focus on how sensory items could have a positive impact on their wellbeing.
We were obviously quite nervous about running an event like this as we are by no means event planners/organisers. However, we had a lot of support from the various teams and the Wellbeing Ambassadors who were fabulous collaborators as they have a lot of experience with all the events they host for Warwick students. We definitely suggest that you check out as many as you can!
Our two-hour event took place on Thursday 23 November 2017 at the Rootes Learning Grid, and was filled with laughter and fun as students came to understand how certain everyday items have a positive or negative influence on the way they study. The event comprised several different stations which included sensory lighting and seating. It also had some enjoyable quizzes such as guessing the herbs and spices based on the smell, and guessing what was inside six different balloons. Students were also encouraged to think about their thoughts and feelings towards each of the items, as well as which ones they found relaxing and thus could help whilst studying.
We offered sensory take home ideas and some students stayed for over an hour, relaxing on beanbags or wobble cushions. We asked students to think about any memories that the smells or textures conveyed for them and whether they liked or disliked the different sensory aspects. It was interesting to listen to everyone’s stories and experiences, and amusing to watch students as they tried to guess the different elements in the stations and quizzes.
Being students ourselves, it was initially daunting to create such an event, but it was easily one of the best experiences we have had during our time here. Our efforts really paid off when we saw everyone enjoying the event and engaging with our work.
Once again, we would encourage all students to attend the Wellbeing and Library events – they are fun, thought provoking and give you the opportunity to have a rest from studying while doing activities that will aid your study habits! Of course, you should also check out the events organised by Warwick SU such as the Something for You Fair taking place between 11am and 5pm on Tuesday 16 January 2018.
If you have any follow up questions regarding this blog or the Sensory Day event, please contact Keeley Varey, Marguerita O’Connor or Janet Winter via their University of Warwick emails.
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Images: Author’s own.