ANZSSA e-newsletter - June 2019

Questions & ANZSSA - June 2019

In this Edition

Reducing barriers to student participation

University Mental Health Day across Australia and New Zealand

For Your Information

Professional Development Opportunities


Reducing barriers to student participation & achievement

RMIT - DGSS Action Plan

RMIT University's Student Wellbeing and Inclusion team.
Riley Edwards, Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion

While research and statistics indicate that participation and achievement from students of diverse genders, sexes and sexualites (DGSS) is increasing, the number of students engaging with University services and events is still significantly lower than heterosexual and cisgendered students.

To enhance inclusion for DGSS students, since 2016 RMIT has implemented its DGSS Action Plan, to:

  • Promote a culture of inclusion and respect, through leadership actions, communications, events, training, and professional development.
  • Enhance policies and procedures for inclusive clauses, language and benefits.
  • Provide appropriate and responsive services and facilities.
  • Enhance provision for transgender and intersex staff and students, including the recognition of sex and gender through University systems and processes.
  • Maintain and use data collection to understand current practice and identify improvements.
  • Support external community groups, charities, and events.
  • Contribute to academic knowledge and research in related areas.

Read the full article HERE 

AUT's Financial Support and Assistance: Enabling students to focus on their studies

Liz Bishara, Director Student Hub, Student Services and Administration, Auckland University of Technology

According to a 2018 article in The New Zealand Herald, “more university students are struggling to pay the bills despite extra assistance from the Government.” (McKay, 2018, para. 1). Money issues and financial hardship are two of the most common issues or problems that many students face while studying at university, whether they’re living at home or living in student accommodation. Students experiencing money worries can have difficulties in concentrating on their day-to-day activities and making the most of their time at university.

At Auckland University of Technology (AUT), we know first-hand that specialist advice and support is fundamental to a truly excellent student experience. One of the ways AUT provides this type of advice and support is by ensuring students are aware of the financial assistance available and how to access it, because for many, worrying about finances can impede on their academic performance.

Read the full article HERE

University Mental Health Day across Australia and New Zealand

Thank you to the Australia/New Zealand steering committee for University Mental Health Day. Committee members were Anne-Marie Parsons and Sarah Godsell University of Auckland; Ben Chandler Uni Adelaide; Bethany MacKay CQU; Daniel Persaud Uni Melb; Emma Boyne UWA; Glenda Langford Swinburne; Paula Convery, Newcastle; John Alford UTAS; and Rebecca Omond Murdoch. Special thanks to Sarah Godsell for significant input this year with developing the interactive map and getting all the NZ unis participating, as well as Paula Convery for reaching out to the Australian universities to submit information for this newsletter.

UTAS Students use their voices on UMHD 2019

University Mental Health Day (UMHD) 2019 at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) was a key event in the wellbeing calendar for UTAS on May 6-7, 2019 across the well-spread campuses of UTAS. To promote the event, and encourage students to build supportive social networks, the Student Wellbeing Team at UTAS produced a promotional video focusing on student concerns about mental health and wellbeing, as well as strategies to address these concerns.

Activity across the four campuses on UMHD, included mindfulness meditation sessions, Assisted Animal Therapy, a range of wellbeing-focussed stalls, activities around a firepit delivered at the University’s Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education, mental-health themed art activities, as well as a Wellbeing Wall to help give voice to student concerns and strategies regarding mental health. Students were also invited to share their thoughts about strategies for mental health promotion on film, an activity organized and run by the student union (TUU), in consultation with Student Wellbeing at UTAS.

University Mental Health Day at AUT

The Student Services and Administration (SSA) division at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in collaboration with AUTSA (AUT Student Association) organised a variety of events on the three campuses (City, North and South). The events focused on the five ways to wellbeing, including a free healthy lunch, sports pop-ups such as badminton and volleyball, a mindfulness colouring and origami station, sleeping tips, self-care tips, free Zumba classes at AUT gym and free haircuts. 

In addition, there was an online campaign where students and staff shared their top tips for looking after their mental health. The event enabled AUT to increase people’s awareness of mental health, encouraging students and staff to speak out about mental health, and participate in the events and activities on campus.

University of Otago Mental Health Day

Sze-En Watts, Manager, Social Impact Studio, and Lisa Dick, Otago Bulletin

At the University of Otago, we thought we would stretch out University Mental Health Day with a week of activities aimed at raising awareness of the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff. The week was planned by a collective of student services (including Student Health, the Career Development Centre, Te Whare Tāwharau sexual violence support and prevention centre, the Graduate Research School, Unipol and OUSA Student Support) and Silverline, our student-led mental health and wellbeing initiative. Activities were centred around relevant topics, including fears about the future, nutrition, mystery and stigma around counselling, supporting peers through tough times, and feeling a sense of belonging within a community.

Students had the opportunity to try  knitting at our ‘Spin a Yarn’ station which highlighted the positive impact of craft activities on mental health, as well as connecting with other students and staff. Students may have built their own smoothie, literally planted a seed for their future whilst chatting to a career advisor,  gotten a massage by a Physio student, and/or talked to a Student Health counsellor about sensory modulation!

During the week students could also choose from a Paint With Bob Ross session, an expo helping to prep their flats for a Dunedin winter, and a dumpling lesson with the week’s activities culminating in a Fluro Friday at a local beach organised by Silverline to help students ‘free the funk’ with a bit of fluro and saltwater therapy and yoga.

University Mental Health at Swinburne 

Evidence suggests 1 in 5 adults will suffer a mental health disorder in any 12 months with a higher prevalence of 26% among 16-24 year olds and 25% among 25-34 year olds (ABS 2008). Research conducted in Europe and North America indicates university students are particularly susceptible to certain mental health disorders.

This year, Swinburne celebrated their own ‘Mental Health Month’, which aimed to increase awareness of mental illness in higher education, and encourage people to speak out and seek support.

A series of events and activities were held throughout the month of May, along with a Marketing strategy that helped to direct students back to online information about the Counselling and psychological services available onsite.

The H.Squad (peer to peer health promotion group) were involved in the planning and implementation of the events, helping capture the student voice, and promote peer-to-peer support.

Further information on the four key events (one each week for the month of May) is below. 

Lived experience presentation

Amy Thyer – Mental illness in young people: 8 May 2019

Amy Thyer, lived experience volunteer speaker from Beyond Blue, presented her own experiences with mental illness at this powerful lunchtime event. Students were also provided with a range of resources from Beyond Blue, information about the psychological and counselling services at Wellbeing at Swinburne, and got a free donut too!. Cindy and Keith – Counsellors from Wellbeing at Swinburne – also attended, to provide support for anyone feeling particularly affected by the presentation, and encourage students to seek help.

Personal skills workshop

Mindfulness/meditation: 16 May 2019

This 45 minute mindfulness/meditation session was run by Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure centre, for staff and students. The H.Squad provided all attendees with ‘University mental health month’ branded water bottles, and a range of resources promoting positive mental health and stress reduction strategies.

Research and education

Professor Andrew Scholey – the link between what you eat and how you feel: 21 May 2019

Andrew Scholey is Director of the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology and Professor of Behavioural and Brain Sciences. His research focuses on human psychopharmacology and falls into three main areas.

  • Understanding the mechanisms of cognitive enhancement in healthy and impaired populations
  • Neurocognitive effects of drugs, alcohol and hangover
  • Nutritional cognitive neuroscience

He has been the lead investigator on a series of groundbreaking studies into natural substances and neurocognition. In this fascinating lunchtime presentation, Andrew shared some of his research findings, and the importance of food on mental health. All attendees received a Barley+ muesli bar (containing the Barley+ grain for gut health) and a ‘University mental health month’ branded water bottle.

Awareness event

Lunchtime BBQ: 29 May 2019

The H.Squad hut was out on John Street alongside the Student Union Wednesday BBQ on 29 May. H.Squad team members gave away over 100 brain stress balls, and a range of resources from Beyond Blue, along with free tea samples from Madame Flavour. The focus of this event was to encourage students to have a break and look after themselves in the lead up to exam time. We also handed out information about Wellbeing At Swinburne services and Crisis line.

University Mental Health Day at Massey University

Across the three Massey campuses, University Mental Health Day gave students a real opportunity to contribute to the local community (tree planting day), to be pampered, and to be heard. From a free cooked breakfast to games, displays, mindfulness and body balance session, and even a drumming session on concourse, students and staff eagerly joined in with the activities. The UMH postcards were distributed on each campus and responses posted on notice boards (to be collated and published in due course).

The day coincided with “Spirituality Week” on the Auckland campus which was arranged by the Chaplaincy in conjunction with a variety of religious faith groups. Activities were largely run by students for fellow students – a model we try to use whenever possible – and student services were able to collaborate with student associations in a range of new ways. It was perhaps not surprising, but a real pleasure, to see the amount of collaboration between different sectors and units of the university.

University Mental Health Day at University of Auckland

In honour of University Mental Health Day, students and staff at the University of Auckland gathered on Tuesday 7 May to share thoughts and ideas about the state of student wellbeing.

The theme for this year’s event was ‘use your voice’, and people were encouraged to do this through the wellbeing walls set up in the Student Quad. Here, students and staff wrote down the things they do to take care of themselves and their general mental health. They were also given an opportunity to highlight some of the ways they thought the University could support them.

Teaching fellow Debra Lampshire was an energetic and engaging guest speaker who chatted candidly about her own mental health story, detailing what it was like to live with voices in her head. Following this informative talk, the student Glee Club entertained everyone with a song and dance, flash-mob style, and over on the grass students had a go at hula hooping in an afternoon workshop.

The Maori Common Room space was home to a Mental Health Hui, which provided an opportunity for staff and students to come together to chat about mental health issues facing Maori students, as well as the wider University community.

This was the first time in many years that the University had been able to participate in UMHD, and the organisers were happy with how events unfolded. The day provided a great opportunity to connect with the University community to raise awareness around taking care of your mental health while at university.

University of Canterbury Amble Organisers Spread the Word

What do you do when the rain puts a damper on your event? You take the event indoors to where the people are! That’s exactly what the organisers of the UC All Right Amble did. The event was held on Universities Mental Health Day and organised by a team of Health Science students with support from staff.  

"The event was designed to celebrate the Five Ways to Wellbeing with five activity stations set up across campus. The idea was that staff and students could enjoy some practical and fun activities that support their mental wellbeing,” said second-year student George Haswell.

However, when the rain refused to ease the UC All Right Amble moved indoors where organisers chatted to other students about the Five Ways to Wellbeing and gave away freebies.

“We don’t always have to put on a big event to celebrate the Five Ways to Wellbeing. The Five Ways to Wellbeing are things that people can do every day to help with their mental wellbeing. It’s just as important as physical wellbeing,” Joni Brand, second-year student, said. 

George explained the Five Ways to Wellbeing include Connect, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Be Active and Give.  George said, “These are simple strategies that students can use to help their mental wellbeing while studying here at UC.”


University of Melbourne Celebrates UMHD

The University of Melbourne was gifted with glorious weather for yet another successful Uni Mental Health Day. Hundreds of students were engaged with across the day during the main event and faculty-specific events. The main event consisted of cuddles from support dogs, five-minutes seated massages, pop-up yoga sessions, free fruit and herbal tea, and activities encouraging students to 'use their voice' by sharing kindness messages.  We were also lucky to have a speaker from the Beyond Blue Ambassador Program sharing their lived experience with students.

University of New South Wales

As it fell during the exam period we had a space in the library foyer where we served fruit teas and fruit. We got students to write good luck messages on the butcher paper around one of the columns next to the table, and left this up for the entire exam period.

It was a chance for students to take a study break and have a chat about how to self-care during this stressful time.

La Trobe University

For University Mental Health in May, students at La Trobe University worked with our Student Wellbeing service to produce a video and a number of captioned Instagram posts with tips on how to look after your Mental Health. These were distributed through our student communication channels along with articles in both staff and student newsletters. Our student union/associations ran a number of stress less activities that week to coincide.

The Mental Health video can be accessed below:

Charles Sturt University

At CSU we ran information tables/ stalls at each of our campuses, where students could attend and pick up information and other goodies. Most tables were manned by Student Counsellors or other student liaison officers. To entice students over our SRC’s offered cake-stands and BBQ’s. Numbers were small but a good start!

Western Sydney University

Led by: Rowena Saheb, Andrea Earl and the Mental Health and Wellbeing Student Ambassadors, of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Promotions Team

Each year University Mental Health Day is celebrated globally. At Western, with our multiple campuses, we partner with students to deliver a roadshow of events to support a presence of health promotion learning across our campuses and normalise conversations on wellbeing.

In 2019 the events were a collaborative effort. We partnered with 15 students (Ambassadors and Volunteers), headspace and other teams including Western Sports and Student Wellbeing Services to deliver 10 campus events, over our eight campuses, aimed at reinforcing a sense of community on campus and encouraging students to take a mindful moment to connect with themselves, their peers and where need our services.

The events we were co-designed with students to ensure they were student centric, optimising engagement potential. Student Ambassadors leveraged of their own skills and interest to facilitate the delivery of Origami workshops, Bubble Tea ‘how-to’ stations, Mindful cupcake decorating sessions, and as always created our pop-up Wellbeing Zones to further support peer engagement.

Across campuses we engaged over 750 students in conversations, strategies and/or (through activities) opportunities to support wellbeing.

Student feedback reinforced the importance of encouraging wellbeing on campus ‘I didn’t know how much I needed this’ and supporting opportunities for face to face engagement with key teams ‘It was so great to learn about the services … I made an appointment today to go see her (Wellbeing Service)’ . The events also provided further support for our team to continue to invest in student partnered initiatives, with a number of students asking for information on how they could volunteer for future events.

For more information please visit,


For Your Information

Coming newsletter editions

We are looking forward to your submissions for the remaining 2019 newsletters.  Every month, we welcome upcoming professional development opportunities, FYIs, good practice examples, open positions postings, and articles that address the monthly theme.

Due to our new e-format, we will be combining the July and August newsletters. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we have transition from our previous versions to the e-newsletter

Please see the upcoming themes and submission deadlines below.

You may send your submissions at any time to 

July/August: Supporting Indigenous Students and Peer Mentoring and Student Leadership programmes

For our July/August newsletter, we are seeking articles highlighting how your institution supports indigenous students. We hope to hear from a number of you regarding the programmes, initiatives, and successes that we know are present on campuses across Australia and New Zealand.

We are also seeking article submissions that address the successes, challenges, and opportunities presented with peer mentoring and student leadership programmes. These could include peer assisted student session (PASS) mentors, FYE mentors, mentor/mentee stories, etc.

Due date for submissions is 26 July 2019 and they can be emailed to

September: Supporting Employability and Careers of Students

For September’s newsletter, please send us your examples of how you and your colleagues are supporting students as they prepare for their future careers, including developing key employability skills and helping students to discover their future career paths. Submissions are due 26 August 2019 and can be emailed to

October: Safe and Healthy Campuses

For October, we are looking for articles that discuss and highlight the initiatives and programmes that help create safe and healthy campuses across Australia and New Zealand. These can be articles that discuss student involvement with ensuring health, safety, and well-being on campuses, initiatives that equip students with skills to lead healthy lives, crisis or disaster response systems, etc. Please email your submissions to by 25 September 2019.

November: Communication and Engagement with Students

We are soliciting articles that address effective channels of communication with students, social media for learning and engagement, and the student perspective on communication within their university. Submissions are due 23 October 2019 to

Professional Development Opportunities

2019 ANZSSA Conference

ANZSSA members from Aotearoa /New Zealand are delighted to invite you to the ANZSSA 2019 Conference which will be held at the University of Otago in Dunedin from Sunday 8 to Wednesday 11 December 2019. We look forward to seeing old friends and welcoming new delegates to the beautiful South Island, Te Wai Pounamu.

Our theme is Ka karangaranga i te pari, ka eke ki te taumata: Amplifying narratives for student success.

We invite you to submit an abstract for inclusion in the conference program.  The closing date for abstracts is Friday 15 July.  Go to the conference website for further details, and to register!

JANZSSA Peer Reviewers and Associate Editors Needed!

JANZSSA relies on ANZSSA members to provide support for the production of each publication and both these roles are important to ensure that JANZSSA continues as a professional journal.

What is the peer review process and what does the peer reviewer role do?

The Peer Reviewers is sent a de-identified article to read after the article has been initially vetted by one of the JANZSSA editors for consideration for publication. They do not correct, rewrite or enhance the article. The Peer Reviewer reads the article as a ‘critical feedback friend’ and identifies:

  1. Is this an article that will contribute to the work of student services and affairs and suited to the JANZSSA audience?
  2. Is this an article that is suitable for JANZSSA’s peer review section (has a research aspect, discusses gathered data, unpacks theoretical elements or undertakes a meta analysis of  relevant literature etc) or should it be more appropriately included in the professional papers section because while it includes a literature review it is more descriptive and does not really draw on data gathered or outcomes achieved? Or would it be more appropriately included as a best practice example?
  3. Is the article well researched, adequately referenced, well structured, and grammatically correct?
  4. The Peer Reviewer will often make some suggestions that will help the author/s improve the article.

The Peer Reviewer will draw on their knowledge to give the constructive feedback on: the content and the structure and the wording of the article. The Peer Reviewer will send this feedback to the Editors who will convey it as anonymous feedback to the author/s.

The Peer Review tells the Editors if the article is suitable for JANZSSA, is suited for the peer review section, can be published no changes needed, can be published with minor changes, needs major revision and a resubmit to the peer review process, should be rejected as not suitable or not of adequate standard.

What is an Associate Editor and what does an associate editor do?

The Associate Editors assist the editors to guide each received article toward publication.

They may be asked by the Editors to read the article and prepare more detailed feedback to offer to the authors about what could be done on the article to reach JANZSSA requirements.

They read the resubmitted articles as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ to check if the requested changes have been made.

If the article is resubmitted after a major revision the associate editor may check if all the issues have been addressed.

The Associate Editors pass the articles back to the editors who will review the suggestions and pass the details anonymously back to the authors or take the article the next step toward readiness for publication.

If you like the look of the roles can you send a little detail about yourself to with JANZSSA roles in the subject line and answer the following questions:

  1. Which role/roles are you interested in? (it is okay to do both)
  2. What is your role within Higher Ed and what areas of expertise? (so we know what kind of articles to send your way).
  3. How frequently would you like us to engage you with offers of articles to work with? (e.g. Monthly/ Every 2 Months / Twice a year / Once a year)

Many thanks,
Annie and Cheryl


EPHEA - Enabling Excellence through Equity


Invitation for contributions for JANZSSA Vol 27 Issue 2

The JANZSSA Editors invite submissions from ANZSSA members and student services and affairs workers for inclusion in JANZSSA Vol 27 Issue 2.

JANZSSA publishes peer reviewed articles, professional papers, best practice examples, book reviews and reports.

Along with seasoned contributors, new authors are encouraged  to submit articles on their work for publication.

Support for authors is provided by the JANZSSA Editorial team to assist with readiness for publication.

Information and Submission Guidelines for authors are available at:

Remember, as a publication your work in Student Services and Affairs supports not only your professional development but also encourages your colleagues and supports them in the important work that they do in student support and services in higher education.