Students talk of the “incredible power” of COVID support

Students talk of the “incredible power” of COVID support

Student Annie Renouf says she’s proud to be part of the Macquarie community as we rally to support each other through COVID.

While exceptional student support has long been a hallmark of Macquarie’s ‘students first’ mindset, 2020 will be remembered as the year that student support went beyond anything we have known before. 

Teams across the University have come together to provide unprecedented levels of support for our students through COVID-19, embodying the principles of the Student Success Strategic Framework and demonstrating the deep sense of commitment to students that is felt by so many Macquarie staff.

We asked teams in the Office of Executive Director Student Engagement and Registrar – whose mission it is to proactively support the academic, personal, social and professional success of Macquarie students – to share some of the University’s key COVID-19 student support initiatives.

First, listen

Following the initial COVID outbreak, the team worked quickly to roll out mechanisms for gathering feedback – including a weekly survey to take the pulse of the student body; an all-student calling campaign, and webinars – to determine priority support areas for students. A pulse survey page keeps students updated on progress of these supports and reinforces that the University’s COVID response is centred around their needs.

Rolling out priority support

After moving to meet immediate support needs such as food and housing, the team quickly began building the more complex support mechanisms required to enable successful online learning, social connection, and general wellbeing.

The Student Success Support Package was established to provide emergency payments and tiered financial support, with priority given to students in highest need. To date, almost 4000 applications have been processed, with approximately 70 per cent of applications from our international students.

Connecting an online community

In response to feedback that students weren’t sure where to find information, the team moved to create a suite of communications materials, including one-page ‘cheat sheets’ on topics such as where to go for helphome IT, and tips for online learning success.

A dedicated site, O-zone [Online Zone], was then launched to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for students to connect with the range of supports available, alongside a new weekly email newsletter to keep students updated and to reinforce available supports.

A range of new resources were launched to keep students connected socially, including a new student online events page, fun social media challenges, and a new student-produced blog MQ Scoop, which sees Macquarie students ‘telling it like it is’. 

Contributing student blogger Annie Renouf says she’s proud to be part of the blog project.

“Words have an incredible power to bring people together and I’m passionate about helping to keep students connected during this time when we’re all adjusting to learning online and being at home,” she says. 

Read more here.