Students at Middlesex University Dubai successfully held their first health and wellness campaign on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at the campus in Knowledge Park. The Move for Your Mind campaign featured giveaways, activities, live music, and guest speakers, all aimed at helping students improve their overall health and well being. The campaign was also inspired by the UAE’s Year of Giving, hoping to create a small but lasting impact on the lives of students, highlighting the link between mental and physical wellness.
The campaign kicked off with the very popular mindfulness colouring session and a bubble wrap giveaway. Tables and chairs were set up with coloured pencils and mandala designs for student and staff alike to spend some time letting out their creativity and discovering a fun new way to manage stress. Students were also encouraged to take sheets of bubble wrap with the message to “pop as needed.” Both these events were reflective of the overall message of the campaign to pause and take a moment for yourself. It was very heartening to see students and faculty walking around “popping’ away their stress!
Nesa Rassouli, a coach at Fit Inc. and media student at the university, led a Stretch & Talk session followed by half an hour of bodyweight training. Stretch & Talk focused on calming and meditative stretches, giving participants the opportunity to learn and ask questions. The bodyweight training session was aimed at teaching rhythmic exercises that are known to benefit physical health and mental wellbeing. Both sessions were received very well, with visible enthusiasm and curiosity from the participating students, and even the university coach.
Two students on the module – Adam Karmani and Ifrah Rizwan kicked off the lecture series, highlighting key aspects of the module and the entire campaigning process. Guest speakers were also big contributors to the campaign. Dr. Madonna Hany, a Senior Psychiatrist Resident at Rashid Hospital, talked about stress and mental health. She gave students valuable tips for dealing with stress and for improving mental health. The university’s resident counselor Dr. George Kaliaden also talked about the impact of stress on university students, especially during exam times and provided helpful solutions and advice to manage.
The university was also visited by Dr. Benny Prasad, a Guinness World Record holder and wellbeing advocate. He talked about his experience in overcoming depression and suicide, and the work he does trying to help young people deal with mental distress. Dr. Prasad also spoke about his travels and the use of music as a form of healing. The talk was followed up with a lively singing performance by himself and his wife.
The campaign also featured live music throughout the day along with refreshments and pick-me-ups including fresh fruit and cupcakes. Decorations and a campaign of sticky notes featuring positive and encouraging messages were plastered all over campus, providing positive messages. The event was live streamed on the various social media platforms which had been set up by the students. Students and faculty both appreciated the efforts which were part of an assessment for third-year Media students for the Campaigns and Social Change module. The campaign event was the culmination of six weeks of independent study by students, showcasing the impact of campaigns on social change.