5 Innovative Ways to Support Student & Campus Well-Being
Colleges and universities nationwide are innovating to support the needs of students, faculty and campus communities, and Barnes & Noble College is continuously innovating to support the institutions we serve as a partner with deep engagement on campus. In the summer of 2023, we launched a new initiative to support student and campus well-being, in response to research that indicates students are struggling to maintain their overall wellness – and looking for solutions.
Be Well. Be You.™ by Barnes & Noble College is a thoughtfully curated collection of wellness products designed to calm and recharge the mind and body, available through our campus stores and ecommerce sites. We sat down post-launch with institutional partners and wellness experts from the University of Maryland, the University of Tampa, Lifelines and Rae Wellness to discuss how BNC campus store teams are using Be Well. Be You. as a springboard to talk about and share tools for well-being.
1. CREATE FRESH OPPORUNITIES TO START THE WELL-BEING CONVERSATION
“I count on the campus bookstore, which is full of colleagues who are part of our caring community. They began to think about Be Well. Be You. as a way to start a conversation with customers. It wasn’t just about ‘buy your spirit gear’ – which is still important – but it was also about ‘how are you doing, and have you seen these tools.’ I think those nudges to think about how you’re doing is sometimes what a student needs, what a colleague needs, what a faculty member needs to even engage in that course.
The Be Well. Be You. merchandise says that it’s okay to take care of yourself. No one’s perfect. We’re all searching for an answer about how to feel better or even how to feel different.”
Marsha Guenzler-Stevens, PhD: Director, Adele H. Stamp Student Union – Center for Campus Life, Division of Student Affairs, University of Maryland
2. GIVE STUDENTS TANGIBLE TOOLS TO GET STARTED
“Sometimes students need something tangible as they start their wellness journey, to get them involved and started learning about what wellness approaches are right for them. It’s very personal.
When I found out about Be Well. Be You. and really started to learn more about the different products and solutions that were featured, I immediately thought about our Live Well UT students who are holding events that they deem to be important and educational for their peers. The types of products or giveaways they’re using to engage with their fellow students are these exact types of things. That is what students want and are looking for and need.”
Tiffany Nelson, Assistant Director of Wellness Services, University of Tampa
3. MAKE TOOLS FOR WELL-BEING ACCESSIBLE FOR STUDENTS
“Wellness should be for everyone. It does not have to be expensive or a full-time job. And that’s why it’s critical that students understand that they can build a well-being toolbox. They can grab one tool one day and something totally different the next. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can take as little as a minute and a half to execute on some of these things that they need so desperately throughout the day.
The goal is getting students to focus and thrive in the now so that they can get beyond the now into the future that they’re creating in college. Taking a multifaceted yet personalized approach to well-being is how we can support the next generation. They are going to conquer the world.”
Angie Tebbe, CEO/Co-Founder, Rae Wellness
4. DEVELOP WELL-BEING EVENTS AND PROGRAMS FOR ADDITIONAL ENGAGEMENT
“Barnes & Noble College has a mission to support students’ academic success. That’s what drives our decisions and how we curate the products in our stores – and it’s why we had to do something meaningful to support the well-being of our campus communities. Our Be Well. Be You. wellness collection provides tools and ideas to help people identify what they need in their own body and soul to stay healthy, then start to meet those needs.
We didn’t want to just put products on shelves. The most important thing for us was engaging with our college and university partners to support the well-being journey of students and everyone on campus. It’s about what we can do to really become part of the solution, including workshops, speaking engagements and one-on-one interactions.”
Celeste Risimini-Johnson: Chief Merchandise & Operations Officer, BNC
5. PICK PARTNERS ALIGNED WITH YOUR PRIORITIES AND VALUES
“We have had thousands and thousands of partners in our experience running Melissa and Doug, and there has been nothing even remotely close to the extraordinary Barnes & Noble College team. And I get truly emotional when I talk about them. BNC acknowledges that Be Well. Be You. is more than just product, but that doesn’t even touch on the soul that they all put toward this effort and how much they truly care. It is beyond anything I’ve ever seen.”
Melissa Bernstein, Co-Founder, Melissa & Doug Toys; Co-Founder, Lifelines