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9 Ways To Re-Energize Students in the New Year!

By: Lucie-Kay Desthuis-Francis on Jan 3, 2023 3:54:51 PM
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What better time is there to re-energize your students than the new year?

Help your students find the motivation to succeed after winter break, here are 9 ways to re-energize your students this new year.

As students return to campus after winter break, they don't always feel motivated. Some may have low energy after the busy holiday season. They may prefer hibernating to socializing or participating in extracurriculars. 

Others may struggle getting back into the routine of college life. They may have difficulty staying focused and staying on track of academics and co-curriculars.

These fun ideas will help your campus community stay connected, active and engaged even when it's freezing outside!

Ways To Re-Energize College Students in the New Year_Hands Reaching out and sharing

1. Reach Out and Share

While it's tempting to jump straight back into campus life after winter break, take this opportunity to reconnect with your student body. January is a great time to share or re-share key resources that promote student success. 

Along with your Welcome Back and Happy New Year message, include links to resources and events that will help students throughout the spring semester. However, make sure you ease on in. Bombarding students with information once they return can feel overwhelming. 

To start the new year off on the right foot, here are some events that help set students up for success by reflecting on their professional goals and career path.

πŸ₯… Goal Setting Workshops: Encourage students to set SMART goals for themselves with a goal setting workshop! Research shows that goal setting has many benefits. It helps students feel more motivated, fulfilled and successful. It also positively affects retention. Students that set goals are also reportedly more productive, better at building a professional network, and becoming career ready. Career centers on campus provide many related services and tools. The new year is the perfect time to draw awareness to career readiness programs and co-curricular pathways.

πŸŽ’Career Fair: The fall or beginning of the academic year is generally the most popular time to host a career fair. However, many campuses host career fairs in February after winter break. During this time students are generally focused on securing summer internships or jobs. Therefore, they may be more open and receptive to meeting prospective employers and recruiters. Remember career fairs don’t need to be fully in-person. To save space and resources they can also be hybrid or virtual.

πŸ’¬ Networking Opportunities: Most networking events are held in the Fall semester, around welcome week. However, there are many ways to encourage students to build new connections throughout winter. Professors or Student Leaders can build networking opportunities at the beginning of a class or event using icebreakers. International Student Associations and International Education staff can host a social event for students returning to campus from study abroad programs, international students on campus, and students planning to study abroad. Alumni Meet & Greets also help current students connect with mentorship or internship opportunities.

Ways To Re-Energize College Students in the New Year_students jumping

2. Create Connections and Shared Memories

Start the new year right by promoting fun activities to reconnect the campus community. Host campus wide events and encourage student organizations and clubs to host events that promote social connection and trigger joy. 

This is a great way for students to create connections. Social interactions that engage on an emotional level also help foster a sense of belonging among students. Creating shared memories helps them feel part of the community. Social activities and connecting with others is also key to preventing student burnout.

Whether the temperatures are below freezing on your campus or not, here are some creative and fun winter event ideas that create social cohesion. 

πŸ‘©πŸ½β€πŸ³ Cooking Classes: Pair up students to cook and enjoy a meal together! It could be something nice and warming such as making a hearty stew or pie. Student affinity groups may also want to host an evening, teaching students how to cook their national dish while listening to traditional music. This helps students share in the diversity of their community, and experience a different culture through its culinary heritage.

🎨 Paint Night: Host an instructor-led step-by-step art class. Have a student-led organization co-host the event so that it promotes or explores their mission. Student organizations at our Partner Campuses regularly host Black History Month Paint Night in February. This very popular event enables students to celebrate through art the many achievements of the African-American community in shaping American history.

βœ‹ Volunteering Events- Organize community service events or days for students to volunteer. This is a meaningful way to bring people together and make a difference in the local community. Many places welcome volunteers, including soup kitchens, community parks, food banks, animal shelters, libraries, schools, or assisted living facilities

Ways To Re-Energize College Students in the New Year_wellbeing and yoga

3. Encourage Physical Engagement and Self-Care

New year's resolutions are often focused on staying fit and healthy. This is because physical engagement and self-care are fundamental to a person’s overall well-being. 

According to the American Institute of Stress, college students are currently experiencing unparalleled stress levels. Eighty percent of students reportedly suffer from stress, which if it becomes chronic can lead to burnout.

Research shows that prioritizing self-care in college is key to a successful higher education experience. In addition to helping students keep fit and ward off the flu, physical activity is proven to ward off stress. It is a critical component of mental health and preventing student burnout.

Here are some activities to encourage students to get out and about, even when the temperatures are below freezing! 

⛸️ Sporting Events- Organize campus-wide sporting events to help students stay active. This can include day-trips to enjoy winter sports such as ice-skating, skiing, sledding or snowshoeing. There are also many indoor sporting activities that can be organized on campus. These include friendly basketball, soccer and volleyball games. Climbing walls are also a fun indoor activity, as are exercise classes such as spinning, zumba, yoga or pilates. Athletics clubs can hold open power workouts during finals week to help students take study-breaks, stay active and de-stress. However, encouraging students to exercise daily is a great way to promote their overall well-being.

🌲 Nature Activities- Encourage students to get off campus and explore the outdoors by organizing hiking trips or campfire nights under the stars. Spending time in nature is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and bring about a greater sense of well-being. Other benefits of being in nature include increased creativity, memory and cognitive function. The benefits of outdoor activities can also be achieved closer to home. Walking outdoors 30-60 minutes a day has a positive impact on health and energy. Being exposed to natural light on a daily basis also has a positive impact on mood and concentration. This is especially true in those long and dark winter months.

πŸ§˜πŸ½β€β™€οΈ Health & Wellness Sessions- The new year is an excellent time to remind students to prioritize their health and wellbeing. Health & Wellness Center staff can organize campus-wide wellbeing weeks or days where they host events for students to improve the mind-body connection. Activities may include meditation workshops to introduce students to this self-activity and its benefits, such as enhanced memory and stress reduction. Other workshops may include the benefits of music on concentration and mood, helping students focus better on their studies. Student organizations also often host self-care nights during finals week. These events are tailored to give students a break from studying to get a massage, color, or do other relaxing activities. 

Ways To Re-Energize College Students in the New Year_Happy students graduating

Thank you for checking out our top event ideas to re-energize college students in the new year! We hope you found some new inspiration to keep your students motivated, happy and engaged during the spring semester.πŸ’™

Are you a higher education professional leading campus life initiatives and student activities? Contact us to chat about how Ready Education can empower your institution to build and engage a campus community and experience that drives student success.