Dogs and sport help wellbeing for Kuopio students

Initiatives are part of an action plan to tackle loneliness and social exclusion at the University of Eastern Finland

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File picture of a woman holding a puppy / Credit: iStock

Students in Kuopio are set to take part in an initiative aimed at reducing stress and loneliness using sports and dogs.

It’s part of the University of East Finland‘s annual welfare week which takes place next week in partnership with the student union

“Starting university studies may cause a feeling of loneliness, especially if you have moved to a new place far away. And even older students can experience loneliness if they have been part of the class community” says Ronja Mäkinen from the student union board.

The idea of the welfare week’s theme – loneliness – came from another initiative to tackle social exclusion. The university’s health service organises a weekly Friends Café to provide opportunities for discussion and to meet other students.

Activities during the week

During the week, students and staff will have access to local wellness operators at a Wellness Fair and to relieve stress at a sports day with activities as diverse as yoga and rugby.

And man’s best friend is playing a big part in the welfare week, as a pack of trained dogs comes to lift up the atmosphere on campus.

“The dogs were hugely popular last year, so we decided to bring them again to the programme” Ronja Mäkinen tells News Now Finland.

The welfare week program also includes other events such as the chance for students to give more direct feedback to university authorities.