Residential Advisors (RAs) are high-achieving senior students employed by the University to support residents' transition into tertiary study, to develop and maintain the hall community and to provide leadership through the provision of social and academic learning opportunities. RAs live on site and are assigned a group of residents. They are often the first point of contact for residents needing assistance or support as they negotiate the challenges of living in a communal environment away from home.
Deputy Head of Halls (DHoHs) live on site and work with the Head of Hall to provide leadership and management within the Hall environment. Their role includes assisting the coordination of the Residential Advisor team and managing responses to resident behaviour. Their role is essential in building each hall's sense of community and individual culture. The Deputy Head of Hall will also contribute to disciplinary processes, or function as a conduit to university support services.
Night Managers work on site outside of regular office hours, supporting the management team in the running of the hall. Their focus is on the health, welfare and safety of residents, as well as ensuring the security of hall buildings. The Night Manager will work in conjunction with the Residential Advisors to assist with duty rounds and address any incidents that may occur.
The Student Support Coordinators (SSCs) are registered health professionals who provide a confidential service for hall residents experiencing any health or wellbeing issues that may impact on their ability to manage the demands of their living and academic environments. The SSCs liaise with faculties, student support services, and community services to ensure that residents can access the support required to reach their potential and achieve academic success.
Kia ora, I’m Emma, and I’m the Student Support Coordinator for Weir House, Victoria House, 222 Willis and Uni Hall. I’m a registered counsellor, and I have previously worked in the community at organisations including the Wellington Women’s Health Collective and Evolve. I really enjoy working alongside students in their first year away from home as they adjust to their new-found independence. My door is always open, and I am here to provide support and link students in with other services. I’m originally from Christchurch but have called Wellington home for the past ten years. I enjoy travelling, gardening, and going for walks. I can be contacted via email.
Kia ora, I’m Hester—one of the Student Support Coordinators. I cover Boulcott Hall, Katherine Jermyn Hall and Everton Hall. I am a registered counsellor with experience working in high schools and universities. I love working with young people from diverse backgrounds and supporting them to make the most out of life by embracing the opportunities available to them and overcoming obstacles along the way. I am available for queries big and small, related to wellbeing, health, academia and anything else that might crop up in this exciting and challenging time of life. Outside of VUW I am passionate about cooking, music, travel and my family and friends. I can be contacted via email.
Hi, my name is Jasmine and I am the Student Support Coordinator (Hall Counsellor) for Willis Street Halls including Cumberland House and Education House, Capital Hall and Helen Lowry Hall. I am a registered Social Worker, completing my Bachelor of Social Work in 2013 and in 2018 completed a Graduate Certificate in Restorative Justice Practice. I enjoy the cultural and ethnic diversity within the University and see my role as supporting all residents to achieve academic success and personal health and wellbeing. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and relaxing at the beach. I can be contacted via email.
Nau mai haere mai to Victoria University's halls of residence
Your first year at university will be a year of change, new opportunities and learning. It will be one of the most exciting and challenging years for you. We have provided the information below to help you think about how you can prepare yourself for this next stage in your life as an independent, capable and responsible resident in your hall community.
The process of adjustment
Adjustment to big change, such as coming to university, will take time and sometimes feels a bit like a rollercoaster ride. For some people, these experiences and changes will be felt very early on, while others may find themselves still struggling to cope with these changes long after they have moved-in. All of these changes and feelings are normal and natural. Adjusting to living in a hall of residence is not a race—everyone does it in their own way and in their own time.
Coping with change
The good news is that your feelings can be managed by acknowledging the changes in your life, contacting home, planning trips home to give you something to look forward to, and giving yourself time to get involved in what the hall, people and university have to offer.
Building new relationships is not easy for everyone and you may not know anybody moving into your hall of residence. However, don't despair as most of the other people you meet are in the same boat, so why not make the most of your shared experiences and make some new ones together? We recommend talking to the people on your floor, striking up a conversation with the person next to you in the dining room or in your lectures or tutorials, to find people who have similar interests to you, such as TV programmes, movies, or bands.
Ecological Social Model
Student Support Coordinators employ an ecological approach to improve resident wellbeing. An ecological approach focuses on both population-level and individual-level determinants of health and interventions. Campus ecology provides a multifaceted view of the connections between health, learning, productivity and campus structure.
Campus ecology identifies environmental factors and influences that interact and affect individual behaviour. These factors may be the physical, spatial, the human aggregate, or characteristics of the people, organizational and social climate.
Because significant and dynamic interrelationships exist among these different levels of health determinants, interventions are most likely to be effective when they address determinants at all levels, including:
- Public policy—local, state, national and global laws and policies.
- Community—relationships among organizations, institutions and informational networks within defined boundaries.
- Institutional factors—social institutions with organizational characteristics and formal (and informal) rules and regulations for operations.
- Interpersonal processes and primary groups—formal and informal social networks and social support systems, including family, resident advisors, recreation and friendship networks.
- Intrapersonal factors—characteristics of the individual such as knowledge, attitudes, behaviour, self-concept, skills and developmental history. Includes gender, religious identity, racial/ethnic identity, sexual orientation, values and goals.
The parents'/caregivers' guide to living in a hall of residence
Undoubtedly, the first year at university is a period of transition and adjustment. It will be one of the most exciting and demanding years for your child. As a parent or caregiver, the first year will also present its own unique set of new experiences and challenges.
First year challenges and the process of adjustment
Adjustment to big change, such as starting university, takes time and sometimes feels a bit like a rollercoaster ride. For some people, these experiences and changes will be felt very early on, while others may find themselves still struggling to cope with these changes long after they have moved in. All of these changes and feelings are normal and natural. Adjusting to living in a hall of residence is not a race—everyone does it in their own way and in their own time.
Major challenges often experienced within this first year are:
- Relationship complexities, including forming new relationships, fitting-in and sexuality.
- Developing and maintaining self-identity.
- Responsible use of social media.
- Experimentation with alcohol and substance use.
- Reality of academic expectations including time management and dealing with failure.
- Seeking support with health and wellbeing concerns.
Student responsibility versus parenting from a distance
We encourage students to take responsibility with their academic and personal choices, including:
- Choosing and making new friends.
- Respecting differences among others within the hall.
- Dealing with and managing the pressure of conflict.
- Setting and prioritising their own goals.
- Setting boundaries between social and academic life.
- Managing sleep, hygiene and nutritional needs.
- Acknowledging ownership over the areas that they are struggling with and seeking appropriate support.
Students need to accomplish these skills themselves, and our staff will be there to guide and support them. We can assure you that your child will be in a safe environment with experienced, caring and knowledgeable staff.
Tips for parents and families of university students
The main advice we can give you is to continue to have open and frank conversations with your child regarding all areas of their lives.
Coping with change
- Encourage your child to keep busy and get involved in the hall and university communities.
- Break the year into smaller bits, and set achievable goals.
- Suggest a short break at home during first trimester break to reconnect (it will matter later in the trimester if they haven't felt like they've had a break, even if only a for few days).
- Suggest that they talk through their experiences with hall or university staff.
- Know what services are available to students. If your child confides in you that they are having problems, it's helpful to know what services are available. On the front page of the Student Support Coordinators page, there are links to student services. The university website also has a great deal of information, just place a keyword in the search box.
- Support their choices. First year is a time to explore new programmes, courses and experiences. Some students are reluctant to follow their interests out of concern for disappointing their families. Having your support will mean a lot to your child.
Keeping in touch
- Send a surprise care package or mail.
- Discuss how often to keep in touch. Consider phone calls and Skype, but perhaps limit contact at the beginning of the year to check-in texts or calls.
- Be aware of the holiday times and get in early to book travel home, especially in the first trimester.
Finally, please let us know any information regarding your child that will help us support them more fully for their first year of tertiary study. For further information and tips, check-out the Victoria University of Wellington Guide for Parents pdf2MB.
Hall based support
Hall staff know the realities of living in a hall of residence and they are here to support you while you navigate your way through hall living and the university environment.
Deputy Head of Halls (DHoHs) and Residential Advisors (RAs) live on site and are usually your first point of contact. A duty RA is available daily after hours to deal with emergencies.
University wide support
Mauri Ora (Student Health) is Victoria University's centre for health, counselling and physiotherapy services. They are based at the Kelburn Campus, but also have smaller outreach clinics at the Pipitea, Karori and Te Aro campuses. Student Health provides a full range of health services for students, either as their primary GP, or casually if students decide to keep their family GP. For further information visit Student Health.
Victoria University's Disability Service provides advice, expertise and support to students. They are committed to leading Victoria University to be an inclusive education provider, and are committed to eliminating barriers for people with disabilities wherever they exist. This includes any mental health concerns. For further information visit Disability Services or Student Counselling.
To contact the Student Support Coordinator, ring, email or pop in.
Our Privacy Statement
We are mindful that the information we hold at the Victoria University Accommodation Service about your health is of a private and confidential nature. In regard to the collection, storage and access to that information, we are bound by the rules of the Health Information Privacy Code and the Health Act 1956. All of our Student Support Coordinators belong to a professional association and are required to practice in accordance with their association's code of ethics.
As a general rule, health information will not be disclosed to other people unless you have authorised the disclosure. Your Student Support Coordinator will discuss with you what information you are happy to share and with whom. This shared information would generally be your needs and requirements in order for other professionals within the University (e.g. Counselling or Student Health) to make appropriate and useful accommodations to enhance your learning. There are some exceptions to this general rule, such as when there are concerns for your own or others' safety, or when there is a legal duty to provide health information.
If you have any concerns about privacy and confidentiality, or would simply like more information about these topics, please talk to your Student Support Coordinator.