In response to student feedback relating to wellbeing and social activities, CELT and the Students’ Union (SU) took a collaborative approach to host the BGU Carnival. The aim of this event was to bring a positive activity to the student community and ease potential feelings of stress, anxiety, or homesickness.
To promote the event materials were displayed around campus in areas such as main reception, Curiositea, the Refectory, the Chaplaincy, and Student Advice. A-boards were also placed in key high-traffic areas to capture the attention of as many students as possible. CELT arranged online promotions through the team’s digital display boards and Blackboard, and in collaboration with Marketing and the SU on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and the student portal.
On the day of the carnival, members of CELT and the SU set up Room 3DY with an array of games, wellbeing activities, and music. The strategic placement of both the candy floss and chocolate fondue stalls aimed to encourage students to explore the entire carnival area before heading to their food stall of choice.
BGU welcomed therapy ponies courtesy of ‘Rainbow Dreaming CIC’ whose aim is to enrich the lives of as many people as possible through their visits. ‘Jo’ and ‘Buggles’ were very responsive and calm when interacting with the students.
The event officially opened at noon, with students initially gathering by the pony enclosure to learn about pony care and their role in helping wellbeing in institutions, such as education and the care sectors. After spending time in this area, students were directed to the carnival in 3DY.
Upon arriving at the SU building, students were guided to where carnival bunting and a vibrant atmosphere awaited. A brief introduction by a CELT member set the stage for students to explore the carnival's various activities at their own pace. At the entrance, students were also presented with several support resources. One of these being the Wellbeing Toolkit, which has now seen the fantastic addition of The Recipe Booklet.
Carnival activities included ball toss, tin can alley, hook-a-duck, and ‘mindful’ colouring. Games offered the chance to win prizes like a bag of sweets which came in gluten-free and vegan options. While enjoying the activities on offer, students also had the opportunity to indulge in candy floss and a chocolate fountain into which students could dip either marshmallows or fruit.
SU mascot Lenny also made an appearance, partaking in a little ‘Pin the tail on the lion’ and offering free hugs and selfies. Most notably this year the infamous hook-a-duck went incident-free, enabling the mop and bucket to remain in the cupboard for another year.
In summary, the carnival was a resounding success, generating a vibrant and positive atmosphere. The impressive turnout of over 125 students in 3DY and more than 150 at the pony enclosure underscored the event's popularity. Given the popularity of the event and the positive impact it continues to have on students’ wellbeing, we hope to see the return of the BGU Carnival in 2024.