Creating an Emotionally Resilient Virtual and On-Campus Student Community at K-State through the University Life Café: A Case Study about Understanding the Users of a Socio-Technical Space

Creating an Emotionally Resilient Virtual and On-Campus Student Community at K-State through the University Life Café: A Case Study about Understanding the Users of a Socio-Technical Space

Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1930-2.ch002
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Abstract

A vibrant community of learners benefits from the well-being and health of all. The connectedness of today’s students through social media presents a powerful opportunity for K-State, which built the University Life Café to strengthen the emotional health of K-State’s students and to optimally prevent student suicides. This site provides opportunities for student intercommunications and interactivity; it offers access to counseling professionals. The site also provides relevant and original information on a variety of issues that affect students’ lives: methods for handling stress, dealing with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), maintaining healthy eating, strengthening social bonds and friendships, and problem-solving. The University Life Café team sponsors on-campus talks and events (including an annual art show). This team reaches out to traditional and non-traditional students and strives to create contents that speak to various demographic niches in the student population. The work of the University Life Café supports student retention by supporting learner well-being and self-efficacy through nonformal and informal learning outreaches. This chapter introduces the work of the University Life Café and the efforts made to understand who its users are in the first few years of the site’s launch. This work shows the limits of the inferences that may be made about the site visitors and their possible needs and suggests more formal and informal channels for information may enhance this situation of limited information.

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