Thriving Campus

Thriving in University

From Flourishing to Thriving

The concept of thriving expands upon research on flourishing, particularly the work of Corey Keyes and Jon Haidt in 2003, to offer a new vision for wholistic student success and a framework through which to achieve it. Keyes and Haidt’s work highlighted emotional, psychological, and social well-being as foundational to living a healthy, productive, joyful, and flourishing life.

A flourishing framework for mental health and wellness seeks to address this issue by highlighting the contexts and environment that optimize wellness. This work situates hope, curiosity, gratitude, appreciation, and a growth mindset as essential for overall well-being.

A Strengths-based Approach to Well-being

This frame for understanding factors that support and sustain mental health and wellbeing emphasizes people’s strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses.

Research on thriving translates and applies the work on flourishing to the university student experience. It identifies 5 key factors educators can foster to maximize the academic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal development of each student.

What is Thriving?

Thriving is a researched framework that raises the bar on how we approach well-being.

Learning from Dr. Laurie Schreiners work on Thriving, Western is aiming to support students along the 5 factors of thriving in higher education:

Engaged Learning - Academic Determination - Positive Perspective - Diverse Citizenship - Social Connectedness

How is this approach different? How does it help?

Thriving re-examines traditional approaches to student success that focus on remedial support to “at risk” students. It challenges student affairs to develop new approaches that inspire students to achieve their best, engage students in transformational learning opportunities, and enrich the entire student experience (Schreiner, Louis, & Nelson, 2012). These learning goals will be applied throughout all of Western Student Experience. It should be equally as important to help students develop in these ways whether it be through involvement in intramurals, as it is in making an appointment at the Writing Centre, or attending an educational program.

Student Experience is taking a unique approach by implementing Thriving-based programming across ALL units within its structure and is actively partnering with faculties and affiliates to integrate and elevate the work they are doing to support a Thriving Campus. 

Who is involved in supporting a thriving campus?

A true thriving approach must be co-created across department and institutional lines. This means an integrating Student Experience programmes and learning experiences with faculties & affiliates as equal partners and contributors. Exciting work is already taking place at the faculty level, as well as at Brescia, Huron, and King’s University Colleges. 

A shared effort to integrate will best serve Western students by creating a cohesive network of options that can help them back to a state of thriving.