A unique programme supporting AUT students to stay connected, develop self-knowledge, have authentic relationships and live a life of meaning proved its value during 2020, experiencing a 130 percent growth, despite students not being able to come to campus for much of the year.
Piloted in 2019, the Bright Side programme (formerly known as Wiser), has established a community that comes together for conversation, connection and reflection on the ups and downs of being human and in 2020 had its first full year of successful operation.
In response to the alert level 4 lockdown last March, the team worked with its community of guides which included AUT staff, industry and community partners to create a suite of online resources available on AUT’s student website and the AUT app.
Ki te tō, ka tupu; ki te aroha, ka puāwai. Haumi e, hui e, tāiki e! That which is planted, grows; that which is nurtured, blossoms.
Bright Side whakataukī
Bright Side also supported the delivery of an online seminar with renowned psychologists Nigel Latta and Natalie Flynn – helping students develop the skills they need to face challenges and setbacks.
Once back on campus, all AUT students keen to participate were welcomed to talks, workshops, rituals, and social events in Bright Side’s bespoke, comfortable space on Symonds Street. Through the year they explored topics like self-compassion, finding your passion and life planning, resilience, values and strengths, sleep and exercise, mindfulness, conservation and ethical spending, healthy sex and nurturing relationships.
Bright Side welcomed guests from many walks of life to share their knowledge and life lessons with AUT students.
In collaboration with Wade Jackson from Inspired Learning, Bright Side also ran Future Focus, a six-month programme to help students unlock their unique creativity and personal leadership style to succeed in their studies and work. Twenty AUT students were sponsored to participate, with learning outcomes that included an understanding of strengths and drivers, self-confidence, self-efficacy, as well as communication and collaboration skills.
Director of Student Communications and Engagement Rebecca Shrigley says the feedback about the 2020 programme was amazing. “The level of growth in participation shows people can see value in what Bright Side has to offer.
"Bright Side … and AUT have created a programme that is investing in their students beyond the world of academia… and it’s why I uprooted my safe and comfortable life in Dunedin to be at AUT - it’s not a university for just academics, it values the whole student."
Nathaniel Peacock, AUT student
“Bright Side was developed in collaboration with students and the needs they expressed they were seeking – balance, connection, meaning, self-efficacy and hope.”
She says the outcome is a community of students who feel like they have agency because they’re part of a community committed to a journey of personal growth.
Rebecca says she’s interested in hearing from any alumni who might have experiences or wisdom AUT students would benefit from. “I encourage them to reach out to us to talk through how they could contribute and give back to their AUT community.”
2020 guest speakers included
- AUT Professor Grant Schofield
- AUT Adjunct Professor and entrepreneur Mike Hutcheson
- Founder of Sunday Blessings supporting Auckland’s un-homed community, AUT student Danielle Le Gallais
- Director of Naked Audience, public speaking coach and AUT alum Miriam Chancellor
- Founder of Conscious Action Brian Berneman
- Sexologist and research and training lead for The Light Project, Jo Robertson
- Vice-President of Influence Ecology, Drew Knowles
- Melissa Jenner, Founder of START and certified Design Your Life coach
- Lex Pritchard, mindset and performance coach, former New Zealand boxer and AUT alumni.