Students find support with each other online

Lighthouse, a platform where TU/e students can offer each other support, was recently launched. “Just knowing that there is someone willing to listen to your problems feels good,” say the students who manage the platform.

photo Den-belitsky / istock

Social networking site Lighthouse wants to provide all TU/e students with the opportunity to connect and chat with each other. For years, there had been talk about setting up a digital platform for students to seek extra support from each other. Now, Lighthouse is live.

Why it took a while to get it up and running for all TU/e students is something the Lighthouse spokesperson can easily explain. “We had set up the structure for Discord, but TU/e doesn’t support Discord. After that, we tried Slack but eventually, we had to switch to Teams. That took a lot of time.” Lighthouse initially opted for Discord because many students use it. “It’s more informal. Teams is often used in a professional setting and is not as much associated with sharing your feelings. But we understand that Teams is supported by TU/e, so we went along with it.”

QR code

Lighthouse has distributed flyers in as many places as possible and at the entrance to MetaForum there is an impossible-to-miss banner. Both include a QR code; by scanning it, students can access the platform. The open channels are available for anonymous messages. To participate in any of the eight dedicated channels, you have to sign up. Once Lighthouse has granted you access, you are in a secure environment with like-minded people.

The groups are about support in all possible areas, for example, financial, mental or educational. If you would like to chat with students who have a brain that functions differently from a “standard brain”, like those with autism or ADHD, you can join the Neurodivergent support group.

The six students who form the Lighthouse advisory committee want TU/e to be a safe place for all students. Anyone who needs help that Lighthouse cannot provide is referred to professionals or to TU/e’s student psychologists. “In the first place, we want to facilitate peer support for all students. But if necessary, we can provide names of other support agencies.”

Lighthouse is moderated an anonymous student who has undergone training to be a confidential contact person. This person also has a duty to keep everything confidential.

There were 160 visitors during the initial period that Lighthouse was online. They would like to see that number grow, says the platform. The spokesperson imagines that will happen once students become familiar with Lighthouse. “It’s free and without obligation. You can chat with students who are dealing with the same problems as you. Or if you’re under stress, you can search for help or information. You can also agree to study with others – online – at the same time. That is motivating.”

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