Associate professor Berit Irene Helgheim during a Zoom meeting with students at the Department of logistics. Photo: Arild J. Waagbø

From small care groups to big care chats

In the first master’s students Zoom meeting, HiMolde associate professor Berit Irene Helgheim proposed small care groups for students during the Covid-19 lockdown. Now, the new strategy is big chat rooms.


The original idea was that 3-5 students formed groups to support each other mentally and emotionally during the Covid-19 lock down and for students not to go for a long period of time without talking to anyone.

According to one elected student representative Darya Rubchenia, the groups should be small with the aim for students to contact each other at least once in 2 days. She commented that it’s a challenge for the groups to work like this for example it takes more time to create small groups and it is also difficult to monitor several small groups.

Therefore, they decided on a different strategy. Two bigger care chat groups on Facebook Messenger where everyone can chat every two days. This is more effective because everyone in the group gets the message even if they choose not to respond.

On behalf of the students, Darya Rubchenia and Kristina Aalvik have created two separate big chats, the International care chat and the Norwegian care chat. This is for easy control and management. Also considering that there are two representatives, each one will take care of one group. It is still encouraged and possible for students to have their own small groups with friends or with classmates, but this will not be assigned by the representatives.

Student representative Kristina Aalvik said the big Norwegian care chat is working well: «Everybody responded where in Norway they are. And I write a message every other day. Then I ask and how they are and if they are healthy. Further, I also encourage them to ask me questions directly or the school.”

Students seemed to be pleased with the support and effort the university and the administration is taking to ensure that everyone is comfortable, not only educational wise, but also physically, emotionally and mentally.

From the second weekly masters student Zoom meeting – it’s 15 pm every Thursday, Berit Helgheim emphasized on the importance of maintain contact during isolation.

In her words: “Isolation is not good for the mind, stay in touch with each other and if you meet make sure you observe the restrictions provided by the authorities, keep a good distance and no more than five people.”

For students who had already created a small care group with friends right after the first meeting, one group has been helpful especially for a student who had a normal flu last week and was very worried.

However, some students do not see the point, because they already have good friends that they talk with on a daily basis.

In the big international care chat, students are already coming up with ideas for the music to be produced by the university through the “one sentence” initiative for students to describe their feelings, thoughts and to spread some positivity. The idea for the song is for all student to send a sentence describing how they feel, this will be converted into a lovely video with music.

So far ideas for the corona HiMolde song include volunteer singers from the groups, video clips of different students singing, dance clips and random moves.

Already, it is beginning to sound like a good song!