A commitment to wellness and innovation: Design Factory Javeriana Bogotá

Guest post by:

Lucas Ivorra Peñafort, Coordinator of the Design Factory Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

The Design Factory Javeriana Bogotá (DFJBOG) was born on August 4, 2016, to strengthen the efforts of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ) to better articulate with different internal and external stakeholders of the University, to address different challenges of society that the university could tackle through the development of products, services, or strategies. It also aims to strengthen the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem of the University. The commitment of the DFJBOG, managed by the Faculty of Architecture and Design in Bogotá (At the PUJ campus in Cali the Design Factory is in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), fits the mission of the PUJ under the Jesuit principles in the pursuit of the integral education of people, while being respectful of human dignity.

Educating people must 1) Transcend the merely technical aspects of education which, although important, are insufficient for a comprehensive education; and it must 2) Contribute to the satisfaction of the diverse human needs in the educational processes, not only those related to the curricular content of each course, but those linked to the whole set of material and non-material human needs. Thus, including well-being in the pedagogical dynamics is key to 1) Having more enriching and integral educational processes and 2) Contributing to the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the educational community. At the DFJBOG and the Faculty of Architecture and Design we consider it important to join the efforts of TWP Higher Education Network. Basically, with our involvement in “The Wellbeing Project’s Higher Education Network” we want to 1) Strengthen the activities that PUJ has been conducting to be a better place to study and work; 2) Share our good practices and lessons learned in terms of wellbeing and innovation, to enrich the processes in other institutions; and 3) Learn from the good practices and lessons learned from other institutions.

Currently, at the DFJBOG and the Faculty of Architecture and Design, we have been advancing and supporting different initiatives that contribute to the well-being of our university community. From the different Vice Rectors’ Offices, we develop community building and integral health activities with our Center for Cultural Management, the Center for the Promotion of Identity and Community Building, the Javeriana Center for Sports Training, the Center for Psychological Counseling and Health, the Center for Learning, Teaching and Evaluation, the San Francisco Javier Pastoral Center, the cultural events of the Faculty of Arts, the personalized support of the Academic Counseling, among others.

In the DFJBOG, one of the main bets for wellness is our Open Mind Fridays, where we conduct community and trust-building activities, which are not related to classes or projects. For example, we have developed kite and cookie-making workshops, relaxation sessions, movie and pizza afternoons, and singing and dancing sessions, among others. In this line, following the initiative of Professor David Osorio from the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, we joined the sessions that he and Professor Jairo Hurtado from the Faculty of Engineering had been conducting with game afternoons with students, lecturers, and friends. To paraphrase Professor Jairo, this initiative, which we agreed to call “Game Fridays,” strengthens the physical and mental health care of our students and contributes to building richer and closer relationships in the educational community. More recently, the Cultural Management Center offered us their support to increase the reach of Games Fridays with the Cultural Management Center’s initiative called “Fridays at Sunset”.

After more than five Games Fridays sessions held jointly, we are planning to move on to the next stage, with the participation of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, the Faculty of Engineering, and the DFJBOG with the support of the Faculty of Architecture and Design. This new stage seeks to combine and strengthen the participation of more people from the three faculties involved, extend the impact to other faculties and units of the University, and merge and document the lessons learned and impacts achieved by this initiative.

Thank you to our TWP Higher Education Network colleagues for having us, and we trust that we can make a significant contribution to the network’s efforts to improve educational processes in an innovative way and the pursuit of the well-being of all involved.