Sodexo at French-Irish Symposium in University of Limerick

Sodexo’s Institute for Quality of Life got the opportunity to present research for third level students away from home at the French-Irish Collaboration Symposium at the University of Limerick on Tuesday 13th September 2016.  The event was attended by Tom Laskey, Sodexo’s business development director for Universities in the UK and Ireland and Thomas Jelley, Director of the Sodexo Quality of Life Institute who presented the research.

The Symposium was held in conjunction with the French Embassy in Ireland and addressed by Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault, the French Ambassador to Ireland. The overall aim was to promote links between the University of Limerick and French Higher Education Institutions for possible H2020 collaboration and other research liaison. 

Tom Laskey said, “We were delighted with the opportunity to introduce Sodexo’s Quality of Life Institute, our own think tank that actively seeks to research and improve our understanding of how we can improve the quality of life for the people we serve.  As the theme of the symposium was internationalism we outlined some recent research we have undertaken on physiological wellbeing away from home for third level students.”

First devised following an Institute round-table in 2014, Sodexo’s five phase model – from pre-departure to university through to returning home - was tested among international students at UK universities by a professor of psychology at Cardiff University in 2016.  The survey-based research found that the positive behaviours set out in the model were linked to greater wellbeing and quality of life. These effects remained significant even when known predictors of wellbeing such as a healthy life style and support were accounted for and the effects were of a magnitude to have practical implications.

From left to right: Thomas Jelley, Sodexo; Gordon Armstrong, UL/University of Limoges; Dr Huw Lewis, Dean Graduate School, Stéphane Aymard, UL and Tom Laskey, Sodexo at the French-Irish Symposium. 

Thomas Jelley, added, “As individuals, our experience of psychological wellbeing seems highly personal but there are many models that try to explain and help to improve it. Our simple five phase model from pre-departure preparation to taking time to get used to being back at home is especially pertinent for students living away from home.

“Our aim is to understand better the experience of being away from home and family so that Sodexo can serve clients and customers better.  We are pleased to share our work with individuals and third level institutions so they can also increase their understanding and the chances of maintaining psychological wellbeing for students. Our work includes insights on the uses, limits and drawbacks of digital communication, reminders of the importance of down time and the way perceptions change over time. “

Sodexo is a leading provider of food and facilities management services to clients in business and industry, education, financial services and healthcare in Ireland. It employs approximately 2,100 staff in 200 locations across Ireland, serves 90,000 people daily and spent €21 million on local Irish food in 2015.

Sodexo’s global universities business has a turnover of €2.6 billion and provides services at 1,600 campuses across the world. In the UK and Ireland, Sodexo provides catering, accommodation, FM and hospitality services to 50 universities and colleges.



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