Sporting spotlight: Student and Library Services and Employability teams

Published: 11 March 2024 at 16:35

Five members of ARU's Student Services team in running clothes in front of the Lord Ashcroft Building in Chelmsford, holding up a banner commemorating Michelle Head

ARU Employability Adviser Khrieu Healy talks about her team's fundraising activities for Samaritans, in memory of much-loved colleague Michelle Head. On Sunday 3 March, they completed the Chelmsford Half Marathon, but they’re not stopping there.

Name: Student and Library Services and Employability teams

Staff, student, or alumni: Staff

In your own words, tell us about your sporting achievement or upcoming challenge.

Michelle Head

In June 2023 we suddenly lost an incredible colleague and friend. A highly qualified Counsellor and Mental Health First Aid Trainer, Michelle Head touched the lives of hundreds of students and staff over the course of her career.

She was honestly the nicest lady – a kind and compassionate colleague with a wonderful smile and a wicked sense of humour. There is now a huge hole in our university community.

We wanted to light a candle for Michelle, and to give others the opportunity to do something to pay tribute to this incredible lady. So, several Student and Library Services colleagues are running 10K, half marathon and marathon distance events to fundraise for Samaritans - a fantastic mental health charity that Michelle personally supported.

Michelle was passionate about enabling our students to access the mental health support and self-care tools they need to thrive on campus and beyond.

What would you say to someone to inspire them to follow in your sporty footsteps?

Active challenges inspired by friends and family are a fantastic way of turning loss into legacy. Talking to others about Michelle and highlighting the important work of Samaritans and the ARU Wellbeing Service is a lovely way of paying tribute to our much-missed colleague.

You don’t have to run a marathon to make a difference though! Walk, skip, swim – whatever you choose to do, memorial miles are a great way of celebrating amazing people.

Michelle Head sitting on a deckchair outside a beach hut

You can sponsor us and keep up-to-date with our latest activities via our JustGiving page.

If any ARU colleagues would like to join the team to fundraise in memory of Michelle, please do get in touch.

Students and staff are also warmly invited to use the comments box on our JustGiving page to share their stories and tributes. We look forward to celebrating Michelle's life and achievements with you.

If you need support

The Counselling and Wellbeing Service is available to all ARU students and offers a free and confidential service to promote mental health and wellbeing.