From education to employment


GSA has launched a ground-breaking pilot project on Global Wellbeing, which aims to improve student wellbeing in the Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) sector. As the global leader in student living, GSA believes it is paramount to advance the knowledge and understanding of student wellbeing across its global portfolio. Therefore, on the 26th of August 2019 the GSA wellbeing team provided funding for seven (7) students from the UK, Japan, Egypt, Cyprus and Mauritius to take part in a week long wellbeing design workshop, with the intention to create a concept for ‘The Bedroom of Tomorrow’.

The research focused pilot brought together four (4) wellbeing in design industry experts from around the world (USA, UK, UAE and The Netherlands) to mentor the students on the key factors that influence wellbeing in residential buildings. The participants were selected through an initial competition which asked them to develop their own interpretation on how wellbeing considerations could improve their own living environment. A total of seven (7) candidates from across the world were chosen. GSA was keen to ensure this was a truly global project, inviting opinions and perspectives from various cultures, responding to the globalisation of Higher Education.

GSA’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Nicholas Porter said “As a leader in global student living, we have a responsibility to understand and progress student wellbeing practices. Enhancing the wellbeing of our residents through carefully considered and researched design is a fundamental part of this. We are committed to ensuring students themselves are active participants in the evolution of our residence design and I am continually amazed and inspired by what this generation is capable of.”

Kirsten James, Senior Designer at Studioilse explained ‘At Studioilse we have a simple mission – to put human need and desires at the centre of our work. It means creating environments where people feel comfortable; public spaces that make people feel at home and homes that are habitable. The mission this week was nurturing a new generation of students to question why and how their living space can support and improve their daily lives.”

Marc Snyder, Associate Principal at 4240 Architecture stated, “The discussions this week focused on why it’s critical to understand and implement sustainable design practices that promote wellbeing. We are teaching a design perspective that is specifically tuned to explore the importance of wellness in student living and higher education communities in promoting success.”



  • Philippa Charrier – FAT Properties – UK
  • HaninHazeem– OneYoungWorld – UAE
  • Kirsten James – Studioilse – UK
  • Marc Snyder – 4240 Architecture – USA

GSA’s long-term objective for the first phase of the wellbeing in design (The Bedroom of Tomorrow) project is to enact positive wellbeing design changes throughout all its residences. Engaging and collaborating with students on the process of residence design is a valuable exercise and will allow for added insights to GSA’s existing wellbeing in design principles. Currently the student’s wellbeing through design concept has been shared with members of the GSA team for feedback and review. Any adaptions will be evolved into a final concept design. The concept will be created by GSA’s architectural partners 4240 architecture together with a summary of the core discussions and preferences the students identified during the workshop.

Through the continued strengthening of relations with our partner organisations and the joint commitment to continuous wellbeing improvement through research and collaboration, GSA aims to have all student living spaces incorporate student wellbeing through design by 2025.

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