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Meet Emma Buhtina: RCL’s Student Support superhero

Meet Emma Buhtina: RCL's Student Support superhero

Happy Mental Health Awareness Week! From 13th to 17th May, Regent College London’s Student Support team will be hosting even more bespoke workshops, activities and trips to promote health education and overall wellbeing.   

We felt this is the perfect time to celebrate our Student Support team’s continued dedication and highlight the invaluable work they do!  

Your college journey should be an exciting and enriching time. But no matter how much you enjoy your chosen field, the constant rhythm of studying, completing assessments and meeting deadlines can be demanding, both mentally and physically. That’s before you even factor in competing priorities – whether you’re a parent, a carer, or working alongside your studies. 

At the heart of these initiatives is Emma Buhtina, our Head of Student Support. Emma joined RCL in early 2023, and soon made her mark with services that enhance the experience of every student.  

Of course, she is supported by her outstanding team – Stephane Hoppe (Student Support & Wellbeing Coordinator), Ida Kabamba (Student Disability Advisor), Divya Rampally (Student Support Coordinator), Mauli Sharma (Student Wellbeing Coordinator), Sripriya Ramkumar (Student Disability Advisor), and Keeley Garner (Campus Liaison Officer). 

We spoke to Emma to hear about her inspirations, her most rewarding projects to date, as well as her advice for any RCL students who feel they need support but are not sure where to start. 

When did you become interested in mental health? 

From a young age, my interest in the complexities of the human mind led me to volunteer with individuals facing significant challenges, including asylum seekers escaping from poverty, abuse, and war. These experiences ignited a strong desire within me to make a positive impact and offer support to those in need. 

As I connected with these individuals and shared moments of empathy, my passion for mental health advocacy grew. It became clear to me that dedicating myself to serving others with compassion and understanding is what I wish to do. These stories have shaped my path, guiding me towards a journey of dedicated service and compassion in this field. 

Why is your work so important to you?  

My work is driven by a desire to positively impact lives. Providing support and guidance to those navigating challenges is not just a duty but a calling, a testament to the strength and resilience inherent in every individual.  

As Maya Angelou famously remarked, ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.’ 

This quote encapsulates the essence of my approach – embodying compassion, resilience, and a touch of flair as I strive to empower others on their journey to wellness and fulfilment. 

“Providing support and guidance to those navigating challenges is not just a duty but a calling, a testament to the strength and resilience inherent in every individual.”

How long have you been working with students? 

In addition to my role as Head of Student Support at RCL, I’ve had the privilege of previously serving as the Head of Student Services for several years at another respected higher education institution.  

Alongside these leadership roles, I’ve also engaged in lecturing, mentoring, and observing aspiring educators in higher education. Each role has significantly contributed to my skill set and broadened my understanding of what students need and the challenges they face.  

Today, drawing from this diverse background, I’ve transitioned into the field of mental health support. My experience as a lecturer has honed my communication skills, my role as a mentor has deepened my empathy and understanding, and my time as an observer has emphasized the importance of keen observation and active listening. Using these skills, I feel well-equipped and dedicated to providing comprehensive support to others on their journey towards wellbeing. 

Could you tell us about one of your most rewarding projects? 

One of the most heart-warming experiences I was leading fundraising campaigns for Haven House and Save the Children during the holiday season. Our mission was simple yet profound: to provide support and assistance to seriously ill babies and children in hospice care.  

The generosity allowed us to make a real difference in the lives of those in need, offering hope and comfort during challenging times. It was a beautiful reminder of the kindness and compassion that exists in the world, and the profound impact we can have when we come together with open hearts.  

This experience reinforced my belief in the power of empathy and solidarity, inspiring me to continue spreading kindness and making a positive difference wherever I can. 

What would you say to RCL students who want to access support but don’t know where to start?  

 
To RCL students who may feel uncertain about accessing support, I want to offer encouragement and reassurance. You’re not alone in this journey, and seeking help is a brave and positive step toward achieving your goals.  

Our team is here to support you every step of the way. Whether you’re facing academic challenges, personal difficulties, or simply need someone to talk to, we’re ready to listen and assist you in finding the support you need. Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength. Together, we can overcome any obstacles you may encounter. 

Thank you to Emma and the entire Student Support team for the incredible work they do! 

If you’re an RCL student and would like to access support, please reach out to wellbeing@rcl.ac.uk or keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram, where we share regular updates about upcoming workshops and events.  

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