Belonging is not a Buzzword
In the ever-evolving landscape of the college environment, the concept of belonging has emerged as a critical element in fostering healthy, engaged, diverse, vibrant campus cultures. Campuses that recognize the significance of creating a sense of belonging within their students and organizations can harness the full potential of their community. However, before we can develop a space where belonging can thrive for the well-being and success of students, we must first understand four critical facts related current campus environment facing college students:
- Mental Health Impact: According to a survey by the American College Health Association, 64% of college students felt very lonely in the past year, highlighting the emotional toll of a lack of belonging. Additionally, the demand for mental health services on college campuses has been rising. Many students seek counseling and support to address feelings of isolation and lack of connection to others.
- Academic Performance/Retention Rates: Research published in the Journal of College Student Retention found that students who feel a strong sense of belonging are more likely to stay enrolled, complete their degrees, and achieve higher academic success.
- Diversity and Inclusion: Minority and LGBTQ+ students often experience unique challenges related to belonging. Campus climate surveys often reveal disparities in feelings of inclusion and belonging among different demographic groups. Creating environments where all students can create their sense of belonging will promote the growth of a diverse student body.
- First-Generation Students: First-generation college students often face additional challenges related to belonging. A report by the Center for First-generation Student Success found that creating a sense of belonging is essential for the academic success and well-being of these students.
CAMPUSPEAK is committed to helping communities and students create a sense of belonging.
THE CARING SPECTRUM | BECOMING AN ACTIVIST FOR BELONGING – by Kipp Colvin
In the presentation, Kipp Colvin takes students from being mere participants at the table to becoming the architects who build the table for others. Kipp believes we must strive for more than just diversity, equity, and inclusion, and he challenges participants to ask themselves, “Are you fostering an environment where people can be their authentic selves, where everyone can flourish?” This program helps students identify practices for creating welcoming and inclusive environments and develop their leadership skills to authentically establish relationships to create a sense of belonging.