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Higher Education’s Role in Creating a Sense of Belonging

It is increasingly essential for universities to create the conditions for happiness and community.
Written by
October 22, 2021

Community and belonging are critical to the human condition, and we are craving them in new ways because they have been more challenging to achieve through the pandemic. Universities are in a unique position to provide a sense of belonging and community—especially within the context of increasing loneliness and deteriorating mental health among college students.

On October 6, 2021, Dr. Tracy Brower, author, award-winning speaker, and PhD sociologist, joined Localist to discuss innovative ways to foster student engagement and create and catalyze communities across campus. Universities are in a powerful position to not only impact students, but also their families, faculty, staff, and the immediate surrounding community.

Community is more important than ever; due to remote work and learning, 75% of students report feeling socially isolated, and 42% report an overall decline in mental health. Students are emotionally and mentally exhausted. Humans are hardwired to connect with our peers and consequently not only suffer from a lack of belonging and inclusion, but even physical health and performance declines.  

It is increasingly essential for universities to create the conditions for happiness and community including:

  • Instilling a strong sense of purpose, leading to increased motivation and drive
  • Engaging the entire community (students, staff, faculty and family) and investing time and energy through frequent, thoughtful contact
  • Building community by stretching skills and posing challenges – when individuals develop and become resilient, communities progress too

The pandemic, from an optimistic point of view, is also creating a new generation of young adults that have a sense of empathy and gratitude, and the ability to adapt and innovate to achieve their goals. They recognize the importance of friendship and relationships due to their unique circumstances.

Localist has been helping universities, such as MIT, Missouri S&T, and NCSU enhance their communities through events and engagement, leading to stronger relationships, improved overall wellbeing, and of course a greater sense of belonging.

To find out more about how Localist's university calendar app can help your organization achieve an engaged and united audience, schedule a personalized demo.

Watch the full recording of "Education’s Role in Creating a Sense of Belonging" to learn more including the greater implications of a strong community:

About the Speaker: 

Dr. Tracy Brower, PhD, MM, MCRW

Dr. Tracy Brower is a PhD sociologist studying work-life fulfillment and happiness. She is the author of The Secrets to Happiness at Work and Bring Work to Life. She is a principal with Steelcase’s Applied Research + Consulting group and a contributor to Forbes.com and Fast Company. You can find her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or at tracybrower.com.

Written by
February 14, 2023

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