Report: How will Covid-19 change belonging and community on campus?

01 August 2020
How long it will be, if ever, until higher education returns to some semblance of normality is unclear. What is important though, is that universities continue to deliver not just education, but the social and bonding experience that comes with higher education. In this report we look at the challenges of creating a sense of belonging pre-Covid, and what factors should be the focus going forward to assist in the recovery effort and build a resilient student experience. 

Within this paper we have reflected back on how institutions help create a sense of belonging and community and how this varies across different demographics. This was not an area that institutions necessarily excelled on prior to Covid. As institutions have grown in size, the connection students have with teaching staff, and other students has eroded. What we do know, is that a poor sense of belonging results on lower performance and higher attrition, amongst other issues.

The potential consequences of Covid to student wellbeing, connection and community are prolific. There is already evidence of the mental health effects emerging, but there are also cultural implications. Students create a sense of place within the walls of an institution, it is a time (especially for undergraduates) of significant coming of age and transformation into adulthood. The physical campus faciliates many of these connections, and this space will now be rationed.

So how can an institution help form a sense of belonging both during Covid and on the road to recovery?

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