Building authentic connections with students on campus can help foster a more welcoming, inclusive environment where students are encouraged to grow. Several studies have shown that students who feel more connected to their professors and leaders often succeed more after graduation. While students are in school to learn, they’re also there to make connections to help them later in life.
Building organic relationships with students now can help them in the future. It can help your institution make the right decisions going forward on how students can better succeed on campus and after graduation.
What it means to have an active student body
It takes more than simply offering a great program or curriculum to create an active student body. A diligent student body will be invested socially in on-campus activities such as clubs, sports, and cultural events such as theater performances and art shows.
Encouraging students to be active socially can improve your institution’s reputation overall and create a more welcoming environment for students. For first-generation or racially diverse students, creating a welcoming environment is often key to ensuring that they feel comfortable on campus. On-campus activities, clubs, and social events can help foster a more inclusive environment.
Ways to bolster connections with students on campus:
Clubs and Organizations:
Offering a wide variety of clubs and organizations on campus can encourage student connections. Talk with students to find out what clubs and organizations they feel are lacking on campus, and work with existing clubs to find out how they could better use existing on-campus resources to encourage growth. Clubs and organizations can help boost personal development, help students find and grow new skills, and create networking and career opportunities that will help them after graduation day.
Your student body is diverse. Connect with individual pockets of your student body by hosting events on campus or online that can help your students find common ground and bond over their stories and experiences. Hold space for students of diverse backgrounds to share their stories. This can be something as simple as an open mic night or a fundraiser that features student speakers from different backgrounds that want to share their experiences.
Many students, especially those from the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or first-generation communities on campus, will appreciate opportunities to connect or share their voices, stories, and experiences with their fellow student body.
Promote On-Campus Services and Resources:
Are you marketing your on-campus resources and services enough? Many students on campus may have a general idea of different resources—from mental health resources to career planning—but may not know how to acc