For young adults, college can offer self-discovery, lifelong friendships, and a better understanding of the world. This time of transition may also bring enormous social and emotional pressures, both of which are heightened as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts and reduces peer interaction. Facing unprecedented levels of loneliness, students are struggling with their health and academic performance. However, institutions can help students navigate this formative period with the Campus UnLonely initiative’s programs that inspire engagement and foster community.
Public Health Challenge
With record numbers of students expressing feelings of depression and loneliness in recent years, and the additional challenges resulting from distance learning, the loneliness epidemic has spread across college campuses.
“College can feel incredibly lonely. Students struggle to figure out who they are, where they fit, and indeed if they fit at all. Hearing over and over that the years at college are supposed to be the best, then, is disheartening, and makes students feel like they are failing in some major way” – Evan’s blog post
Short Film of Campus UnLonely
Through our UnLonely Film Festival, we collect short films to represent the lived experiences of loneliness in America.
Prevelance and Pervasiveness
Gen Z, or young people ages 18 to 22, are significantly more likely to be lonely than any other generation in the U.S. About 2 in 3 feel shy, feel like others don’t understand them, and feel that people around them are absent (Cigna).
Mental Health Risks
Before the pandemic, “60% of U.S. students felt ‘overwhelming’ anxiety, while 40% experienced depression so severe they had difficulty functioning… Suicidal thinking, severe depression and rates of self-injury among U.S. college students more than doubled over less than a decade” (American College Health Association).
In 2019, 27% of U.S. based students reported that feelings of anxiety had caused them to achieve a lower grade on an exam or in a class, while 20% of students said that feelings of depression were the cause of worse academic performance (American College Health Association).
Our Partners and Progress
The generous support of sponsors helps to scale the growth of this initiative and increase the impact we’re able to make on both national and local levels.
Our Community Partners
We deliver our programs in partnership with administrators, faculty, wellness professionals, and students at colleges and universities nation-wide. Our partners have come from Harvard College, Emerson College, School of the Art Institute Chicago, and others.