Colors & Connection

Tackling the Loneliness Epidemic on College Campuses:
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health steps up!

September 8, 2022

Two students participating in a Colors & Connection workshop reach into a pack of oil pastels

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), one of the leading public health schools in the nation, is making loneliness a key theme in its new student orientation. On August 22, 2022, the incoming class was offered Colors & Connection workshops that used color and creative art-making to generate conversations around the experience of coming to HSPH and the vision of their future there. 115 students participated in three 45-minute workshops.

Our aim…

The goal was to provide a fun and engaging way to connect to each other as well as their own feelings about this new chapter in their lives. It also highlighted the importance of understanding loneliness as a public health issue.

How did it go?

This is the second year that HSPH has brought Colors & Connection to its campus community, expanding it from a small 1015 person format to a larger group to accomodate more students. Jeremy Nobel, MD, faculty at HSPH, and staff from the Foundation for Art & Healing’s Project UnLonely facilitated—but it is important to note that non-professionals and students themselves can lead the workshops.

What did the students say?

87% shared they had a better understanding of how using color could help express emotions.

80% felt more in touch with their emotions/feelings.

95% would recommend this program to their peers!

Students at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health participate in a Colors & Connection workshop

I was able to take some time to identify emotions that were hidden or latent through the experience itself. Creating something helped me figure out what’s going on at a deeper level.

Marissa, MPH student

Project UnLonely from the Foundation for Art and Healing
essie hands all in to help end loneliness
The Foundation for Art & Healing