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Fostering a sense of belonging and community

  • Blog
  • 4 min read
  • Posted August 2021

Students face a range of challenges when adjusting to university life, particularly those who are required to move away from home in order to pursue their studies. Challenges abound in relation to the realities of a lifestyle involving greater autonomy, increased responsibilities, the development of new social networks, and the precarious balancing act of family commitments, part-time work, study, and social life.  

Research highlights that forming positive social relationships, meaningful connections and developing a sense of ‘fit’ are vital in aiding adjustment and in fostering students’ sense of belonging. Effective programming and organised social activities which meet the needs of a diverse student body are pivotal in achieving such goals.  

Deakin Res provides a variety of programs, services, and other initiatives to appropriately and effectively support students’ transition to the residential environment, ongoing engagement, and a true sense of belonging to their new place of residence. These commence from the moment of application and progress throughout every stage the residential journey, including online inductions, webinars, face to face community meetings, student programming, and involvement in online forums.  

Resident, Melanie, highlights that the sense of belonging, inclusion and community within the Warrnambool residences has been critical to her successful transition to university life. 

The friendly vibe is evident as soon as you walk into res and people are happy to stop and have a conversation with you. Deakin Res staff have also been vital in ensuring I’ve had a great experience. They’re great at encouraging people to connect which has made the process of getting to know people so much easier and less daunting. Alongside my fellow residents, I’ve been encouraged to step out of my comfort zone, try new things and to speak to new people all while having fun doing it. 

You can read more about how Deakin Res fosters a sense of belonging and community in our latest Research Paper.  

Written by

Profile photo of author Laura Burge
Laura Burge Student Experience and Engagement Manager

Laura is widely regarded as an industry expert in the theory, planning, and delivery of exceptional student experiences, having honed her skills over the course of a career spanning two decades and multiple higher education institutions.

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