young girl smilingChoosing to attend a college or university is just the beginning of students finding their fit. From there, how do they find the people and experiences that make them feel like they truly belong?

Combatting loneliness and isolation doesn’t happen overnight, but it must begin from day one.

College students ranked “making new friends” as the third most difficult hurdle to overcome during their first month of college, just after time management and increased pressures (2022-2023 Sodexo Student Lifestyle Survey). They’re looking for their people – but with feelings of loneliness (54%) and isolation (47%) also growing among students,they need some help along the way.

Read Our Fit & Flourish White Paper

The influx of students on campus in the fall begins a unique journey of finding the people and experiences that make each student feel like they belong. As a hub of socialization, campus dining plays a pivotal role in this process.

Belonging happens from day one – whether that’s orientation, move-in day, or the first dinner away from home. We need to help foster this sense of community engagement and create safe spaces for students to engage with one another.

One of the new tools we have this year is SPARK, Sodexo’s engagement strategy for creating positive student outcomes through activities and programs that nurture relationship-building. This collection of engagement strategies is an extension of the dining program throughout the year and helps build community along the way.

Listen to Sodexo Campus Senior Director of Growth & Consumer Experience Marketing, Julie Pfeifer, share why she is so excited to light the SPARK this fall: