Community and Well-Being

Community and Well-Being

This week our focus will be on community and the significant impact feelings of connection and belonging have on our well-being. Holding community is essential for our health and overall well-being. We must consider the important benefits of socializing and being a part of a community, especially as we continue to carefully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the many challenges it has created for our sense of connection to community. Engaging with and being a part of a community can look different for everyone and change form throughout your life. However you experience community, it’s likely you are also experiencing one of the many benefits below outlined by Psychology Today:

  • You may live longer. People with more social support tend to live longer than those who are more isolated, and this is true even after accounting for your overall level of health.

  • You will enjoy better physical health. Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults. This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer.

  • You will enjoy better mental health. Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections.

  • You may even lower your risk of dementia. More recently, there has been accumulating evidence that socializing is good for your brain health. People who connect with others generally perform better on tests of memory and other cognitive skills. And, in the long run, people with active social lives are less likely to develop dementia than those who are more socially isolated.

Strategies for Building Community at USD

We recognize that no matter how much time you’ve spent at USD, it can feel incredibly difficult to feel a sense of connection to your peers, friends, and various USD communities during this time. Whether you are in San Diego and near campus or further away, we understand that the pandemic has created many challenges to connecting with others as we continue to practice safe social distancing. While you may be feeling a sense of isolation or disconnection from your regular communities, we want to remind you of a few ways that you can still connect and build a sense of community with others at USD right now. We have many resources and opportunities that continue to be available right now to specifically help USD students stay engaged and build new connections. We hope you will find some of these strategies helpful to you:


Virtual Engagement Strategies

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and practice safe social distancing, we want to remind you of some creative ways to foster and maintain a sense of genuine connection with communities you are a part of. We recognize that the current guidelines are changing quickly and vary based on your location. You can find your state’s most recent guidelines and rules outlined here.

The safest form of engaging with others still remains at a virtual level. Please consider these safe and virtual options below for group activities:

  • Virtual game nights: Plan a virtual game night with friends and family. You can rotate who plans and chooses the game each time for variety.

  • Virtual movie nights: Bring your popcorn and candy while watching the same movie virtually with friends/family

  • Virtual dinner parties: Everyone can order from the same restaurant or have a similar type of food to enjoy together while they share in conversation virtually. You can also hold a virtual cooking session together, compare the results, and enjoy!


We know that virtual activities can get tiring, especially after being on Zoom for class and/or work all day. If you choose to participate in in-person activities we urge you to follow your state and county guidelines on what is permitted right now. Some safe options that allow for distancing include socially distanced hikes while wearing masks, bike rides while wearing masks, outdoor visits while wearing masks, and maintaining a minimum of six feet, ideally more. If your local area allows, consider getting out of the house to enjoy a local park and change of scenery. If it does not seem safe or you are not comfortable with any of these activities, we encourage you to continue gathering with others in a virtual setting as there is no risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in this capacity. We appreciate all that you are doing to help keep one another safe and healthy while also prioritizing your human need for connection. We will get through this together and are here to support you as we all work to build community and authentic connection with others in new ways.

Invitation to Participate in our Community Art Project

As we discuss creative ways to be in the community right now, we want to invite you to participate in a collaborative art piece. Our hope is that this will be a fun opportunity for you to practice some creative self-care and connect with our USD community. Please complete the google form below if you would like to participate. We will be mailing the first 16 participants who signed up the necessary art supplies to paint and decorate their own 8×10 canvas that will be sent back and used as part of a larger visual art display with the message of “Toreros Together”. We will be providing you a pre-paid envelope to send us the canvas back in. Please email if you have any questions. Thank you for your interest!

Google Form – Community Art Project

As a reminder, there are many resources available to USD students (noted below). Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need additional support or are concerned about a friend or peer right now. We are always here to support you and our USD community.