cover of book

College Belonging: How First-year and First-Generation Students Navigate Campus Life
by Lisa M. Nunn
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Paper: 978-1-9788-0765-5 | Cloth: 978-1-9788-0766-2 | eISBN: 978-1-9788-0952-9
Library of Congress Classification LB2343.32.N863 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 378.198

College Belonging reveals how colleges’ and universities’ efforts to foster a sense of belonging in their students are misguided. Colleges bombard new students with the message to “get out there!” and “find your place” by joining student organizations, sports teams, clubs and the like. Nunn shows that this reflects a flawed understanding of what belonging is and how it works. Drawing on the sociological theories of Emile Durkheim, College Belonging shows that belonging is something that members of a community offer to each other. It is something that must be given, like a gift. Individuals cannot simply walk up to a group or community and demand belonging. That’s not how it works. The group must extend a sense of belonging to each and every member. It happens by making a person feel welcome, to feel that their presence matters to the group, that they would be missed if they were gone. This critical insight helps us understand why colleges' push for students simply to “get out there!” does not always work. 
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