Why is belonging so important?
Belonging matters to everyone. In Maslow’s (1943) pyramid of needs, after food and safety comes the need to belong. From a collectivist society perspective belonging is even more foundational, being placed before physiological and safety needs (e.g. Nevis, 1983).
We need to support students by getting to know them and creating opportunities for them to make meaningful social connections. We also need to ensure students have meaningful contact with staff.
For our students to achieve their full potential it is crucial that their basic needs are met. To feel a sense of belonging it means to feel accepted, appreciated and understood by others. It is important to note that doesn’t mean everyone must agree or that individual views cannot be challenged.
Belonging takes different forms for different people and we need to consider all contexts, including cultural, social, sensory and temporal ones. Financial, physical and power-related barriers must be recognised and dismantled in order to create the most positive environment for our community.