Building Social Connections on Your College Campus


SociaL Connections on Campus

A new environment can feel overwhelming and intimidating, especially after years of uncertainty and change. Most incoming college students want to make friends, find their place in the college community, and feel less isolated. These speakers are perfect for bringing to your campus to prompt students to develop meaningful relationships, create and maintain a support network, and take charge of their mental well-being.

Dr. Marisa Franco

Marisa Franco Banner
A professor at the University of Maryland, Dr. Marisa Franco teaches courses on loneliness and friendship. She dives into the importance of networking authentically, using technology to foster connections, and how minoritized students can find belonging. She covers in detail why students may feel lonely and offers takeaways that help them learn how to make robust and meaningful friendships that will support their mental health.

Hahrie Han

Hahrie Han

Hahrie Han is a political scientist at Johns Hopkins University, where she is Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute. Using observational and experimental methods, Hahrie Han and her team study civic and political engagement, collective action, organizing, and democratic revitalization. Through her research, she has partnered with a wide range of civic and political organizations and movements around the world, seeking to develop the leadership of younger scholars and practitioners, especially women and people of color.

Will Schwalbe and Chris Maxey

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Will Schwalbe and Chris Maxey share the story of their improbable college friendship. Two opposite people with contrasting backgrounds and circles of friends, classics major Schwalbe and wrestling champion Maxey formed an unlikely friendship through mandatory dinners and confessional autobiographical presentations, connecting across divides and differences. In their relatable talk, they offer a rare view of male friendship.

Bo Seo

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Bo Seo demonstrates how good arguments can help students bridge differences on our campuses and build long-lasting friendships. In a time of polarization, he shares vital lessons from the world of competitive debate on how to view disagreements from the opposing perspective, to listen actively, and to disagree with respect, and provides his audience with a range of tools they can use to better communicate with their fellow classmates.

John Hendrickson

John Hendrickson Banner
As a person who has stuttered his entire life, John Hendrickson shares his story of isolation, bullying, depression, and acceptance. He teaches students how to be better listeners in a society largely unprepared to accommodate people who behave outside of certain norms (in this case, those who stutter) and urges them to be patient listeners and just hear what someone has to say.

Emi Nietfeld

Emi Nietfeld
Struggling with depression, anxiety, and growing up in poverty, Emi Nietfeld often found herself struggling to hide taboo subjects from admissions committees. In reality, no one is entering college and leaving their identity behind. She shares her mental health journey with practical lessons on how students can address their emotional well-being as they navigate higher education.

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh

Dr. Simran Jeet Singh
Growing up in South Texas, Dr. Simran Jeet Singh has been subjected to racism his whole life. He shares how he is able to reach beyond his own comfort zones and provides insights and tips that have led him to find a crucial balance and avoid falling into the toxic trap of hate and anger. Drawing from his personal experiences and hate incidents, he reveals his wisdom on what it really takes to choose love over hate.