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There is a growing epidemic of student loneliness on our university campuses.

Could the missing piece of the puzzle be committing more resources to doing academic societies well?

Sense of belonging has been the phrase on everybody’s lips for the last year or so, and for good reason. There’s lots of research to suggest that when students feel they fit in at their university, they have a better time (and consequently, achieve better too).

There’s even more promising practice coming from different corners of the sector, showing the importance of building belonging early.

But still, the dots haven’t been joined up fully when we think about how universities can better facilitate belonging through the development of an academic society provision that engages more students.

The significant role academic societies can play can be made clearer if you consider belonging as needing students to feel a sense of both “academic fit’ and ‘social fit’.

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