Maya Shashoua, MPH ’23, at the Colors & Connection workshop

April 19, 2022 — A dozen students gathered on a Tuesday afternoon at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health for an interactive workshop where they met new people, did a mindfulness exercise, and were colorful.

The workshop, held on April 12, 2022, was titled “Colors and Connection”. The goal was to help promote self-awareness among participants, foster peer-to-peer communication and foster a sense of belonging and connection, according to Jeremy Nobel, who created the workshop. Nobel is founder and chairman of The Foundation for Art & Healing and Project UnLonely, as well as a lecturer on global health and social medicine in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard Chan School. Two doctoral students, Jessica Liu and Jordana Leader, facilitated the workshop.

“This workshop is an example of a simple activity that can easily be delivered to increase a sense of connection and belonging,” Nobel said. He noted that tackling loneliness and social isolation on campuses is more critical than ever, given that both have increased dramatically among young people during the pandemic.

Students said they appreciated having the opportunity to be creative in a low-key environment. “I don’t really know much about art, so I was a little nervous at first,” said one of the participants, Victor Yu, MPH ’22. “However, I loved the atmosphere and the people communicating without too much stress.”

– Karen Feldscher

photos: Kent Dayton