Connecting through color

Student coloring
Maya Shashoua, MPH '23, at the Colors & Connection workshop

April 19, 2022 – About a dozen students gathered on a recent Tuesday afternoon at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for an interactive workshop where they met new people, did a mindfulness exercise—and colored.

The workshop, held April 12, 2022, was called “Colors and Connection.” The goal was to help promote self-awareness among the participants, nurture peer-to-peer communication, and foster a sense of belonging and connection, according to Jeremy Nobel, who created the workshop. Nobel is founder and president of The Foundation for Art & Healing and Project UnLonely, as well as a lecturer on global health and social medicine in Harvard Chan School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. Two PhD 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,” said Nobel. He noted that addressing loneliness and social isolation on campuses is more critical than ever, given that both have risen markedly among young people during the pandemic.

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

Karen Feldscher

photos: Kent Dayton