Social Health and Wellness

Make friends and build a community by taking a chance and saying “Hi” to a fellow UC Berkeley student!

Social support is essential to our overall health and well-being. Studies confirm what many of us know about the benefits of having friends:

  • lowered stress levels,
  • a heartier immune system,
  • and an increased ability to concentrate and learn.

It's not always easy, but making and maintaining friendships help us be healthier and happier and are worth the time investment. And each day offers opportunities to connect with potential and established friends. Plus, being the giver or recipient of a friendly greeting can be an instant day brightener and add to the sense of belonging and community we want every UC Berkeley student to feel.

Conversation + Connection Tips

  • Start with a simple greeting:  “Hi, I’m ____.” Learn names! That becomes an immediate connection and makes for smoother conversations in the future.
  • Consider taking the lead in conversations Ask questions that lead to answers other than "yes" or "no." Use the hints they give you to find a topic they might enjoy. Find interesting "get to know you" questions online that you'd like to ask others. 
  • Find common interests. Have some basic, everyday knowledge about movies, popular music, and current events. Start with something that people can relate to and is non-controversial.
  • Practice Conversational Give-and-Take. In your eagerness to make friends, don't become an "interrogator" by firing out questions. Remember to do your share of sharing too.
  • Practice kindness toward yourself and others. Don’t be quick to label someone as unlikeable. And don’t assign negative labels to yourself. Our own actions and thoughts influence our happiness, so try to catch negative thoughts and reframe them into more positive ones. Instead of “I’m never going to make new friends,” you can say to yourself, “I’m a nice person and a good friend. Once people get to know me, they’ll like me.”
  • Practice, practice, practice. Practice your social skills with people you interact with daily, such as cashiers at the dining commons. Say “Hi” and make some small talk (talking about the weather is fine). Try to listen with good eye contact and sincere interest.
  • Be open to all types of people. Being able to get along with people is a highly valued skill in the work environment. Go ahead and strengthen these skills before you hit the job market!
  • Appreciate all kinds of friendships. Some last only a little while, perhaps just the duration of a project or a semester. Other friendships you make at UC Berkeley will last a lifetime. They all start with a “Hi.” At the end of the day, think about how you contributed to a friendlier campus. Also, consider what you will do tomorrow to build community at Berkeley.
  • Make it easy for someone new to join your conversation. If you see someone standing alone, invite them over and make space for that person to join the conversation.
  • Be Patient. Even socially gifted people have off days. A few minutes of patient listening and talking can help make the other person feel more comfortable.
  • Don’t Give Up. Even if you don’t have a strong friend group yet, don’t worry—there are a lot of people on campus. Whether you are quiet, outgoing or somewhere in between, keep putting yourself out there. All of us can benefit from having one more friend in our lives.

Get Involved on Campus

Finding your community at UC Berkeley can help you develop a sense of belonging and can lead to long-lasting friendships. There are numerous ways to make connections while doing things you like on campus including:

  • LEAD Center - The LEAD Center is UC Berkeley’s hub for student involvement, leadership development, and co-curricular advising.
  • ASUC Student Government - The ASUC is the officially recognized student association at UC Berkeley.
  • Berkeley Art Studio - Berkeley Art Studio offers a variety of art classes.
  • Berkeley Connect Program - Berkeley Connect is a mentoring program open to all undergraduate students at UC Berkeley.
  • Blue & Gold Yearbook - The Blue & Gold Yearbook staff produce, market, and distribute the yearbook.
  • Centers for Educational Justice & Community Engagement - Centers that support the academic success of diverse communities through community engagement (student events. etc).
  • Graduate Assembly (Graduate Student Government) - The GA is the official representative body of the graduate and professional students at UC Berkeley.
  • GWE Buddies Program - The Graduate Women of Engineering (GWE) Buddies Program helps first-year graduate students feel more included in the community at UC Berkeley.
  • LAGSES Buddies - Latino Association of Graduate Students in Engineering and Science (LAGSES) Buddies program aims to provide support for incoming as well as current graduate students, and foster community among all students.
  • NAVCAL - The NAVCAL fellowship assists incoming nontraditional students in navigating the University of California, Berkeley campus through a near-peer/student-to-student approach—where current students coach and mentor incoming students and pass down their own knowledge and experiences to help incoming students adjust themselves into higher education.
  • Office of Undergrad Research & Scholarship - OURS integrates undergraduates into the research life of UC Berkeley.
  • Public Service Center - Are you interested in service, mentoring, grassroots organizing, political advocacy, or activism? There are many ways to get involved.
  • Queer Cal Pals - Queer Cal Pals is a program offered by the Gender Equity Resource Center to connect incoming queer students to their communities on campus.
  • Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) - Are you interested in getting involved with the environmental community at UC Berkeley? Join SERC.
  • SUPERB: Student Union Performance, Event, and Recreation Board - SUPERB is dedicated to providing entertainment for the campus and community.
  • Transfer Mentorship Program is a mentoring program that connects first-semester transfer students with continuing transfer students, where the mentor offers insight into the transfer student experience.
  • Underground Scholars - Berkeley Underground Scholars (BUS) creates a pathway for incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and system-impacted individuals into higher education.
  • University Health Services - UHS provides a variety of ways to get involved: 1) Peer Education Programs, 2) Volunteer Programs, and Student Advisory Boards.
  • Work-Study Jobs - Part-time jobs at UC Berkeley for students who qualify for work-study.

Celebrate Friendship

  • February 7 - National Send a Card to a Friend Day
  • February 11 - National Make a Friend Day
  • February 13 - Galentine’s Day
  • June 1Pen Pal Day
  • June 8 - National Best Friend Day
  • July 30 - International Day of Friendship
  • August 6 - National Friendship Day
  • December 28 - National Call a Friend Day