Excluding exclusion

Alone in the commons
Exclusion can make people feel unwanted and isolated. When coming across someone who’s being excluded one of the best things you can do is to try and talk to the student. You might even make a new friend. Photo courtesy of Lauren Shassere.

Imagine walking into the commons on any normal day and seeing a student sitting by him or herself. Like any other day, you go straight to the table you always sit at and start talking to your friends. But the sight of the student sitting alone bugs you for the rest of the day.

What could you have done? Should you be feeling guilty? You are the one who needs to make decisions concerning the moral values of the situation, but matter the choice you make, it is very likely that the student sitting alone would have appreciated your concern.

If you are ever faced with a similar situation, here are a few simple things  you can do to help:

1.  Sit next to them- It will take some courage, and you will probably be out of your comfort zone, but sitting next to the student would make them feel much more comfortable. You both might even make a new friend.

2.  Ask them to join your table- The group of students you sit with will make you both more comfortable with the situation. This option also gives the student the choice to decline  if they feel uncomfortable with the situation.

3.  Talk to them- Just asking them what their name is and talking to them for a minute or two could really brighten that student’s day.