The development and maintenance of healthy interpersonal relationships should be an integral part of every NYU student’s experience. Whether building relationships with professors, friends, co-workers, romantic partners, roommates, or nurturing existing relationships at home, NYU students find themselves involved with other people in every facet of their lives. Positive, functional interpersonal relationships have been shown to enhance students’ academic motivation, engagement, and achievement.1 NYU plays a fundamental role in helping students hone their interpersonal communication and interaction skills in order to set the standard for happy, healthy relationships in their future.
This page is intended to be a resource containing suggestions for what you can do to help build and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships among the NYU student community.
• Increase opportunities for positive social engagement by planning events with other student organizations that you have never worked with. For instance, if you are a sorority that always works with a fraternity, plan an event with the Nutrition Club or the swim team to benefit a cause you both can relate to.
Example: Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority & The Civic Engagement Team held an informational event at Lafayette Hall to inform residents about the ways to participate in community service on NYU’s campus. This event engaged a number of different student groups, and provided club members and opportunity to explore new interpersonal relationships and forge new connections.
• Encourage interactions from students who are quiet or shy. For a variety of reasons, some students are too shy or embarrassed to speak up during class or club meetings. As a student leader, consider reaching out to quiet or shy students in smaller group settings, or in 1:1 conversations. In the context of student organizations or clubs, consider offering these members distinct responsibility within the organization; meaningful student participation in extracurricular activities promotes a “sense of belonging” and feelings of community.
• Organize a group of students to volunteer. You can volunteer through NYU Service or visit the NYU Center for Student Activities, Leadership and Service on the 7th floor of the Kimmel Center for University Life to find out more information on getting involved in long-term service projects as well as one-day projects.
• Host events that empower your peers to resolve conflicts or exit unhealthy relationships. Although conflict is inevitable, providing students with comprehensive resources to address disputes and other relationship problems can positively influence their ability to communicate and to deal with conflict effectively.21 The Health Promotion Office sponsors educational opportunities, through workshops and tablings, for students facilitated by student leaders on the full range of topics addressed by the Health Promotion Office, including interpersonal relationship issues.
• Encourage friends, peers, and club members to announce alcohol-free events through the club’s listserv, Facebook group, Twitter, or at the weekly meeting. For instance, if a club member is also involved with an on-campus singing group, encourage that particular member to announce his/her upcoming performances. If a club member is on a sports team, ask him/her to announce upcoming games and fundraisers.
• Enroll in Safe Zone Training. Creating a university environment that is sensitive, safe, respectful and inclusive supports and encourages positive interpersonal interactions. Sign up for Action Zone training.
• Help a student in need of support. Approximately a third of NYU students experience significant relationship difficulties. Over 75% of students, nationally, said they would turn to friends if they were struggling,23 and over half of NYU students expressed interest in receiving information about how to help others in distress.22 Consider establishing a “buddy system” within your organization to provide ongoing support. For guidance about how to have a “courageous conversation” with someone who needs support, visit the NYU Student Health Center Counseling Services page or call the Wellness Exchange Hotline 212-443-9999 to seek advice. Assisting a friend or loved one in distress can be emotionally taxing on the person trying to help; make sure to model positive mental health actions and contact the Wellness Exchange at 212-443-9999 if you want to talk.
Be alert to signs of personal or psychological difficulties. If you notice any of the following signs, you can ask to meet privately with the student:
o Mood: extreme sadness, anger or anxiety, or mood swings
o Performance: concentration difficulties, deteriorating performance, unexplained absences or lateness
o Social behavior: extreme withdrawal, dependency, irritability, hostility
o Speech or writings: student alludes to problems, feeling worthless, excessive guilt, thoughts of death or suicide, or thoughts of hurting others or threats to others
For suggestions about how to effectively approach a student, visit the Wellness Exchange website or call 212-443-9999 to seek advice on how to address the situation.