A greater irony is hard to imagine, as they swirl around each other on skateboards, mix among each other in classes, and gather together on game days and other campus events.
Yet there’s no deeper loneliness than feeling isolated in a crowd of people, especially in a crowd of one’s peers. This isolation is strongly correlated with the epidemic of mental and physical health problems afflicting USC and all other universities.
Students meet each other in the dorms, in classes, in clubs – but do they really get to know each other in these contexts? They make contacts. They grow their "networks". They make social media "friends". But are these encounters likely to result in close, mutually-supportive personal relationships that sustain their souls? Friends = network contacts. But network contacts =/= friends. Very often, they amount to little more than fleeting, situation-specific acquaintances.
How much of the loneliness that afflicts our students could be abated if our campus institutions and organizations were intentional about facilitating the formation of real friendships and of communities of friends?