Reflective Photography Project

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Reflective Photography: Finding Belonging during Covid-19

In Student Affairs, we embrace our role in the shared responsibility of creating a community where students’ can find a true sense of belonging. We know that students’ sense of belonging is integral to both students’ well-being and their success at Lehigh. We also recognize that the pandemic has challenged our community in many ways, including navigating new ways of finding and maintaining connections.

In this project, the research team sought to better understand how the pandemic affected the sense of belonging in our campus community. Students reflected on their experience and submitted photographs that represented the ways in which they found and maintained belonging during this challenging time. We thank the students for their insight, vulnerability, and willingness to share their experiences. 


  • “This photo is a sign of relief from studying and a gift from Lehigh. It relates to my sense of belonging since Lehigh shows that they care for their students and understand they need breaks sometimes from hours of studying.”
  • “It shows my involvement in the project and how what I do actually makes a difference in the club. Due to that, it makes me feel connected to something at Lehigh and like I'm really there even though I'm a remote student.”
  • “Because of my love for soccer, I find the blend of my University with my passion in this picture. It makes me feel I’m a proud Lehigh student whose passion isn’t far from him”
  • “As a posse scholar who is attending Lehigh, my posse(group) means so much to me. Our constant connection and bonding makes me believe I’m connected to Lehigh."
  • “I specifically did not show any particular building or area of campus in the photo because no matter where I walk on campus it always makes me feel more connected and less isolated during COVID times.”
  • "This photo represents the way in which I take advantage of campus resources such as the pretty views and use my time outside to help my mental health."
  • “Lehigh faculty and staff have embodied creative solutions this semester and for us ‘student to try to do the same thing means we belong here.”
  • “I loved the thought of this blurry picture… all doing something, some together, some alone, nothing distinguishable, but all unique and important. The important part of the photo is the undeniable togetherness that this photo represents.”
  • “To me, this photo shows what the Lehigh community strives to do; show up for others."
  • “I look forward to this group every week because we get to share what we've learned based from the insight-rich book Dare To Lead, connect it to our life experiences, and hear other's diverse perspectives about vulnerability, shame and daring leadership.”
  • “Although we are not able go to Hawk's Nest every week like we used to, continuing to have trivia night every week has helped me to maintain at least a portion of my old Lehigh routine. It's something that I can look forward to every week.”
  • “This photo means appreciating where I belong from and being proud of that… I know that the community at Lehigh and the surrounding are supportive and I can relate to it. My culture means a lot to me and is one of the most important parts of my identity.”
  • “This relates to my sense of belonging at Lehigh because whenever I am feeling down, getting a treat with friends always boosts my mood.”
  • “This is my primary social group on Lehigh and it keeps me grounded here. With the gryphon society and duties I feel more responsible for the community and more involved as I cultivate a productive environment in the dorms.”
  • “This photo means so much because it is the connections that I keep close that give me a sense of belonging at Lehigh.”

Research team: Dr. Lucy Napper, Meg Munley Stone, Princess Neely

This project was funded by a Lehigh University Faculty Research Grant