Category: Community

Community and Research: Making the Case for a Nuanced Understanding

Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash

What is community? We hear the word thrown about in a multitude of contexts and meanings, but what is it really? The Oxford Dictionary defines community as a “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”  But how are we defining and identifying those commonalities? 

When quarantine lockdown began in Colorado in March 2020, I posed a question about community on social media. I asked how people were defining community during coronavirus. It is a rare phenomena for the global “community” to simultaneously share a common experience. I wondered if community was being thought of in a new way during these unprecedented times.  

Somewhat surprisingly, many of the responses provided by personal and professional acquaintances did not speak of a larger, global community. Rather than using expansive terms, many spoke of communities on a hyper-local scale. Their current community was being defined by their family, their coworkers, the local restaurant owners and hospitality workers.

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Ideas for How to Help Your Community

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

One of the things that really stuck with me from school is research on helping behavior. There’s a lot of cute research out there showing that humans, from a young age, have a strong inclination to help others. Even animals will help other animals. Rats will help other rats, even if they do not interact with them and even if they have to give up chocolate! Right now is a really strange time for many of us. If you’re like me, you are a nonessential employee who can work from home. I know the best thing I can do for others right now is to follow social distancing guidelines. But I just feel a strong desire to help, like we all do in an emergency, so I’ve been trying to find creative ways to help support my community and those who don’t have the luxury of staying at home. Here are some ideas we’ve run across.

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