Identity & Friendships


The development and maintenance of healthy interpersonal relationships should be an integral part of every Gustavus student’s experience. Whether building relationships with professors, friends, co-workers, roommates, or nurturing existing relationships at home, Gusties 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. We play a key role in helping students hone interpersonal communication and interaction skills to set the standard for happy, healthy relationships in the future.

  1. Student Awareness. We increase the availability, accessibility, and diversity of information for healthy relationships and effective communication skills. Gustavus students include “relationship difficulties” as one of the leading factors impacting their mental health. We aim to help students recognize how healthy relationships contribute to their academic success and overall wellbeing. Because students may fear being judged for openly seeking help from other campus resources, we help ensure information is available in many different formats and through multiple venues to engage the entire student population.
  2. Student Assistance. We empower students to resolve conflicts or exit unhealthy relationships, and access resources on behalf of a peer in need of support. Students who are prepared to prevent, manage, or resolve interpersonal conflicts without harming themselves or others will be able to navigate the entire spectrum of interpersonal relationships. In addition, research indicates that a higher level of concern for a troubled friend or family member and greater perceived conflict with a college employee significantly increases students’ perceived frequency of stress. Our peer-led education efforts ensure students are equipped with knowledge and resources to help themselves, ease anxieties, and assist others in need of support. Although conflict is inevitable, providing students with comprehensive resources to address disputes and other relationship problems can positively influence their ability to communicate and overall wellbeing.
  3. Assessment and Evaluation. Assessment and evaluation help us determine how successful current peer-led approaches are at increasing students’ perceived ability to step in on behalf of a peer, and to strengthen students’ confidence and intention to intervene.
  4. Environmental Management. We help strengthen the campus culture to better foster positive interpersonal relationship development and interactions. We have the power to impact the values of our students, however subtly, through the nature and content of student and employee interactions. We support and encourage positive interpersonal interactions can inspire healthy relationships throughout the campus. Additionally, we are specifically dedicated to expanding opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue that encourages the development of positive relationships between and among multiple identity groups.



  • Healthy Relationships
  • Making Connections
  • New Kids on the Block
  • You’ve Got a Friend in Me


Domestic Violence


Rape/Date Rape/Sexual Assault

Self Injury