The Next Epidemic

| Student Life

COVID is certainly still lingering, but the next epidemic is already on the scene. It has been confirmed by the U.S. surgeon general. Dr. Vivek Murthy says this epidemic is an underappreciated public health crisis, has an impact as serious as smoking and can lead to heart disease, stroke and dementia. And sadly, there is no vaccine in production to deal with this epidemic.

The new epidemic is loneliness. Our need for friendship, companionship, congregation, assembly, joint projects, neighbors and belonging is essential to human health and happiness.

Resolving our isolation requires friends. Trevecca is guiding a generation marked by profound loneliness in their quest to belong to others. Our name itself means “a binding together in love.” This has been our chapel theme for the year. When technology makes us digitally present rather than physically present with each other, the creation of friendships plummets. We need eyes to see us, ears to listen to us, a face that beholds us. We need people who care about us. We need community and congregation.

Trevecca stands at the center of relational creation for generations of students, faculty and friends. Some of my best friends today are the people I shared life with on the Trevecca campus 50 years ago. When I am with them, I find a surge of happiness as we share present life along with distant memories. One of our goals for the generation attending Trevecca today is the same campus gift – friends who help cure loneliness and bring a lifetime of happiness.