Need an excuse to eat more chocolate? A study by The University of Sydney suggests it may help you to diversify your social circle.
Dr Petr Matous and Dr Faezeh Karimi were interested in how university students from different backgrounds socialise on campus.
To find out, they analysed tens of thousands of anonymised records from the University of Sydney’s student clubs and societies.
They discovered that members of the Chocolate Society – or ChocSoc – were most likely to be joint members of other student clubs, such as the Hong Kong Student Association, the Bushwalkers, or the Science Society.
This suggests that a shared passion – like universal chocolate appreciation – helps to connect people from different ethnic backgrounds, areas of study, and political and hobby groups, they say.
ChocSoc events could thus kickstart cross-cultural friendships, they speculate. “It is potentially a first step towards meeting people from different backgrounds.”
Other clubs that had lots of inter-group mixing included the Fashion and Beauty Society, the Arts Students Society, and the Australian Chinese Cultural Appreciation Society.
The findings could be used by universities seeking to break down cultural divides between students and ready them for post-uni life, the researchers say.
“Students from diverse backgrounds can ideally contribute to the educational experience of anyone preparing for a global career or to live in a multicultural society.”