Happy TBT, everyone!
TBT, or Throwback Thursday, means we get to spend part of every Thursday reminiscing about the past by posting old photos. This week, TBT is dedicated to FYSOP. The Community Service Center’s lovely program assistants have taken a moment to remember their FYSOP experiences.
Alyssa Langer, College of Communication and Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Science, Class of 2014
I participated in FYSOP 21 in August of 2010. It feels like it was just yesterday, and yet so much has happened in the interim. I was placed in the hunger issue area (my group was called the Animal Crackers). This was my first choice issue area, as it seemed most relevant to my major (Nutrition) and interests at the time. I was so excited to come to BU and move into Shelton Hall a week early, and my parents were grateful to avoid the potential crowds that could occur on a major moving day. I met one of my best friends to this day that week; he was also a freshman who had moved into Shelton Hall early for FYSOP. We weren’t in the same issue area, but we became quick friends.
Throughout FYSOP week, I remember walking through the museum that was put together. It was a fantastic, visual, interactive way to learn about all the different issue areas. I also remember having speakers come talk to us on Education Day—specifically one of the nutrition professors who I ended up having as a professor this past year.
Regarding service days, I recall driving out to Hull to volunteer at a pantry. Although we got lost on the drive out there, it was a beautiful area and we got a lot of good service done. I also remember volunteering at an urban farm somewhere in the Roxbury area. This may have been my favorite site: we spent the day frolicking around picking fresh vegetables in the middle of a city—pretty cool.
I got a much better idea of how to navigate the campus and the city of Boston throughout FYSOP week and definitely felt that I had an advantage when the rest of the Class of 2014 arrived on campus a week later. Another major advantage of FYSOP was meeting and becoming friends with other first-year students before the rest of the class came to campus. We all instantly bonded, which was facilitated with tons of icebreakers, cheers, and games (ride that pony is always a classic).
Overall, the week was exhausting but was one of the best decisions I’ve made throughout my BU career thus far. I remember proudly wearing my bright green FYSOP shirt to our Class of 2014 Matriculation ceremony, as we were encouraged to do. I recall a great, rewarding feeling of camaraderie, and I remember Dean Elmore and President Brown specifically recognizing everyone who had participated in service throughout Boston that week.
Alex Nawar, College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2014
I can’t believe my fourth FYSOP is coming up. Three years ago, I was getting ready to volunteer as a first-year in the Urban Engagement issue area. Learning to navigate a larger city, joining more than 4,000 new students at a large university, and leaving my friends and family left me nervous and excited as I arrived in Boston. But once FYSOP started, those worries quickly dissipated.
My first FYSOP I’ll never forget. As an Urban volunteer, my group and I used only public transit, which meant I quickly became comfortable using the buses and T before most of my classmates had even arrived. I also learned about the different neighborhoods in Boston and how they got to be the way they are today.
My sophomore year I volunteered as Urban staff, which meant I led about 10 first-years to sites around Boston, focusing on community engagement. The awesome Urban coordinators made sure me and my co-staff understood how the differences among people in a city color that city’s personality and how socio-structural factors can impede community development. Painting a mural in a public school’s playground marked the highlight of the week for me. I loved watching the first-years work together to make our community a little more beautiful.
As a junior, I returned to Urban staff and had a completely new experience. Our Urban coordinators emphasized the little ways we can work to make communities more accessible and open. At one site in Jamaica Plain, Spontaneous Celebrations, my volunteers created colorful lanterns for a lantern festival later in the fall. During the festival, residents of Jamaica Plain and surrounding communities congregate at Jamaica Pond in a symbolic display of community and diversity.
As these TBTs illustrate, each FYSOP experience is unique. From learning Boston, to making friends quickly, to moving in early, to volunteering in the Boston community, each first-year gets something different out of FYSOP. It also is the perfect gateway for involvement the Community Service Center’s 13 academic year programs. Since all the issue areas overlap with the CSC’s other programs (e.g. Hunger corresponds with Student Food Rescue), FYSOP helps transition students to volunteering during the academic year.
Plenty of FYSOP applications have been coming in, so, if you haven’t yet, apply soon. The FYSOP coordinators are also hosting an open Google Hangout this Tuesday, July 2, at 7 pm. Post your email address on the Facebook event or send us an email if you’d like to be invited. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-353-4710 if you have any questions.
Have a great weekend!