A Terrier’s Guide to Entering New Communities

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“A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.” -Herb Caen

Hey new Terriers! It’s Toria and Allison, two of this year’s FYSOP 27 Coordinators.

If you’ve already been to Orientation, you may have heard the buzzword “community” being used to refer to a multitude of places–your future residence hall, the class of 2020, Boston University as a whole, and even the entire city of Boston. While there are countless ways to define community (and countless ways to find your communities), it can still be a little tricky to enter a new one.

Have no fear! We’re here to help you learn how to engage in a new community in the most respectful, enriching way possible!

One thing that FYSOP 27 really wants to focus on is the idea of Urban Engagement. In short, this term just means engaging with the city and developing meaningful relationships across communities. By engaging through education and service, we can try to understand the history and development of Boston’s many different neighborhoods, and see how they collide into one all encompassing city of Boston.

Boston waterfront

Another thing to consider when entering a community is how to be intentional. What does this entail? Living intentionally means being conscious about the things we say, the attitudes or perceptions we have, and the way we act.

SO! With all that said, here’s a helpful list of the Do’s and Don’ts of Entering a New Community.

DO: Get excited! Boston is an incredible city, and FYSOP is a really stellar way to learn more about all it has to offer. By visiting community partners all over Boston and in neighboring communities, you have the opportunity to expand your reach beyond Commonwealth Avenue.

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DON’T: Try your best to refrain from using language that implies superiority. For example, why do we consider certain communities to be in “nice” or “bad” parts of town? Try thinking about what you might actually mean. What makes them nicer or worse than other communities? Lastly, reflect upon times when people have put labels on the community you come from.

DO: Ask questions! If you’re curious about a community, feel free to engage with it! You might learn something new, and you may find a new community that you want to become a part of.

FYSOP

DON’T: By asking questions, you can try to avoid making assumptions about other communities. This goes beyond language. It is important, of course, to recognize the things we say and how we say them, but it is maybe even more essential that we understand where those ideas come from. Our attitudes and perceptions are hard to change, sure, but being aware of them, and making the decision to open our minds to new ones makes all the difference.

DO: HAVE FUN! 

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In the end, entering a new community is a great opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow. FYSOP and all of the things you will do at Boston University and beyond will provide you with these opportunities. Being intentional is a great way to facilitate the most meaningful experiences possible, so take advantage of that and open yourself to new communities and personal growth!

See y’all soon!

Toria Rainey, FYSOP 27 Gender & Sexuality Coordinator

Allison Russo, FYSOP 27 Children Coordinator

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