Guest post by Philanthropy Fellow, Zahra Abdi, Sophomore at Boston University
Under the beaming Boston sun, my roommate and I slithered about the crowd of people gathered on the soccer field for the Boston University semester activities fair to find the Kendo Club, a club she’s been looking forward to joining. I, a staunch introvert, clung to her, afraid that if I lost her, I’d get swallowed up in the sea of students or worse—be sucked into a conversation with an eager club representative. Sadly, my fears came true, and I stood alone on the edge of the athletics section. I made my way through the rows of white folding tables, searching for my roommate and dodging the balls the athletes tossed around. Anxiety turned into curiosity once I found not my roommate, but the cultural clubs. My brisk walk turned into a leisurely stroll as I learned about the variety of cultures that call BU home through brightly colored cardboard and brighter students. Curiosity turned into excitement when I spotted the academic organizations. I was still too nervous to approach rather than be approached, so I continued learning from afar about the History club, Archaeology club, and Classics (my major) club. By the time my roommate and I reunited at the snack area, my initial grimace turned into a genuine smile.
Because of this event, I made new friends and discovered new interests. I was no longer nervous speaking up in my Latin class because I met most of the other students at the event and similar ones. Activities fairs are a common sight on many college campuses across the nation, but not everyone can attend. Some students cannot afford to take time out of their workday to attend because they rely on that job to pay tuition, rent, and/or childcare. “It would’ve been very easy for me to drop out of college. For the vast majority of students, those sinkholes are everywhere,” says Nicole Lynn Lewis, CEO and Founder of Generation Hope, who dealt with those same issues during her college years at William & Mary.
Colleges and universities must work hard to foster a healthy and friendly school environment to make sure all students feel like they belong on campus, and that begins before students step foot on campus by ensuring all students can succeed and find a welcoming community.
Building college campuses where belonging and connection are a priority transforms students’ experiences and lead to more degrees and meaningful careers. Learn more about this high-impact area and read Crimsonbridge’s list of recommendations for funders to support today’s college students at: https://www.crimsonbridge.org/college-success-guide.
The Crimsonbridge Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about challenges facing today’s college students, especially first-generation college students and students underrepresented at college graduation. To learn more about Crimsonbridge’s College Success program and partnerships with local and national nonprofit, college, and research organizations, visit https://www.crimsonbridge.org/collegesuccess. To learn more about Crimsonbridge’s Philanthropy Fellows program, visit https://www.crimsonbridge.org/philanthropy-fellows.