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FYSOP Crushed the Transition to Virtual Service This Year. Here’s What The Iconic Program Looked Like.

Participating in FYSOP—the First Year Student Outreach Program—was one of the biggest highlights of my freshman year, so I was ecstatic to become a staff leader for FYSOP 2020 this year. The week of community service for freshmen and transfer students held by the Community Service Center helped me orient myself both at BU and in the city of Boston, and I genuinely don’t think my first year of college would have been as amazing without participating. My excitement at getting the position for this year was damped, however, when I found out that the program would be conducted entirely online, with no face-to-face interaction with my first years, fellow staff leaders, or community partners.

Luckily, I can happily report that the program managers and coordinators for FYSOP nevertheless created an amazing program all through Zoom. Here’s how they were able to transfer some of the most iconic activities of FYSOP to the virtual space:

Small-Group Time

Getting to know others and form new friendships within smaller Focus Areas was one of the most impactful parts of my FYSOP experience. While we weren’t able to play card games or spoons, we were able to play Mafia, Werewolf, and Trivia thanks to Zoom’s screen share, and we were still able to meet new people through many many breakout rooms and ice breakers.

Am emphasis on service 

Obviously, service is a huge part of FYSOP (it’s literally in the name!), but it wasn’t initially clear to me how we could do anything online. As a part of the Education focus group, my group was tasked with recording fun skits, crafts, and songs for a local Boston preschool’s video database, which would be available to entertain kids with working parents at home. At the end of the week, we had a Viewing Party, and it was so amazing to see how different groups came up with video ideas for the kids.

Presentations and Entertainment 

Being virtual actually gave us more opportunities to talk to various people across Boston who might not have been as accessible or easily coordinated if we were in person. Through presentations by FYSOP leaders, city officials, and other professionals, this year’s First Years got ample opportunities to learn about everything from big topics like the history of the city and the current political climate of the state to simpler (but no less important) things like how to take the T and what Starbucks is the best on campus (Kenmore, obviously).

Although it was nothing like what I had expected a year ago, overall, I had the best week virtually getting to help the class of 2024 and new transfer students adjust to college during a global pandemic, and I cannot wait to see all of the new BU students grow and thrive over the course of the next year!

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Originally from Nashville, TN, Grace is a junior at Boston University double majoring in media science and economics with minors in international relations and French. She can be found quoting Disney movies, defending country music, and searching for the city's best iced vanilla lattes.
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