by Ashley Griffin
Photo courtesy of FYSOP
At the beginning of each academic year, approximately 750 freshmen move into their dorms a week early to participate in BU’s FYSOP Program.
FYSOP, the First-Year Student Outreach Project, allows freshman and transfer students to give back to their new home of Boston through service projects, according to the program’s website.
FYSOP’s mission statement emphasizes the importance of connecting students to their new community while giving them the tools to engage.
“Participants will explore the triumphs and challenges of our neighboring communities and have the opportunity to connect with peers, local organizations, and the city of Boston,” said the website. “FYSOP encourages students to discover and celebrate our unique roles as active citizens.”
Sasha Parodi, a FYSOP Program Manager, participated in the program for her fifth time this summer, and she said there are many benefits that students can experience, including friendships, newfound interests and leadership skills.
“I think that FYSOP is an experience that is unique to each person that participates in it,” said Parodi. “For some people, FYSOP serves as the opportunity to meet some of their best friends or a mentor. Some people find educational opportunities through it. Some people find their passion through it. For some people, it’s an opportunity to grow as a leader.”
Parodi hopes that every student volunteer got something out of FYSOP.
“I hope that it was successful and I hope that people walk away from it with something, whether it’s a new friend or a fond memory or a new favorite pizza shop somewhere off campus that they wouldn’t have visited otherwise,” said Parodi.
Julia Martorell (CAS ’19) was a FYSOP coordinator this summer after participating as a volunteer freshman year and a Staff Leader sophomore year.
“This year I think FYSOP’s meaning has completely changed for me just as the program has completely changed too,” said Martorell. “For me, it’s family and friendship and passion and it has been absolutely life changing.”
Martorell urged future incoming freshmen to participate in the program because of the lessons students learn and the friendships they walk away with.
“College is about throwing yourself into experiences that you are unsure about,” said Martorell. “Don’t think about it. Just do it.”