| FIRST- YEAR
The First-Year Urban Program is a student-run preorientation program that introduces incoming first-years to the Boston-Cambridge area and the service community in and around Harvard. Students who participate in FUP spend the week preceding Freshman Week working on construction and renovation projects for non-profit community organizations in the area. FUPpies work in teams of 10 with three upper-class leaders at their group’s project site in Greater Boston. At night, the groups come together for dinner, speakers, discussions, and evening events (including on- and off- campus food outings, music jam sessions, spoken word readings, movie nights, and more).
FUP aims to create a week of activity that will orient you to Harvard and Cambridge, allow you to meet other first-year students in a low-pressure setting, enable you to work and hang out with some upper-class students, ask questions about Harvard, and introduce you to some of the public service issues in the area. The program will help you learn about your new urban environment while providing you with the space to share your ideas about social responsibility and the potential for change through action. FUP also provides a wonderful and informative way to get to know Boston, including some of its more off-beat spots. Plus, you’ll become a part of one of the most interesting and interested student groups on campus (if we do say so ourselves).
Previous FUP projects have included: painting a mural in a cooperative housing unit for formerly homeless individuals, reconstructing furniture for low-income families, weeding and planting in a community garden, constructing a deck for an AIDS hospice, and clearing an overgrown lot and constructing a playground for an alternative school/family center.
Not only will you become an expert ceiling painter and learn the joys of spackle, but during FUP week you will get to address the politics of race, class, gender, and sexuality and the impact these issues have on communities and our work in them. Your group will talk with the organizers and neighbors of your project to deepen your understanding of what is going on in that specific community. In the evening, FUPpies (your affectionate nickname) will hear from speakers to gain further insight into social justice issues and the Boston and Cambridge communities. Past speakers have included former Cambridge Mayor Ken Reeves, Massachusetts state legislator Jarret Barrios, and members of organizations such as the Centro Presente Women’s Refugee Project, Queer Nation, Homeless Empowerment Project, and the Boston Tenants’ Rights Association.
FUP 2015 will be made up of approximately 100 first-years and 40 leaders. And best of all, FUP HAS NO PROGRAM FEE!!!! Housing and main meals are provided. You will need ~$25-40 for the week to pay for T fares (1-week pass = $18) and the dinner your discussion group will have in Harvard Square. If this presents a financial difficulty, please let us know since we can provide financial assistance. Due to limited space and resources, we cannot accept everyone who applies, but we always maintain an active waiting list.
The First-Year Urban Program is a week-long orientation to communities and community service in Cambridge and Boston for incoming first-year undergraduates (FUPpies). FUP supports and challenges FUPpies to look beyond the walls of Harvard and to see the issues that affect the urban community in which they will be spending their next four years. FUPpies, accompanied by experienced upper-classman leaders and mentors, work with Cambridge and Boston area community members, the leaders of neighborhood service and activist organizations, and the leaders of the College’s public service communities. FUP’s mission is threefold: to aid grass-roots organizations in struggling communities; to catalyze the FUPpies’ involvement in service and activism while at the College; and to orient the new students to Harvard, Cambridge, and Boston, while providing them with the opportunity to meet peers who share with them an interest in public service and activism.
The FUP experience is unique: FUP is one of the only pre-orientation programs that does not charge any fee for participation, and every entering first-year is invited to participate, regardless of economic situation. In addition to FUP’s long-held ideology of financial accessibility, the program leaders consciously create a welcoming, yet challenging, environment to all students. Through formal and informal discussions, leaders foster respect and appreciation for the growing ethnic, economic, religious, sexual, and political diversity at Harvard. Each year, the Steering Committee carefully compiles a reading packet for the first-years and the leaders. Using the readings as a common foundation, participants discuss issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality and the role of advocacy, service, and social activism. FUPpies have appreciated our community as a safe space for self-exploration and self-expression.