Toward a Closer Community: Freshmen and Upperclassmen Relationships

by Joie Liu

Opinion

February 27, 2020

BUA advertises its close community and how all students know each other. For the most part, it is true that BUA has a tight-knit community. In a survey recently conducted with 50 BUA students, it was found that all students know almost all the people in their grade by name. However, most people have serious gaps in their knowledge about the BUA community outside of their own grade. Most freshmen don’t know many of the upperclassmen, and most upperclassmen don’t know many of the freshman. The survey found that only 25% of freshmen know more than ten juniors by name, and only 12% of freshmen know more than ten seniors by name. On the other hand, only 33% of seniors know more than ten freshmen by name. BUA needs to do a better job with helping to establish connections between people in different grades, specifically between the freshmen and the upperclassmen. BUA does well in helping freshmen get to know sophomores, with numerous large-scale events and activities planned for just the two grades, such as Camp Burgess. In contrast, there are almost no events dedicated for freshmen and upperclassmen to get to know each other. It is very important for freshmen and upperclassmen to have connections, since that would result in a closer BUA community. According to Forbes, having friendships that are diverse can increase your exposure to different life experiences.¹ A benefit of having a tighter-knit community at BUA would be that students would associate with more people who do not share similar life experiences, and, in the process, be opened up to different perspectives. Friendships with upperclassmen can also be useful in that they would allow freshmen to obtain help in tackling difficult aspects of school that may not be easy to talk about with advisors. 

Currently, the best way for freshmen to get to know a range of upperclassmen is through extracurriculars, such as drama or sports. BUA does have in place a peer advising program in which some upperclassmen serve as mentors to freshmen, but this program only helps freshmen become acquainted with a few upperclassmen. More needs to be done to help bring the community closer together. BUA should host more events dedicated to helping freshmen and upperclassmen get to know each other, or at least each other’s names.


¹ Kourtney Whitehead, “Why Building Diverse Friendships Can Improve Your Career,” Forbes, June 27, 2019,
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kourtneywhitehead/2019 /06/27/why-building-diverse-friendships-improves-your-career/#43b13a5a6d21.

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