How a Community is Built in a University
Community is something you will find in any formal or informal setting where people are in the same area for long periods of time, especially on many college campuses. Community is thought of as, although different to specific individuals or subcultures, basically a group of informally bound people sharing similar passions (Wenger, 2000). Majority of universities will push the idea of “community” and “togetherness” on its students. They will do this a number of ways including, Freshman Convocation, Freshman Colloquium, and Welcome Week Activities (Nathan, 2005), just to name a few. By using different methods of bringing students closer to one another, universities intend to make a happier environment to excite freshman students and to lay the foundation for a learning community (Nathan, 2005).
This “community” that 97 percent of university presidents believe is necessary in acquiring positive results (Nathan, 2005), is not a shared feeling of most students. As most students have repeatedly stated, mandatory and habitual experiences is unpopular (Nathan, 2005). Although these pleas for change are heard, they are not always acted upon. For instance, many universities act upon a non-obligatory participation method, which means that a student cannot be forced to attend or partake of any activity and has the choice to create their own clubs/groups. The activities that many students do not attend or very few students show up for is seen as a feeble attempt at college community and student involvement. In reality, it is not that students do not wish for a close knit community, most wish not to admit the strain that community activities put on their resources, schedule, individuality, choice, and freedom. Sororities and fraternities may seem to be regularly spoken of when on the topic of college campuses, but fewer than 15 percent of university occupants are members of either group (Nathan, 2005).
What is the purpose of groups, clubs, organizations, and community at universities? To collect and pass on information (Denner, 1999), to enhance resumes (Nathan, 2005), increase both affective and cognitive forms of development (Astin, 1993), to build a cultural bridge that reveals opportunities for youth to “move up” as pacesetters and for adults to “give back” to children, youth, and communities (Cooper, 1997), for individuals to re-evaluate the faith of their youth with new discoveries, negotiate their dependence on significant others and relationship to authority, and to associate with communities that help in their quest for meaning (Bryant, 2007).
Who can belong to these communities? Anyone with shared interests, common goals, or mutual beliefs can be a part of a community or group. Communities may sometimes be close knit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are “closed to the public”. To want to join a certain group or community means that this person wants to be a part of something bigger than...