As freshmen on floor 7 of Marshall Tower in Warren Towers settled into their dorm rooms at the beginning of the fall semester, they stumbled on a pleasant surprise – seven Boston University upperclassmen who decided to live on the floor to offer guidance and friendship to the incoming students.
The upperclassmen, who range from sophomores to seniors, are members of Cru at BU, a Christian organization on campus. They opted to live on 7B to continue an informal tradition Cru members started two years ago, said Grace Pearson, a sophomore in the College of Communication.
“We really want to see some change happen in the school so that we can learn to love each other better,” Pearson said. “We wanted to do that by reaching out to freshmen especially, who are new to the school and don’t know much about anything at BU yet because they haven’t experienced it.”
Pearson said while the upperclassmen on 7B may act as mentors to other residents, they strive to maintain legitimate friendships with everyone on the floor.
“I know them more deeply than just where they’re from or what their major is,” she said. “The friendships I’ve made have been great. We’ve only been in school for a week, but I know some of the people really well on the floor so far.”
Pearson said she wanted to try to foster a sense of community on a typical freshman floor because it was something her floor lacked in her first year at BU. Still, she said she had some reservations about moving back into Warren for another year.
“I was really scared to live on the floor,” Pearson said. “I thought, ‘These freshmen are going to think I’m so weird being on this floor and being an upperclassman.’ But we’ve gotten so much good feedback.”
Ja-Hon Wang, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he was inspired to live on Floor 7B because of how much the upperclassmen on the floor last year helped him.
“I spent a lot of time on this floor and got to know all of the guys and girls that lived here last year, and I just love the community,” Wang said. “It was those upperclassmen who reached out to me that made a difference, so I wanted to do the same.”
Wang said the variety of students on 7B often mesh in the floor’s common room, which has a wall plastered with artwork upper and lowerclassmen make together.
“Even just being there for them and asking them how they are, because I feel like not enough people in this world ask each other how they’re doing,” Wang said. “That’s really our main way of doing outreach.”
The seven Cru members have weekly meetings to talk about the interactions they have had as well as to offer support to each other, Wang said.
“I wouldn’t have done this alone. That’s hard,” he said. “But being here with six of my closest friends — that’s just incredible. I can go to them with any problem that I have if I’m feeling overwhelmed.”
Wang said because the seven upperclassmen come from different backgrounds and fields of study as well as have different personalities and interests, together they effectively reach out to the diverse cast of students on the floor.
“We all have different strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “As a team, we can’t be complete without everybody.”
Madi Mae West, a freshman in the School of Management living on 7B, said she and her floor mates have bonded through activities such as walking through the rain to Cold Stone Creamery the Sunday before classes began.
“It’s helped make relationships much easier being in college my first year,” West said. “I find it comforting. They’ve been here before, so if I have any questions, I know they can help me.”
CAS freshman Andrew Barrasso said he was not expecting to have upperclassmen on his floor, but it came as a pleasant surprise.
“It’s great that I have a support team. The upperclassmen are very helpful with giving advice,” he said. “You can feel out of touch or you may not know what to do in certain situations. Having the upperclassmen really helps with some parts of everyday life.”
Vince Sangrigoli, a freshman in SMG, also said the upperclassmen create a sense of community by being inviting, having meaningful conversations with people in the common room and in their dorms.
“It’s a big help,” he said. “It’s great to just hear the experiences of other people who went through the same things we did and are trying to make it better and easier for freshmen.”