The Honors First Year LLCs Thrived During Fall Launch

by efuthey

In the spirit of innovation and community, the Honors First Year Living Learning Communities leapt into the fall 2020 semester through their Welcome Week Launch activities. Every activity was virtual, in compliance with university COVID-19 protocols, but online platforms did not limit our Honors Living Learning Coordinators and Living Learning Assistants in their efforts to immediately engage and connect with our Honors first year students on the Boston campus.


Virtual games such as trivia were very popular, and often connected to larger themes and bigger-picture actions for the LLCs. The Explore Boston: Community Service LLC partnered with Generus Volunteering for literature-themed trivia, which then dovetailed into learning about the Prison Book Program, a local nonprofit which sends books to incarcerated individuals. The students then selected books from the program’s wish list after reading letters from incarcerated individuals concerning the kinds of books they enjoy. The LLC members will build on this initial activity throughout the semester, notably in participating in a letter-writing program to incarcerated survivors of domestic violence through Survived and Punished.


The Travel and Adventure (EV-10) LLC also participated in trivia! Focused on global knowledge, the trivia wasn’t just about country names and world capitols – the five categories asked our Honors Huskies to dig deep for answers to creative questions about food, adventurers, traveling, surviving in the wild, and flags! Other LLCs which used virtual trivia to bond and connect to their themes included: Travel and Adventure (EV-6); Foodies (EV-4); Athletics and Analytics; and Foodies (EV-9).


While the COVID-19 pandemic made in-person tours impossible, the incredible web presences of museums and sites provided ample opportunities for some of our coordinators and HLLAs to plan interactive events rooted in their LLC themes. During their launch, Explore Boston: Arts and Theatre (EV-6) broke into small groups and virtually explored galleries from the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Musée d’Orsay in Paris; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam; the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.


The internet – and Google specifically – was a great resource for our LLCs and their virtual plans! The Outdoor Adventure (EV-8) LLC used Google Maps and Google Arts & Culture for a virtual scavenger hunt and exploring places they would like to visit when it is safe to do so. The Technology, Innovation and Creativity (EV-4) LLC used Jamboard to find common interests and bond with each other. The Gaming LLC balanced virtual gaming with socially-distanced board games. The Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality LLC worked together to understand the current state of both AI and VR. The Technology, Innovation, and Creativity (EV-7) LLC discussed technology in a nutshell and developed communication skills through visual and aural modalities. And, the Foodies (EV-9) LLC participated in a food-themed Jeopardy game!


The Cutting Edge Activism in Boston LLC explored Black Boston’s significant and complex history through the Boston African American National History website. Broken into small groups, students worked together on a scavenger hunt-style activity, learning about historical events and places such as the Abiel Smith School, the first Black public school in Boston (in 1835!); the Sarah Roberts case from 1848 (which laid the foundation for Brown v. Board of Education); and Boston’s place within the Underground Railroad network. During the semester, LLC community members will build on this knowledge as they learn about and engage with local Black Lives Matter movements.


And, focus on Boston’s local history and culture formed the basis for Explore Boston: Cultural Immersion LLC’s launch activity. In small groups, students shared what they knew, what they were curious about, and how they saw themselves within Boston’s cultural fabric. Throughout the semester, this LLC will gain a deeper understanding of the diverse and vibrant neighborhoods in and around the Northeastern campus.


Other LLCs focused on the inter- and intrapersonal in their launch activities. The Wellness and Nutrition LLC did a guided meditation as a community, and began the process of aligning their behaviors with their personal values and beliefs with meaning and purpose through journaling. The Music Lovers LLC spent their time debating what is good music and what is bad music! These students learned about each other and shared music recs with the group, but also delved into conversations about the universality of aesthetics.


The Healthcare and Innovation LLC spent time connecting with each other and sharing out their experiences during COVID-19. The Future of Cities LLC spent time connecting over fictional characters and worlds before digging into the imagined possibilities of urban spaces as a group in small breakout sessions. The Explore Boston: Arts and Theatre (EV-5) LLC got to know each other through the writing of short scenes and drawing portraits of themselves as they connected over themes of identity and creativity.


All of these launch activities have formed the foundation of our Honors First Year community. We are excited to see what other adventures and endeavors our students participate in during the rest of the academic year!