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FYSOP 16: Service is Super, Man!

A film crew from BU Productions shot footage of FYSOP volunteers performing community service in Boston and in Quincy, Mass., on August 30 and September 1. Click here to watch the six-minute video.

More than 400 freshmen, along with 128 staff members and 16 undergraduate group coordinators, gathered in Metcalf Hall on August 30 with the goal of becoming community service superheroes.

The theme of the 16th annual First Year Student Outreach Project, or FYSOP 16, was summoning superhuman powers to save the environment, help the elderly, and end hunger. The participants’ motto: “Service is super, man!”

FYSOP, organized by the Community Service Center, brings freshmen to BU the week before classes start to do volunteer work throughout the city and the state. It offers students a chance to meet new people but also shows them some of the issues that affect their new surroundings, such as hunger and homelessness.

“This day is about hearing the stories that will make this service so much more meaningful when you do it,” a coordinator told the students on the first day of FYSOP. “You’re going to learn so much, and you’re going to be changed by it.”

Students are divided into groups focusing on eight issue areas: children, disabilities, elders, the environment, gender focus, HIV/AIDS awareness, homelessness and housing, and hunger. Volunteers spend their first day learning about their issue areas, and the next three days performing service throughout the community. Each year participants typically complete over 13,000 hours of community service.

FYSOP 16 began with FYSOP Fusion, a multimedia presentation highlighting some of the problems affecting each issue area. The groups then split up for Education Day, where students met their team leaders and focused on the challenges facing their specific areas.

“All we ask is that you use us, the staff, our speakers today, and the people we encounter at the sites as a reference tool,” says Greg Hines (CAS’07), a team leader in the environment issue group. “Ask questions.”

“We don’t just want you to be volunteers,” added team leader Ben Dauksewicz (CAS’07). “We want you to be educated volunteers.”