Quick note, I am currently studying for my GRE that I am taking tommorow- wish me luck! Once I take the test and finnish up the few other tasks I have for my application I will be back in full force. I still have some SFAA sessions to talk about and a few other topics. I’ve just been bogged down with applying to grad school (all in 3 weeks mind you).
Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea for a few reasons. When I was an undergraduate, I felt like there really was not much comrodery amongst the undergrads- at least not anywhere near what the grad students seemed to have. This may have been by choice, or it may have been because there really weren’t very many opportunity for such relationships to develop. As Hale points out in the post, undergrads are going through the same experiences and have the similar feelings, a community would be a great place for the undergrads to share and discuss their experiences.
As a graduate, I feel connected to my undergraduate school and more specifically the department. I volunteered at the SFAA 2007 table in Vancouver while at the conference this year- I didn’t need to, but I wanted to help because I could. It means something to me to be an alumni, even if it’s just as an undergrad. However, the department really doesn’t foster these types of graduate relationships- you get your BA and your on your own. (Just to clarify, I’m not specifically attacking my old department at all, but departments in general). I don’t really talk to too many of my peers anymore, maybe 4 or 5. I do still however talk to a bunch of my professors still.
The social aspects of a community are clearly beneficial during school; comrodery, networking, encouragement, and knowing others have the same problems/concerns/fears. However, this can continue after undergrad if you form the relationships during school. It also helps to strengthen the department’s community, more people may be willing to volunteer and/or have social gatherings. This may lead to the department being more interesting and inviting to prospective students.
My problem with most undergraduate programs is that they do nothing to encourage the undergraduates to bond (other than in classes of course). Graduate students seem to have clubs and gatherings, listservs, but why can’t the undergraduates do the same?
I think that a forum would be an inexpensive and low maintenance way for the undergraduates to seek each other out and bond.