Finding Community Where You Least Expect It

By: Kaylee Wong
Incubator Participant
Undergraduate Student, FCRH, Class of 2020
United Student Government, Executive President

Community. Nearly every Fordham student I have ever spoken with mentions this word when they are describing why they love Fordham; the community. When I was looking at colleges as a junior in high school, I toured over 35 schools before making my decision. The one thing I remember when I think back to this process was the way in which Fordham students interacted and cared about one another.

The moment I saw hundreds of students sitting on Edward’s Parade during my tour one spring day, was when I experienced that indescribable feeling high school seniors talk about when they believe they have found “their place.” Once I became a student at Fordham, it was this community that got me through the tough times and was also there for me through all the fun times. I found community in my friends, who became like family; I found community in the clubs and organizations I joined, especially in Student Government; I found community in the classroom with my peers and professors. This community remains a vital part of my Fordham experience, as I am now a senior. 

When I joined the ReIMAGINE Incubator earlier this year, I was expecting a group of hardworking individuals who would work together once a week for a semester and then move on. Instead, I found, once again, a community. A community of passionate individuals, with amazing ideas and perspectives to share and a phenomenal ability to make everyone in the group feel heard.

As we moved into our new world filled with online learning, Zoom calls, and lots of uncertainty, many of our communities were tested. Would we be able to maintain the same level of connection even though we were all so far apart? For me, even though we must all remain at home, I have witnessed people coming together in amazing ways during these trying times. Through Zoom calls, shared recipes, blackboard discussions, and more, we are remaining connected, and I think that the Fordham community continues to thrive. 

The ReIMAGINE Higher Education Incubator has been an indescribable experience filled with growth, learning, and experimentation. Zoom calls with the Incubator were actually one of the few things that I would look forward to each week. The Incubator gave me the opportunity to meet a group of phenomenal individuals, who when placed in teams, created inspiring and goal-driven projects. In addition, it allowed me to be a part of a community that has a deep love and passion for Fordham and would do everything it could to enhance and improve it for others. Despite the health crisis, the Incubator pushed forward, and for that, I am incredibly proud and grateful. 

In conclusion, this Incubator is exactly what Fordham needs to be looking at during these uncertain times because it’s initiatives such as this that will push boundaries and make waves. Now more than ever we must keep striving to be the best university we can be, and we must also continue to provide opportunities, like the Incubator, so the Fordham community can come together, because without these connections we will never survive.