Community Conversations

Program Overview

For many years, the Dean of Students Office has assigned readings to incoming first-year students and organized conversations with faculty and administrators during Opening Days to address important questions raised in the texts. 

The goals of Community Conversations are to:

  1. Consider what’s important to you about your identity and your community as you transition from home to Harvard;
  2. Examine your assumptions and learn about your peers’ diverse identities and perspectives;
  3. Begin to develop a sense of shared responsibility for upholding a compassionate and respectful community; and,
  4. Engage in conversations that may be challenging or unfamiliar.

How the Program Works:

Students do the following to prepare for Community Conversations:

  • Consider the readings and video assigned:
  • “The Danger of a Single Story,” a TED talk given by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Five short essays written by recent and current Harvard students: "Trans-Formative Experiences" by Ming-Li Wu '21; "Moving Forward" by Christopher Lewis '20; "Living Beyond the Numbers" by Benjamin Schafer '19; "Learning as Growth" by Laura Veira-Ramirez '20; and "Finding Home Far from Nowhere" by Kiera O'Brien '20
  • Attend the conversation during Opening Days, to share personal views, recalling the relevance of the readings to joining an exceptionally diverse class at Harvard.