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 Tedtalk given by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Four short essays written by recent and current Harvard students: "From Coast to Coast: Carving a Home in Both" by Andrew Pérez ‘20; "Becoming" by Becina J. Ganther ‘20; "Finding Home Amidst a History of Oppression" by Fatima Bishtawi ‘17; and "Finding Belonging as Black Men at Harvard" by Robert Rush ’18 and Mfundo Radebe ‘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.