Having the discussion on community showed how, though each person in our peer unit has a different definition based on their life experiences, all of the definitions had parts that overlapped. The discussion allowed for me to see how I could improve my definition of community: I could broaden it to encompass how students can get involved.
Community is about including all of the sub-groups in an area and having them come together and work collaboratively in a positive manner. This could take the form of students engaging with the community present in their university's city. In Guelph, we need students to care more about the Guelph community as a whole and have students stop considering themselves as separate from the community. At the discussion, we talked about different ways to address this issue and there were a variety of suggestions. There was a lot of discussion around targeting first year students, but we could not decide how to do this since first years are hard to reach and undergoing a lot of transition as they adapt to a new learning environment, living arrangement, being away from home, etc.
Overall, the discussion changed my definition of community since a lot of topics were brought up that I had not previously considered. I was able to see how my childhood and university involvement has developed my sense of community and how the same thing has happened for the other peers.
I believe we agreed that because students are transient, the individuals that live in the community full-time get tired of having to incorporate students and eventually stop trying and the students do not bother to try. This creates a cycle of a broken sense of community and an individualistic mindset. We have to continue to try and get people to develop a collectivist mindset so students and Guelph members can create a cohesive community where everyone is a contributing member.
By: Allana McComb