One of Framingham State’s biggest advertising buzzwords is the fRAMily.
The fRAMily is the idea that student connection is a foundation of the University – a commonly accepted and encouraged aspect of student life on campus.
The concept of fRAMily is plastered everywhere, from advertisements aimed at incoming students to promotional materials for new clubs and organizations.
The only problem is that, from where I’m sitting, the fRAMily just doesn’t exist.
Students seem largely disconnected from one another, rarely going outside of their small friend groups or interacting with each other outside of classes or clubs.
Largely, students seem to self-isolate, going out of their way to keep from saying hello or making eye-contact with previous classmates or acquaintances.
Conversation, likewise, is kept to a minimum with anyone a student might be unfamiliar with.
The first few weeks of classes are always sullen and silent – not even small talk about the weather or the class itself goes on until everyone feels comfortable sitting in the same place.
Even then, it’s nothing more than pleasantries or a short, one-sided conversation that makes it clear talking isn’t a virtue here.
For all the claims about a strong, interconnected community, the actual amount of interaction is minimal, and I question how much is really the fault of the administration, as they are so often the scapegoat in situations like this.
Obviously, fRAMily isn’t a term coined by the student body. Neither is the fact that nearly half of all undergraduate students are commuters who traditionally have a more difficult time being involved in campus life because events and clubs typically run late.
But it’s just not the administration’s fault when it comes down to the student body’s popular personal choice of non-interaction with peers.
Everything at the University is in its own bubble.
Each club, sport, activity, and student exists in their own isolated bubble, and they never reach out of it unless they need something.
This kind of behavior builds a culture where people are paranoid about friendly human contact, and worried that they are only being talked to because of an ulterior motive.
People shouldn’t live in a place where being friendly or polite is unacceptable.
Take the time to break the bubble, go outside your comfort zone, and start a conversation with someone you don’t know yet.
If that’s something you aren’t going to try, then say hello to someone from class. It won’t get rid of every bubble on this campus, but it can help pop one.