Syracuse University Magazine

Creating Community

When Orange alumni return to the University these days after a long absence, they are often amazed at the physical transformation of campus. New to many eyes are Ernie Davis Hall, the Life Sciences Complex, the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center and, just this fall (as you’ll read here on the magazine website), the Newhouse Studio and Innovation Center in renovated Newhouse 2, and Dineen Hall, the College of Law’s spectacular new home.

All of these magnificent spaces are designed to enhance the experiences of those who use them, and an essential part of that is providing an inviting atmosphere that brings people together and creates a sense of belonging among them. Whether it’s first-year students trading conversations in an Ernie Davis Hall lounge, biologists and chemists discussing genetics in the Life Sciences Complex, or Newhouse students developing a multimedia project, the importance of collaboration is evident. Learning about one another, sharing information, swapping ideas, and advancing knowledge are all outgrowths of successful collaboration.

These experiences can also create a strong sense of community. For students, one of the beauties of inhabiting a college campus is the opportunity to explore the vast range of communities and find a place where they share interests and support with one another. From my window here in the Women’s Building, I can look out and see students playing Ultimate Frisbee, squaring off in flag football, and even bringing their dogs together for romps and chasing balls. Whether officially organized or casually circumstantial, they are communities, one and all. Likewise, most all of us travel among various communities that reflect our professional and personal lives and interests. I like that I’m part of the diverse University community and keep company with colleagues who are writers, editors, and designers.

At home, I’m part of a community that centers on my daughter’s elementary school and such activities as soccer and skiing. And, given the luxury of free time, I’m all in when it comes to the community of fly-fishing anglers I spend time with on the water. It is in these communities where we energize ourselves, have fun, and learn new things, including how to deal with conflicts and grow from solving them.

As we move among the communities in our lives, it’s always nice to reflect on how they’ve brought us together through some commonality—and yet they become so much more when we realize how important they are in shaping our lives and helping us define who we are.

Jay Cox