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Starting the Year in FOCUS

Starting the Year in FOCUSOne of Tufts' pre-orientation groups starts the semester with a little fun—and a lot of service.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.02.09] Every year, some freshmen get into the Tufts spirit early by participating in pre-orientation programs. And what could be more Tufts than helping others in need?

The FOCUS pre-orientation group, which immerses freshmen in various community service experiences, began this year's program on Aug. 27 with games and sandwiches. The games were for each other, but the sandwiches were for the Greater Boston Food Bank.



Photo Gallery: A FOCUS on fun -- and service

This year's FOCUS group was the largest ever at 164 freshmen, nearly 70 more than last year. Participants were split into 21 groups broken down by nine themes, including the environment, special needs, animals and homelessness. But before heading out into the community, they came together to bring a little competitive spirit to a worthy cause.

"Last year when we were planning this, we realized that we never sat down as a whole group," says FOCUS coordinator Julia Carlson (A'11). "We wanted to do at least one event together before we went our separate ways."

The groups each pledged to make 85 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to donate, for a total of 1,785 sandwiches.

Making the sandwiches together was not only a way to help the community, but also to help ease freshmen into life at Tufts.

"FOCUS also aims to foster bonding as these freshmen enter Tufts," says Carlson. "We wanted this event to help the entire FOCUS group bond."

For those incoming freshmen, FOCUS introduces them to the breadth of service opportunities available to them at Tufts-it is run by the Leonard Carmichael Society, the umbrella student group for service activities at Tufts-and also gives them a chance to help their community before they even officially enter it.

"We just hope that we can help students get a greater appreciation for community service," Carlson says.

Story by Catherine Scott (A'11)

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