The energy of Community

Submitted by Evan Bell on December 27, 2012 - 8:38am

What does community mean to you?

Community is about the people and places around you.  But community is more then just people and places you live in; it is a feeling of belonging and of feeling a part of something that is bigger than you.

When you are part of a community there is a give and take.  You gain and give, even if you do not intend to, it is the natural flow of community.

Communities tend to form around similar ideas or places.  They may form around a charity or issue, or a common place like a popular bar.

 

What is a memorable experience of community that you have had?

 One memorable experience of community I have had is at the Paraplegic Associations annual wheel chair race.  Everyone there is like one big happy family; there is no fear of judgment.  At this event everyone has come together for a common purpose and the level of positive energy and enthusiasm they bring is infectious.

Another memorable experience of community was when I came to University in first year.  I remember how amazingly welcoming everyone was.  I felt an immediate comfort level with all these people who I had never met before.  Everyone was eager to interact and get to know you.

 

What challenges do you see in your community?

People who view community as a one way street, looking at it as, "what is in it for me?" instead of a two way street, where they are looking to give, as well.  In healthy communities, everyone is coming out to support each others' events.  The more involved people are, the stronger the community.  It acts like a giant team.

The big thing I notice with our generation (young adults) is the sense of entitlement.  Saying and thinking phrases like:

“I deserve…”

“I should be…”

“Why don’t I…”

Instead of this it should be something like:

“These are the options I have…”

“How can I give back?”

It is all about having just a general open attitude.

 

What opportunities do you see in your community?

The big thing I notice is energy.  When someone else is excited, it gets you excited, it is infectious.  In particular if it is stuff that mirrors your own interest.  The other opportunity I see is for people to set precedence with their behavior.  By embodying your beliefs of community, you can inspire others' in their own search for community.  It is all about the little things that you do.

One particular opportunity that I like is competitive volleyball.  There is a strong community that is developing there because we have the same attitude and goal.

 

What are you doing to build community?

I am building community by staying involved in my community and getting others involved.  As class president, I am in a position to build community and I try to by bringing excitement and positive energy to what I am doing which draws others in as well.

A really amazing case of this was raising money for Gryphon Stadium.  There was a funding shortage so people banded together to raise the money needed to make it happen.  It grew quickly because of the excitement of the people who were part of it and everyone got on board and we were able to raise the large amount of money needed in a very short period of time, and everyone benefitted from this experience.

 

 

“Its about making waves, they go further than you think”

 

Comments:
Entitlement- can it be overcome?

Hi Evan,

Thanks so much for sharing your relfections on community!

You have touched an a complex topic that so permeates this generation... entitlement. Do you have any thoughts on how we can overcome this idealogy. Having just graduated from U of Waterloo myself, I found this way of thinking and being so easy to slip into on a university campus. As a student leader, what are your thoughts on how to address/ shift this way of thinking within a university context?