Mission Statement

The mission of FUP is threefold:

  • to aid grass-roots organizations in local communities
  • to catalyze the FUPpies’ involvement in service and activism while at the College
  • orient incoming students to Harvard, Cambridge, and Boston, while providing them with the opportunity to meet peers who share with them an interest in public service and activism.

The First-Year Urban Program is a week-long orientation to communities and community service in Cambridge and Boston for incoming first-year undergraduates (FUPpies). FUP supports and challenges FUPpies to look beyond the walls of Harvard and to see the issues that affect the urban community in which they will be spending their next four years. FUPpies, accompanied by experienced upper-classman leaders and mentors, work with Cambridge and Boston area community members, the leaders of neighborhood service and activist organizations, and the leaders of the College’s public service communities. 

FUP uses social action projects and evening reflection sessions to explore issues issues of equity and acess, like gentrification, environmental justice and civil rights.  Through formal and informal discussions, leaders foster respect and appreciation for the growing ethnic, economic, religious, sexual, and political diversity at Harvard. Each year, the Steering Committee carefully compiles a reading packet for the first-years and the leaders. Using the readings as a common foundation, participants discuss issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality and the role of advocacy, service, and social activism. FUPpies have appreciated our community as a safe space for self-exploration and self-expression.

In order to keep the participation as accessible as possible, FUP has a voluntary program fee. This means that participants pay what they can or or not at all if it is not feasible. More details are made available once you are accepted into the program.