The Why I Love Worcester Campaign: A National Residence Hall Honorary Initiative

NRHH, Contributing Writers

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The “Why I Love Worcester” Campaign was a movement campaign created by Clark University’s National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) as a way of promoting all the various reasons why members of the Clark community love the city Worcester.  Specifically, the campaign, which took place in the Goddard Library, asked students to write one reason why they loved Worcester, whether that was a favorite restaurant, the people, or even something as simple as the gorgeous Worcester sunsets. These answers will be displayed so that Clarkies can read all the wonderful things about Worcester and hopefully see all the great opportunities this city has to offer.  The reason that we decided to do this event was to spread more information about the city of Worcester and to show all the different things that make it special. As students of Clark University, we can sometimes feel as if we live in a bubble, so we thought it was important to remind students of all the things Worcester has to offer outside of Clark’s campus!

This campaign could not have been completed without our dedicated NRHH members! Below are some highlighted responses about who our members are and why Worcester is important to them:

How long have you lived and/or attended school in Worcester? Do you consider it a home, & why or why not)?

Emma Narkewicz: I have been attending Clark for the past three years, and since last summer living in an apartment in Worcester. I refer to it as home almost unconsciously – if I visit my parents, when I make it back to the Woo I text them that “I made it home safe.” I had friends who visited Clark and loved its academics, but looked down on the area as not a good community to live in or whose parents wouldn’t let them attend due to perceptions of safety. It wasn’t until I became more involved in the Worcester community through NRHH and got to meet some of the leaders and activists that I truly began to appreciate Worcester fully. Being able to collaborate with community partners who are doing amazing community service and non-profit work from the position of living in the Worcester community and understanding its unique struggles and strengths. There is such amazing energy and engagement, and being able to learn from and work with members of the Worcester community to accomplish meaningful community service projects that meet self reported needs. Home for me is created by people not place, and I’ve found my home in Worcester thanks to NRHH.

Glynn Crum: I came to Worcester/Clark in the Fall of 2016, and three years later and I wouldn’t trade this choice for anything. I quickly started referring to Worcester, MA as my home after arriving, and I’m looking to extend that for at least a few more years. Worcester is very different from where I grew up, a suburb in Kansas. While I miss some aspects of where I grew up, I know this is the place for me.

Amanda Youmans: When I am asked, “Where do you call home”, I always answer that I grew up somewhere else, but Worcester is my home. In the parts of Worcester I have had the privilege of interacting with, I have found friendly faces, flexible and hard-working organizations, and adaptable and resilient people.

How would you describe Worcester in one word?

Sophia Dzikas : Adventuresome. Compared to where I’m from in Connecticut, Worcester offers so many different and unique experiences, stores, restaurants, parks, and opportunities.

Glynn Crumm: Reliable. Like many people I’m a big fan of the Boston area, but I’m not a big fan of the traffic or housing prices. Worcester is an awesome, walkable city with more than enough culture and great places for entertainment, food, or study!

What is something you love about Worcester that isn’t captured on ‘attractions’ signs?

Jane Thomas: In Worcester, there is much to love that can’t truly be appreciated by those who don’t actually live here. Attraction signs tend to focus on Worcester’s rich history, and there is much to appreciate there, but I think it’s important that we start to appreciate our future as a city. Right now Worcester holds so much potential, and this is something that we don’t talk about enough when talking about why we should love this city! We are considered one of the most up and coming cities right now and many people look to Worcester as an appealing alternative to living in bigger and less accessible cities. While our past is something to be proud of, we shouldn’t forget about what’s in store!

Brett Iarrobino: Worcester is a city of action. I know that sometimes that’s hard to believe, especially for Clark students, as we’re really only here in the Fall and Winter when the city can sometimes feel a little devoid of activity. And while I do think the city can definitely be much more lively in warmer weather, I firmly believe that there’s still so much to do during the academic year and a ton of opportunities to connect to the community and become a presence in the Main South neighborhood. When you go to school in Worcester, you get a chance to jump right in and look for ways to bond with the environment, and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship; I’ve learned so much during my time here while I try and make a difference and find meaningful avenues of work and volunteering.

Can you think of any negative stereotypes you’ve heard about Worcester that you believe are false and prejudiced after attending Clark. If so, what.

Lia Scala: One stereotype that I have heard is that Worcester is a “dangerous“ city. This statement may have some truth to it, however, it is unfair to blatantly call Worcester “dangerous” as it needs to be contextualized.Firstly, all cities could be denoted as “dangerous” as they have a lot of people in it who are coming from different demographics, socio-economic status, etc and are in such close proximity with each other that makes it more likely for conflict to arise. For instance, I work at a health facility in Worcester that offers healthcare to those who do not have any, and I see many cases where individuals are seeking not only physical, but also mental help due to institutionalized racism, poverty, and many other factors that are out of their control. These individuals are facing serious problems that need to be addressed on all levels as they aren’t just a Worcester problem, but as an international problem such as domestic violence, lack of access to the transportation and to resources they need in order to improve their health, a language barrier, as many have emigrated or fled from their home country, and most importantly a lack of education. All of which contribute to the many complex and different views between individuals that could lead to misunderstanding, a lack of empathy and concern for others, and even resentment and hatred for one another that could take on the form of violence.

What has been your most meaningful community service experience in Worcester and why?

Sophia Dzikas: Last April, members of NRHH volunteered for the REC Earth Day Clean-Up. This experience was rewarding as I was able to see how many bags we filled with trash and how clean the neighborhood looked afterwards. We bonded over the experience and had fun while picking up trash because we knew the results would be worthwhile.

Amanda Youmans: Since I started my Clark career, I have had the pleasure of being involved with the Assumption Mentoring Program at St. Peter’s Church. I have had the same mentee for three years now, and I cannot overemphasize what an incredible program it is! It is a safe space for Worcester youth to receive homework help, guidance, socialize and make lasting connections.

Clark’s chapter of NRHH was founded in 2014, and our purpose is to positively affect the Clark University and the Worcester Main South communities by engaging with student leaders across campus through recognition initiatives, service events, and campus activities. Our pillars are Service, Leadership, Recognition, and Scholastics. We plan and execute on and off-campus service events, such as Kindness Week, Staff Appreciation Day, Rachel’s Table drive, Jeremiah’s Inn Extra Essentials drive, and we volunteer regularly at Second Chance Animal Shelter. We also participate in community events such as Jonas Clark Haunted House, Relay for Life, and Earth Day Clean-Up.

To get involved, look for our events in the What’s Happening emails, or apply to join NRHH in the Fall. We can be reached at [email protected].