Ever since I started taking classes at VTS (the seminary in the area), I've been joking that I get more random e-mail requests than I've ever seen. Here's one that came last night.
I need lots and lots of apple seeds (about 200 in all) for a Christian ed project that will be coming due in a couple of weeks. If you are an apple eater and can save a few seeds for me I would be very, very grateful.
As much as these requests are kind of random, all of them make me smile. They all make very clear that I'm now part of a deeply knit community which cares for each-other.
More than apple seed requests, I've also gotten impromptu Ultimate Frisbee and football games on the quad that afternoon. There are also requests for rides some place, parties or even personal updates when a family member of a student or teach is sick or passes away. All of these requests go to everyone in the school, from the new student up to the administration.
While it can sometimes be annoying, since I don't know anyone, it's been one of the biggest things which has made me feel like I'm a part of this community, since I'm not there full-time and don't live close enough to take part.
Many organizations would take these e-mails and move them off to separate mailing lists. Then you subscribe to the list of information you want to hear about, and subsequently causing no one to subscribe. Here people do great at not replying all (something that is STILL a problem at the IT company I work with) to the e-mails, and there's such a great informality to it all. VTS really does get community right.
Since we just picked a bunch of apples on our trip to New Hampshire, I'm eating away and will make an apple pie for a get-together this weekend. Want me to make an extra pie for you?