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nuSERVES students off to a fast start

Fifty new students kicked off their Northeastern University careers earlier this month by embarking on a host of community service activities through nuSERVES. The University’s annual program engages freshman and transfer students in service projects that allow them to explore Boston’s neighborhoods, meet classmates and build new friendships and develop a strengthened sense of community engagement.

Students apply to the program, and arrive on campus a week early. They participate in workshops that introduce them to a range of community issues, such as education, poverty, education, affordable housing and the environment. Participants also take walking tours to develop a strong understanding of the culture and histories of Boston’s diverse neighborhoods. Click here to see a video about this year’snuSERVES program.

Now in its third year, the program’s theme was “Connecting with our Community” and focused on Northeastern’s four Stony Brook neighborhoods: Mission Hill, the Fenway, Roxbury, and the South End. Students collectively completed more than 1,000 hours of service at seven community organizations.

At the Yawkey Club of Roxbury, students repainted two activity rooms, brightening the walls of a community pillar where the Boys & Girls Club of Boston location is celebrating its 100th year of service. Freshman Esther Henebeng called nuSERVES an eye-opening experience for her to see Boston for the first time.

“I was involved in community service in high school, and I just like giving back. Community service opens up a lot of opportunities to meet new people and learn new things,” said Henebeng, of East Providence, R.I.

The nuSERVES program at the Yawkey Club builds on a unique pilot initiative launched last year enabling Northeastern to place a full-time Massachusetts Promise Fellow, student volunteers and service-learning students into the club on a weekly basis.

At the Mission Hill School, a bustling group of students were swirling through the hallways to help teachers and staff prepare for the new school year. They set up the art room and built frames for student artwork, cleaned classrooms, andlogged student grade information into school computers.

Principal Ayla Gavins said the nuSERVES student volunteers played a key role by lending a hand to educators. “They are really coming ready to be engaged, and ready to do whatever they can do to be helpful,” she said. “Service is what they are about.”

On the scorching Thursday afternoon, freshmen Lilly Stairs and Meredith Carling rolled up their sleeves and worked together to reorganize and expand the school’s library. They both expressed excitement about getting to campus early and contributing in the community. Back on campus, Stairs said she’s interested in pursuing a communications studies degree, while Carling will study health sciences with the goal of becoming a doctor.

“I’m excited about the co-op program and other opportunities that Northeastern and Boston have to offer,” Stairs said.

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