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Service in the city

Last week more than 40 freshman-year and transfer students volunteered in their new community through the Center of Community Service’s nuSERVES program. Created in 2008, the program teaches students about issues affecting urban environments through the integration of service projects, educational workshops, training, and reflection. This year’s theme, “Service in the City,” gave students the chance to identify their interests, strengths, and skills through a variety of service opportunities at more than a dozen sites throughout the neighborhood.

“The goal is to provide the students with a range of experiences and community service opportunities so that they can find what interests them,” explained nuSERVES Coordinator Sydney Palinkas, a senior human services major.

Some students volunteered at the Boston Public Health Commission or the Susan Bailis Assisted Living Community. Others volunteered at the Morville House, a subsidized home for low-income elders, or Room to Grow, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of babies born into poverty. As part of an on-campus service project, students made slip-proof socks to donate to the Kiwanas Pediatric Trauma Institute—a charity supported by the Circle K, a collegiate service organization.

Transfer student Malik Holland-Fofana cleaned up Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. “The project seemed rigorous when we first started, but we had a common goal as a cohort group to work together and get the job done,” said Holland-Fofana, a second-year criminal justice major. “I live right down the street, and it felt good that I could do my part to help my community.”

Holland-Fofana is a Balfour scholar and mentor at the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development, a program for young African-American males. He was honored to participate in the nuSERVES program, he said, and considers it a great opportunity to help his community.

“Northeastern is like a second home to me. I have been on campus since day care, have grown here, and have transitioned from a pup to a husky,” said Holland-Fofana. “My purpose is to serve my hometown, the community of Boston, and Northeastern in the most humble way possible. I strongly believe that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’ and by participating in nuSERVES I was able to fulfill my purpose.”

First-year psychology major Jessica Goodman continued her longstanding tradition of volunteering in the community by participating in the program. As a student at the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, Mass., she led the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

“nuSERVES is a great opportunity for freshmen looking to get involved,” said Goodman. “I made friends through the program who are passionate about the same things that I am, and we’re planning to do other service projects together throughout the year.”