Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Student Studio: A Brief Timeline of Creative Expression

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Post and photos by Savanah Macdonald

Over the course of the semester, Student Studio has been wildly successful in its promotion of the arts. Inspiring creativity is no easy pursuit, but Student Studio has reinvigorated artistic expression across Boston.

February: Spread the Love

Student Studio collaborated with Voices and The Empowerment League to put a spin on Valentine’s Day—(Pen)Palentine’s Day! The teams got together for an old-fashioned craft session with music, pizza, and plenty of Valentine spirit! Why make valentines for LGBT+ prisoners? LGBT and incarcerated communities often face violence and harassment, and are less likely to have support from the outside. Sending Valentine’s Day cards to LGBT+ prisoners demonstrates that these individuals are people who deserve affection and support. Spread the love—the CSC sure did!

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March: Welcoming Feminist Energy

 As part of GAP Week, Student Studio joined with Voices to engage the BU community with a Feminist Zine-Making Workshop! Student Studio filled the GAP by opening up a dialogue about feminism, feminist history, and gender identity – all while making social justice zines and listening to some mellow tunes. Collage, color, create!

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And let’s not forget: Casa Nueva Vida Mural Project!

 Collaborating with Sustainability, both teams met in Jamaica Plain on March 4th to combine the arts with environmental engagement. The mural came out beautiful, and will be a source of inspiration for years to come. A picture speaks a thousand words, and nothing fosters creativity like a mural.

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A huge thank you to Student Studio participants: Megan Markovitz, Molly Cohen, Giselle Blanco-Santana, Laura Capozzi, Mathew Brown, and Lena Adams!

This was a great year for Student Studio filled with creativity! Thank you to Becca Reynolds, Student Studio Program Manager, for dedicating her time to this wonderful program.

The Importance of Youth Mentorship

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Post and photos by Marissa Wu. All photos are from the Siblings Spring Fling event!

“Regardless of income level, my [Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D.] study showed that teens grew intellectually, interpersonally, and emotionally from supportive mentors. For example, most reported they were better planners, organizers, and problem-solvers. And they grew in self-confidence and self-awareness.” (Psychology Today)

Mentoring creates positive impact in youth’s lives. Youth with mentors have higher rates of high school graduation and are less likely to drop out of school. They find more self-confidence, self esteem, and are able to create big goals for themselves. Additionally, studies show that behavior, attitudes, and relationships improve when a youth has a mentor. Mentors help children grow and close the social and/or economic opportunity gap.


According to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, children at risk who had a mentor were:

55% more likely to enroll in college

52% less likely to skip school

37% less likely to skip class

78% more likely to volunteer regularly

90% interested in become a mentor themselves

130% more likely to hold leadership positions

Youth who had a mentor also showed a better attitude towards school.

Regular meetings between mentor and student saw that youth were:

46% less likely to use drugs

27% less likely to drink

81% more likely to participate in extracurricular activities


Youth also showed less depressive symptoms when they met regularly with their mentor.


While meeting a student or child once or twice a month may not seem like a huge impact, mentors are creating positive change in the lives of their students. Mentors become someone that youth look up to and trust; and youth may see their own dreams in their mentor. Being a mentor is a rewarding experience that allows us to be the person our younger selves needed.






Big Steps for a Tiny Nation: How Singapore Serves

Monday, February 15th, 2016

By Kimberley Vun

Presidents’ Day is the United States’ national commemoration of our past presidents, from Washington to Reagan. But we can also celebrate the accomplishments of leaders in other countries. How have presidents in other countries started nation-wide initiatives for the greater good of society?

Blog_Istana Open House
The Istana, Singapore’s version of the white house, had an open house on Labor day 2015 and all proceeds from the open house and entrance fees went towards charity

Singapore’s leadership has demonstrated service and compassion for the greater good through the President’s Challenge. Founded in 2000 by President S R Nathan, the President’s challenge is a nationwide call to all citizens of the nation of Singapore to come together and take action, to reach out to the less fortunate in the country. The campaign holds different fundraisers in the form of events and activities annually for their beneficiaries that are appointed yearly, and so far has raised over $100 million for over 500 beneficiaries to date, $10 million of which was raised in 2015 alone. A voluntary welfare organization in Singapore has to apply to be a beneficiary each year regardless of whether it was a beneficiary in previous years.

Blog_Tony Tan Serving Preside Tony Tan is serving chicken rice (a local delicacy) to the residents of a home for Senior Citizens. 

In 2012, Tony Tan, the newly elected President introduced volunteer opportunities to the President’s Challenge with their President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive. The volunteers can     work at the annual events or fundraisers hosted by the campaign, but also can sign up to work with individual organizations. The challenge has seen all kinds of partners come together for the greater good, from pre-schoolers and the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades, to the Hindu Endowment Board and churches.

Blog_Citibank Volunteers Citibank Volunteers accompanied children from Beyond Social Services, a non profit welfare organization, to a wildlife Bird Park in Singapore.

The President’s Challenge was President S R Nathan’s way of getting one step closer to his vision of Singapore being a caring, compassionate community, where Singaporeans would be aware of the less fortunate and help them through any means possible. To see that so many people and organizations are generously dedicating their time and efforts into making the livres of the less fortunate easier, I think that President Nathan has much to be proud of.

Taking a Look Back at MLK Day

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

“Be prepared to hear voices,” Katherine Kennedy, Director of the Howard Thurman Center, said to kick off the celebration of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. this past Monday. And we certainly did hear voices throughout the 2 hour celebration. Angelica Silva (CAS ’16) read a letter signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. She used her voice to share MLK’s message of “justice through nonviolence.”

Adding a musical interlude, Inner Strength Gospel Choir sang its rendition of Biller Wither’s famous “Lean on Me.” Juan Felipe Herrera, the US poet laureate keynote, even joined in to incorporate his poetry into the song. The poem’s words reflected on the nine victims in the Charleston , NC shooting.

The audience held a moment of silence for those killed unjustly: “in places that were meant to be safe.” James Lawson shared his experience coming to America from Nigeria. He said when he stepped foot in this country, he suddenly realized that he was a minority.

President Brown introduced the keynote, Herrera, to share his story and poems. Herrera had a spirited and kind manner when delivering his keynote, and expressed his passion for singing. He explained his journey of coming to the US school system as a Spanish speaker. His teacher, one day, invited him to the front of the class to sing. “Muy beautiful voice” is what she told him.

He explained his college experience at UCLA, which included the time he stirred controversy by drawing a black baby on a cross. “Black men are being crucified in this country,” he said. The school had a poor reaction to this action, but Herrera stood his ground. Throughout these stories of struggle, Herrera led us in poetic chants. An excerpt from one expresses the power of voices and peace:

   “We don’t want beautiful walls.

We want beautiful voices.

  We don’t want beautiful guns

We want beautiful peace”


Marsh Plaza on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day featuring the Free At Last statue.

Although Martin Luther King, Jr. Day comes before the official start of Black History Month, its celebrations and commemorations set the mindset our community must always have. Herrera taught us to understand the struggles, be always accepting and listen to all the beautiful voices in this world from people of all backgrounds.

Project Hope: Interview with Andres Amaya

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

By Olivia Rosenburg

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Andres Amaya, the Program Manager for Project Hope at the CSC. Project Hope focuses on public health and providing education and volunteer opportunities within these issues. Topics that are covered in project hope range from childhood obesity to HIV/AIDS awareness (World AIDS week was last week!). Some of Project Hope’s community partners include Cambridge Cares (AIDS), Community Servings, SPARK, and AIDS Action Committee. Andres told me about his time in the CSC, how he got started working with Project Hope, and why he does it!


What inspired you to volunteer for Project Hope?

I’ve always loved doing community service, but my favorite service I took part in was Chile. I worked with a doctor, in a rural community outside of Santiago, who specializes in hospice care. While working with this doctor, I realized how vast the disparity is between private and public health. This stuck in my head and Project Hope became an opportunity for me to learn and educate more people about this large difference in these health sectors.

When did you start volunteering for Project Hope?

I started volunteering for Project Hope this year (sophomore year) when I became the PM for the program.


What is your favorite part about Project Hope?

My favorite part of Project Hope is just seeing how bonds form between the volunteers and the community partners. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see and hear how much these two separate groups come to care about each other so much.

What is your favorite memory about Project Hope?

I’m only a few months into my role as the Project Hope program manager, but I’d have to say my favorite memory was helping make the Halloween party at the Gavin Foundation.

How has Project Hope helped you grow? 

Project Hope has helped me gain experience in a field that has always interested me, as well as provide an outlet to help out people in the greater Boston Community.


Project Hope is a great way to meet more people in the BU community and within Boston through the community partners. Make sure to check it out next semester! Andres is always looking for new volunteers to join him! If you are interested or have any questions make sure to email!

Student Studio Reaches Out To Mason Elementary

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

By Savanah Macdonald

As part of the Community Service Center, Student Studio volunteers devote their time to promoting the arts within local schools and youth groups. Student Studio takes pride in fostering creative minds and embracing individuality. From quick crafts to long-term group projects, Student Studio volunteers are passionate about inspiring young minds around Boston.

Student Studio

Photo courtesy of Isabella Carlo

At Mason Elementary School, CSC volunteers cultivate creativity and a passion for the arts within the students they work with. Isabella Carlo (Sargent ’18) helped the children of Mason Elementary create “Name Symmetry Monsters”. Students were instructed to fold their papers in half, write their names on one side, and their name’s reflection on the other side. After, students were encouraged to let their imaginations swirl, creating unique monsters out of the shapes and figures formed by their reflected names.

While majoring in Physical Therapy, Isabella remains passionate about her involvement within Student Studio, believing the program to be “welcoming, creative, and fruitful.” Each week Isabella visits the same children to work on different crafts. Isabella finds her experiences with Student Studio incredibly rewarding, even though the program doesn’t directly connect with her major. Since the children’s after school program doesn’t offer their students ample outlets for creativity, Isabella sees her participation in Student Studio as a “rewarding experience, providing students with the opportunity to do embrace their artistic side.”

To learn more about volunteering for Student Studio, check out the program page.

Program Spotlight: Joining Hands

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

There are a motley of opportunities available at the Community Service Center; however, one of the opportunities that will be highlighted today is Joining Hands, a volunteer program at the Community Service Center. Joining Hands is focused on serving as a link between students and elders with varying abilities in a variety of settings. By creating friendships with people of varying ages and abilities, volunteers receive the opportunity to close the disparity between their differences and gain a unique understanding about the issues that surround elders.


Program Manager, Jon Lerch, a junior majoring in Biology with a specialization in Cellular Biology, Molecular Biology and Genetics and minoring in Anthropology says that “One of the unique opportunities that Joining Hands offers is our direct service. At each of our community partners, we are interacting with amazing people, with some incredible stories to share. They are always so excited when we arrive, and look forward to it each week. I love walking into a community partner, like Little Sisters of the Poor, and being greeted by the residents by name. It is just a small touch, but it is great to know that they remember you from last week, or weeks ago, and you can pick up your conversation from where you left off last time. I think this is one of the things that makes Joining Hands so unique.”

Moreover, he says his favorite part about the program is the service. “Each Tuesday, I get a little break in my week by going to Newton Athletes Unlimited to walk the track with the participating athletes. It is always so great to escape campus for an hour, and just chat with some really great people as we walk.”

Volunteers are able to volunteer at several community partners including: Newton Athletes Unlimited, Compass on the Bay, Strongwater Farms and Little Sisters of the Poor. Newton Athletes Unlimited is an organization that helps those living with special needs to get active and compete in sports. Compass on the Bay is a senior living center for elders suffering from memory loss and give volunteers the opportunity to make their own activities for the elders they work with. Strongwater Farms is a therapeutic horse farm that provides equine assisted activities and therapies to New England residence in need of emotional, physical and behavioral healing. Each of the community partners provides students with the opportunity to learn something unique about their community and work with a variety of new people!

There are many opportunities for students to become volunteers with Joining Hands! For more information, be sure to check out the Facebook page and website for Joining Hands.

ASB Moments With Sheridan Aspinwall

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

By Amanda Brancato (CGS 17’, COM 19’)

Alternative Service Breaks (ASB) provide students the opportunity to travel during either winter or spring breaks to volunteer, develop leadership skills and create bonds with other participants. In the past year, students have worked with community partners in over 40 locations.

With this year’s ASB registration approaching, I interviewed Sheridan Aspinwall (Sargent 17’) about her experience of going on a trip and now becoming a coordinator for 2015 program. Sheridan was a volunteer on the Knoxville, MD trip during ASB 2014.


Sheridan at Harper’s Ferry Hostel

What is your most memorable moment with ASB?

My most memorable moment was reaching the top of Maryland Heights after a long steep hike, and hanging out on the windy summit with everyone for a while. It was such a gorgeous day!

What impact did the program have on you?

The program really opened up my worldview. During the week we met all sorts of people, all of whom had vastly different life stories. It was really comforting in a way to see how differently people can experience the world, and how many options there are out there.

Why did you decide to become a coordinator?

I did want to be a coordinator because I was blown away by ASB my freshman year. A lot of that positive experience came from having great coordinators, so now that I’m an upperclassman I wanted to give that experience to someone else.

What are you most looking forward to with ASB this year?

I’m looking forward to being surrounded by nature! Our trip is to the Cumberland Trail in Tennessee, so every day we’ll be out in the woods working, which is such a lovely feeling.

Why would you recommend this program?

I’d recommend ASB because it really does have an effect on you. Whether you discover a whole new passion for your issue area, or just discover a new little corner of the US, you’ll carry the experiences from ASB around with you for months afterward. At the very, very least, you’ll meet a whole new group of friends!


Sheridan overlooking Harper's Ferry

The last ASB information session is this Tuesday (November 10th) 7pm-9pm on the GSU Back Court. Signup for programs begins at 9am on November 22nd. 

The Experience of a FYSOP PM: Interview with Kirsten Kuhn

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

FYSOP (First-Year Student Outreach Project)welcomes first-year and transfer students to Boston University and the Greater Boston area before the fall semester begins. FYSOP engages first-year volunteers and upperclassmen staff leaders through social justice education, service, and reflection. Our service works to address community-identified needs through eleven intersecting focus areas.

Kirsten Kuhn FYSOP

Kirsten Kuhn (CAS ’15) just finished running FYSOP 26 as one of the Program Managers. We had the pleasure of talking with her about her experience as a FYSOP PM. She shared her thoughts below.

What is the best aspect of being a FYSOP PM?

In this job, you work so hard over so many long hours to infuse your unique mission into every little logistical detail of the program. It was absolutely amazing and humbling to watch the coordinators take our vision and make it their own, pass along their knowledge and skills to the staff leaders, and experience the staff support and cultivate the next generation of Boston University leaders and community members.

What are the greatest lessons you learned while being a PM? 

I learned two things- the importance of teamwork and perspective. Cultivating an open, communicative, and positive working relationship with my co-program manager and my summer staff was absolutely essential to create and run a program of this size and reach. I also quickly learned how to not stress the small things and keep the big picture in mind through all of the late nights, early mornings, interviews, workshops, advising meetings, emails, and phone calls. It was important for me to challenge myself to celebrate the daily victories and enjoy the small and fleeting moments I had with the people invested in this program. Even though this position is 8 months long, it flies by.

How did you grow?

The Program Manager position taught me how to be a better advocate for myself and the people I care about and am responsible for. This role helped me identify my core strengths and challenges as a manager, community member, and human being, which has been invaluable for me moving forward in my professional and personal life.

Why should others become a FYSOP PM?

First of all, being a FYSOP Program Manager is challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally. With that in mind, this experience provides an unparalleled opportunity for personal growth and immense daily fulfillment. Not only does this position provide you with the opportunity to learn valuable program management skills, you also get to work with the most inspiring and compassionate people BU has to offer.

Want to make your own PM experience? Apply to be one of the FYSOP 27 Program Managers!

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Due Friday, November 13, 4 p.m.

Email Zach Hobbs, CSC Director, for more information.

Apply now: FYSOP-27-PM-Application

Friday Night Club: Promoting Disability Awareness & Inclusion

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Written by Shreyans Kothari

Student Volunteers for Special Needs (SVSN) is a BU student organization that aims to raise disability awareness among students. Friday Night Club (FNC) is one of the many events undertaken by SVSN. The main objective of Friday Night Club is to create an inclusive environment for  teenagers with special needs and to broaden their experience. Many times, these teenagers are put into specialized schools and don’t receive many opportunities to just hang out and interact with other teenagers. Friday Night Club, pioneered by two Harvard sisters in 2011, happens on three Fridays of each month where students from Boston University, Harvard, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology come together and hang out with teens who have special needs.

In the words of the president of SVSN, Jamie Tam, “it’s a big chill out session”. Jamie is a junior studying Behavior and Health at Sargent College. She has been affiliated with SVSN and Friday Night Club since her freshman year. She enthusiastically described to me her first Friday Night Club experience at Harvard. FNC had rented out the entire Museum of Natural History for the event. Jamie was inspired by the dedication put into this event and got motivated to put more effort into the club herself. Having attended two Friday Night Club events myself, I would like to encourage everyone to volunteer for it. You get to meet new people from different schools, and you realize how these teenagers are very much similar to any other teenager their age, no matter their disability. Friday Night Club has a different theme each time, and the theme for the next meet is Halloween.

I totally agree with Jamie when she says FNC is a “welcoming community.” No one cares what you look like or what you do because you are all there for the same mission. FNC is a nice way to volunteer for a good cause and make new friends at the same time.

If you’d like to join, please email
Also check out the SVSN Facebook Page for updates!

SVSN Photo

Jamie Kaitlin Tam, President,
Student Volunteers for Special Needs
Boston University

Want to find more ways to work with people who have varying abilities? You can also volunteer with the CSC program, Joining Hands!