The CSC Blog

ASB Moments With Sheridan Aspinwall

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.

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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!

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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.

www.buasb.com 

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Happy Halloween From Siblings

October 30th, 2015

Post and photo by Marissa Wu

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Last Saturday, the Siblings program hosted a Halloween celebration, where little siblings and big siblings were able to spend an afternoon bonding over pumpkin painting, food and games.

Siblings is a mentorship program that pairs BU students with children K-8 in the Boston area. Throughout the year, the sibling pairs get to know each other better as they do various activities together, such as going to sports games or just hanging out. It’s a rewarding experience on both ends: the big siblings are able to see their little siblings grow, and the little siblings have a mentor who is genuinely invested in their development.

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Jessica Kupczak, a sophomore in CAS, says, “I found out about the siblings program through the Student Services. I just looked online and I just really wanted to get involved in the community, and I thought the best way to do that was to get involved with community service. So, I found the Siblings program the most interesting one because I was a camp counselor a few years ago, and I spent a lot of time with kids. It’s a passion of mine, and it’s really nice to spend time with someone who doesn’t have the same issues or problems as you, and it’s really nice to talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to or see. I really love meeting my sibling and watching her grow.”
Don’t hesitate to get involved as it is a wonderful program!

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Learn more about Siblings on the Program page

Posted in Siblings

The Experience of a FYSOP PM: Swanson Ninan

October 26th, 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.

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Swanson Ninan (CAS ’15) was one of the Program Managers for FYSOP 26. He is currently working in People Operations (HR) at Google in San Francisco. He shared his FYSOP PM story with us below.

What is the best aspect of being a FYSOP PM?

The best part of being FYSOP PM is building something beautiful from the ground up. I don’t think people always realize it, but there’s huge growth opportunities for FYSOP PMs. As much as you influence the program, the program influences you. That includes all of the participants- coordinators, staff, and volunteers alike.

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

The greatest lesson I learned from being FYSOP PM is that the show will always go on, no matter what the situation is! I learned that I can handle any challenge thrown at me, as long as I had my beautiful co-PM (Kirsten Kuhn) by my side. There’s nothing more satisfying and humbling to realize and reach your own potential.

How did you grow?

I grew in so many ways from this experience– I was constantly challenged by the team of incredible coordinators we got to hire who pushed me to consider social justice, education, and service in new ways. Being PM made me realize just how much we owe it to ourselves to better understand and support to communities we work, live, and learn in.

Why should others become a FYSOP PM?

You will never regret being FYSOP PM. There are huge challenges and hurdles that you face, but none that you can’t take on. There are many moments of exhaustion, but countless more of laughter, generosity, and inspiration that you can (and will) draw on from your co-program manager, the rest of the professional staff, and the amazing team of coordinators and staff that you get to build. 

Gain invaluable leadership skills, serve the Boston community and endure self-discovery by applying to be a FYSOP 27 Program Manager. 

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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

Posted in FYSOP

The Experience of a FYSOP PM: Interview with Kirsten Kuhn

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.

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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

Posted in Uncategorized

Friday Night Club: Promoting Disability Awareness & Inclusion

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 svsn@bu.edu
Also check out the SVSN Facebook Page for updates!

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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!

Why Does Food Need Justice?

October 13th, 2015

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“…liberty and justice for all.” Sure, maybe food wasn’t in mind when Francis Bellamy penned the Pledge of Allegiance. However, when our nation treats their food with dignity, they also treat themselves with dignity.

The Food Justice movement has been occurring for years, but what is exactly is it? Food Justice is a multifaceted movement, working towards access to healthy food options, food cost, diminishing global malnourishment, supporting local farmers, sustainable agriculture, etc. It’s about consuming GMO-free food, buying local, and understanding that those with varying socio-economic standing should have the same opportunity to buy healthy food for themselves and their families. Understanding food justice also means understanding the process of food production, from the farming to the industry workers to the promotion.

So how can you help bring justice to food? To help with malnourishment and hunger, try volunteering at a local food pantry or bank, such as Community Servings or The Greater Boston Food Bank. Promote healthy grocery stores, such as Trader Joes or a local healthy café, rather than fast food restaurants. Support farmers by visiting a nearby farm, or travel to the Roxbury Food Justice Hub to become more aware on Boston’s urban food movement.

Justice for food means justice for all.

To learn more about food justice, register for Journey for Food Justice, October 24th-25th. Walk 27 miles on a beautiful fall weekend with fellow BU volunteers from campus to Heifer Farm, where you will learn about Heifer International’s goal to end world hunger and poverty. Register here.

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Hike for Hunger

October 8th, 2014

Now to be perfectly honest, I don’t have much experience with hiking. However, I’m pretty sure most hikes don’t involve literally walking out of a city, trekking through random towns, passing their city halls and slightly confused residents, and crossing some major highways to get to your destination. But that’s what makes the Hike for Hunger so special. It’s a group of random strangers who for some reason all decided they felt like walking 27 miles over the course of two days. It’s watching with wonder as the city streets turn into winding, scenic roads covered with vibrant fall leaves right before your very eyes. It’s realizing that 27 miles really isn’t that far when you’re in good company and the destination is so inspiring. It’s being greeted with open arms (and paws) by the beautiful people (and adorable animals) at the Heifer Global Harvest Festival. It’s learning about the wonderful things that this organization does to help fight hunger and poverty, and knowing that our donation is going to go a long way. As I said before, I don’t have much experience with hikes, but I am pretty certain this is one of the best there is.

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-Alyssa DeRosa (CAS ’15)

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Countdown to GDS: Allston Clean Up

April 9th, 2014

Allston Neighborhood Clean-Up

We all know Allston, whether it’s for its weekend night life or the hidden treasures that lie within. One of these places is the Stanley Ringer Park. Stanley A. Ringer Playground is a 12.25-acre public park on Allston Street between Commonwealth and Brighton avenues. The park consists of two tennis courts, two basketball courts, a baseball diamond, a playground and many walkways. Joan Pasquale, the director of the Parents and Community Build Group, who sponsor the park, says that the park is for all neighbors and wants it to feel safe for everyone who uses the park. The goal is to get people to incorporate themselves in the neighborhood.

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So how can you help give back to this grand idea? Sign up for this GDS site and work with District 14 of the Boston Police Department cleaning up the park. You will get to work with alumni and police officers at the site and will clean up trash, help cut down trees, and beautify the area. It’s right down the street from your lovely home at BU, and one of our largest sites, making it a great place to meet new people.

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Countdown to GDS: Heading Home

April 9th, 2014

Heading Home was founded in 1974 with the mission to end homelessness in Greater Boston. They provide emergency, transitional and permanent housing, and support services, to low-income homeless and formerly homeless families and individuals. Heading Home believes that a stable home provides the optimal foundation to get back on track and since 2006, they have successfully created more than 350 units of housing.

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Permanent housing programs remain at the core of Heading Home’s services although they also provide life skills training and education and employment services. Volunteers are very important at Heading Home and provide help in many areas such as client assistance, property maintenance, and administrative support.

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Global Day of Service volunteers will be assisting in organizing donated furniture items that will later be distributed to individuals in need through Heading Home’s housing programs. Interested? Be sure to visit Heading Home’s website and connect with them on Facebook for up-to-date information on their work in the Greater Boston community.

To register for Heading Home and over 30 other sites on Saturday, April 19, 2014 please see our registration page.

– Alison Ishii (SMG ’16)

Posted in Uncategorized

Countdown to GDS: the Lowell Wish Project

April 7th, 2014

The Lowell Wish Project is a wonderful organization in Lowell, MA. The organization donates to clients in need who have recently acquired housing. The project donates furniture, clothing, appliances and other things to help people stay out of homelessness permanently. The project also gives aid to victims of fires and natural disasters. The Lowell Wish Project has many partner organizations, and many clients in need of help. During Global Day of Service, Students will be helping sort, clean, and put together packages for clients. Contributing to this project will help many other people in the area, and is a great way to celebrate the Global Day of Service.

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