Social Action Outreach Programs and Services

Alternative Spring Breaks (ASB)

Each year, hundreds of volunteers spend Spring Break doing work through the Community Service Center’s Alternative Spring Breaks program. The goal of ASB is to provide the student body with a unique and memorable service opportunity as a substitute to the conventional Spring Break. ASB trips promote community service, develop leadership skills, and create strong bonds among participants. The trips allow volunteers to visit other parts of the country and learn about various social issues ranging from affordable housing and public education to HIV/AIDS awareness and the environment. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710,

Children’s Theatre

Volunteers from the Community Services Center create and perform original variety shows for young children in hospitals and shelters. Performances range from storybook adaptations to improvisation, and the shows feature lessons and morals relevant to today’s youth. In addition to performing for children, volunteers also provide theater workshops for local elementary and middle school students who otherwise would not be exposed to the performing arts. In 2008, 93 volunteers completed 2,739 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710,

First-Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP)

The First-Year Student Outreach Project (FYSOP) offers incoming Boston University students a unique opportunity to get settled in their new community by performing a week of service before classes even begin. FYSOP volunteers participate in program orientation, a full day of education, and three full days of direct service in one of eight issue areas: Children, Disabilities, Elders, Environment, Gender Focus, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Homelessness & Housing, and Hunger. Each year, FYSOP volunteers complete more than 10,000 hours of service in the Greater Boston area. These hours have an immediate impact on the community and give volunteers the opportunity to learn and create new friendships through service. Participants are able to make new and long-lasting friendships through their interactions with 136 sophomore, junior, and senior Staff Leaders and 500 new students who are dedicated to service. In the summer of 2008, 770 volunteers completed 16,960 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710

Holiday Reading Program

In conjunction with College for Every Student, Boston University has been sending varsity and club team student-athletes into public elementary schools since 1998 to bring kids holiday cheer and carefully chosen books. Athletes read to the students and discuss passages, providing not only a chance to improve reading skills but valuable role modeling. This year, 285 varsity and club student-athletes took part before their finals got under way, helping to persuade 1,000 grade school youth that reading is cool.

Information: 617-358-5175

Making Music

Volunteers provide instrumental music lessons to children at the Farragut Elementary School in Boston’s Mission Hill and the Garfield School in Brighton. The program year ends with a celebratory recital held on the Boston University campus, where the Making Music students and volunteers perform selected pieces they learned during the year. In 2008, 107 volunteers completed 3,478 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710

Multicultural Advancement Partnership Program (MAPP)

Volunteers work with refugees, immigrants, and international students to improve their understanding of English and their experience in America. Special emphasis is placed on literacy, English as a Second Language, and job training skills. MAPP volunteers work in community centers throughout the Boston area and are paired with conversation partners through the Center for English Language & Orientation Programs (CELOP). In 2008, 177 volunteers completed 3,848 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710,

OXFAM Fast for a World Harvest

This student fast program to raise funds to help alleviate global poverty and hunger was first implemented at Boston University in 1988. Boston University consistently raises more money for this program than any other college or university in the Boston area. All money raised goes to OXFAM, a nonprofit organization focused on spreading social justice and economic equality across impoverished regions of the world. In fall 2007, 1,500 students donated 3,000 meals raising $7,500.

Information: 617-353-4710

Project Hope

Project Hope seeks to show compassion, gain understanding, and educate others about HIV/AIDS. BU volunteers work with organizations such as the AIDS Action Committee, the Boston Living Center, Community Servings, and many others. In 2008, 150 volunteers completed 2,698 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710,

Siblings Program Volunteers

are paired one-on-one in a mentoring relationship with students from the Garfield and Winship Schools in Brighton. The Boston University volunteers act as role models, provide companionship, and share cultural, recreational, and educational experiences with the children. In 2008, 147 volunteers completed 7,644 hours of service.

Information: 617-353-4710,

Student Food Rescue (SFR)

Volunteers salvage and transport more than 3,500 pounds of surplus food weekly to area food programs. The food is donated by local restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries, and dining halls and is provided to area meal programs, food pantries, and shelters. In June 2005, SFR was named the “most successful student-run food salvage program in the nation” by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. In 2008, 195 volunteers completed 4,974 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710,

12-Step Groups

Throughout the year, Boston University’s Marsh Chapel provides space and support for these self-help groups. Several Alcoholics Anonymous groups hold weekly meetings at the Chapel throughout the year.

Information: 617-353-3560

United Way

In addition to serving on advisory boards and volunteering with many United Way agencies, the employees of Boston University generously support the United Way of Massachusetts Bay. In the 2008 campaign, faculty and staff contributed more than $176,000 to the United Way. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-358-UWAY

Voices from the Middle (VFM)

Voices from the Middle is a collaborative theatre project between the Boston University Community Service Center and Donald McKay Elementary School in East Boston. During this yearlong program, volunteers guide a middle-school class through the process of producing, writing, and performing a topical play that is relevant to the challenges America’s young people face. Participants are exposed to the performing arts, filling the void left by dwindling theatre programs in the public school system, and, ultimately, empowering the social consciousness of urban youth through the art of self-expression. In 2008, 11 volunteers completed 501 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710,


Boston University volunteers introduce the wonders of science to elementary school children with a different hands-on experience each week. Through applied science, volunteers provide an often-missed link between the classroom and the real world. In 2008, 81 volunteers completed 2,106 hours of service. Visit our current website at

Information: 617-353-4710,