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Student Union asks for one hour from everyone

Community service plan to mark Brown’s inauguration

To celebrate Robert Brown’s formal inauguration as president of Boston University, the members of the Student Union decided to give him an unusual gift: the service of the student community.

From now until Brown’s inauguration on April 27, the Student Union is asking each undergraduate to perform one hour of community service as a gift to the new president.

“We thought of a lot of tangible things, but then we thought those would probably sit on his desk,” says Jon Marker (CAS’07), the president of the Student Union. “The end result of this will be to compile a book where people can write a little bit about what they did and include pictures, and we will present it to President Brown at his inauguration.” If each student participates, BU will log 17,000 hours of service. “But we’re pretty confident we can give much more than that,” Marker says.

The Student Union is working on the project with the Community Service Center and the student activities group Help Now and has established a team of coordinators to research volunteer opportunities around Boston. A Web site offering a list of service options and a place for students to log their hours will be launched this week.

Participants are also encouraged to take photos and write a short description of their experience for the Web site so that the finished product will fully document the work performed.

Other events planned for Brown’s inauguration gift include a University-wide day of service, to be held March 25, and a BU Central event in April where students can register the volunteer work they have already performed.

Ensuring that participants record the service is likely to be a challenge, Marker says, but it’s a key component of the project — and a fitting tribute to Brown, who has spent the early months of his presidency encouraging students, faculty, and alumni to “take BU public.”

“He’s always talking about BU’s place in our community,” says Marker, “and telling our University’s story.”