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A Call to Serve

BU Inaugural Global Day of Service arrives in April

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Community service is a fixture of BU’s Alumni Weekend. Photo by Jessica Sharp

In more than 50 sites around the world, BU alums will get down to work on Saturday, April 17, cleaning parks, cooking in soup kitchens, or helping plan road races. The aptly named Global Day of Service, organized by the BU Alumni Association and the BU Community Service Center,is open to everyone connected in any way to Boston University. 

“The Day of Service is going to engage alumni and so many others — parents, students, faculty, and staff — in service projects that are meaningful and rewarding,” says Meg Umlas, executive director of alumni relations.

There will be at least 50 sites in the United States and abroad, including Madrid, London, Shanghai, Brussels, Sydney, and São Paolo. Service can be as simple as cleaning up a neighborhood park or helping out in a local road race, Umlas says, but it can also be focused on graduates’ area of expertise.

“Many alumni boards are interested in serving areas that reflect their constituency,” she says. “For example, School of Hospitality Administration alumni have expressed interest in working in soup kitchens. School of Medicine students are considering providing free care. There are School of Law alumni interested in doing pro bono work.”

If volunteers aren’t available on that Saturday, the Alumni Association is encouraging service in the days before and after April 17, says Kelly Cunningham, director of alumni communications and new media. “We want to make this opportunity available to everyone; to constrain it to only one day would exclude service, although we are pushing April 17 as the unifying day.”

She adds that those who can’t find a BU site near them can get a smaller group together to volunteer. “If you live in Topeka, Kans., and no one else is signed up to serve, you can go on your own to a local site,” Cunningham says. “This is a chance to mobilize our community on behalf of those who really need it.”

Umlas hopes the day of service will benefit participating alumni as well as communities. “We hope they get a opportunity to contribute to a local community and connect with fellow alumni,” she says. “We also hope they feel good about doing something in honor of BU.

“This will be a milestone event and the start of a wonderful new tradition.”

Brittany Rehmer can be reached at bmrehmer@bu.edu.

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