On Giving Tuesday 2021, you can support learning that extends well beyond the classroom

“BU 2030,” Boston University’s new strategic plan, comprises five pillars that will guide the University’s growth over the next decade. The first priority is to provide all BU students with a vibrant academic experience. This world-class education extends well beyond the classroom. The University offers a wealth of experiential learning opportunities can be life-changing. Students learn how their academic studies inform real-world problems and add valuable skills to their résumés.

Here are a few of those opportunities:

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

UROP matches students with faculty mentors to research topics in many fields, from accounting to zebrafish genetics. Established in 1997, UROP has helped more than 3,000 students broaden their horizons, develop important networking connections, and launch their careers.

Through UROP, Tabitha Oanda (CAS’22), a computer science major, conducted research using computer vision to annotate animal behavior in the lab of Michael Eonomo, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.

“My UROP experience taught me that some of the most interesting work is done by cross-disciplinary labs. The students in our lab had varying levels of expertise in neuroscience, engineering, and computer science. What drew us together was the main goal: understanding how brain activity affects animal behavior. I was fascinated by the different ways we utilized our skills and interests to answer this question. I was grateful, too, to have the opportunity to discuss career options with my mentor. I wanted to have a better understanding of whether graduate school was something I wanted to pursue. I now have a much broader perspective on the issue.”

BU Study Abroad Program

With some 75 programs in more than 15 countries, BU Study Abroad cultivates the intellectual, professional, and personal qualities necessary for success in an increasingly interconnected world. In FY21, students spent summers or semesters in cities from Dublin to Madrid, from Geneva to Venice. Launched more than a century ago, BU’s is the nation’s first collegiate international exchange program.

In fall 2021, Regina Acosta (Pardee’22) set off for six weeks of study and then a public health internship in Geneva, Switzerland, one of the cities that opened up to Study Abroad as pandemic restrictions eased.

“Geneva is a wonderful place, in the sense that it’s so beautiful. We’re up in the mountains. It’s definitely a place where people are very proud of their culture. It has a lot of great vineyards and amazing lakes, and it’s right next to France, which is just a train ride away. I am thrilled to be here and learning so much. It’s fascinating to see how public health practice and policy in Switzerland, which has a universal healthcare system, differs from that in the United States.”

Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground

At the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, students find and build community through self-exploration and shared events and activities. Dubbed BU’s “campus living room,” the center fosters critical thought, encourages new connections, and provokes conversations on the issues of the day. It draws on the principles of Dr. Thurman (Hon.’67), dean of Marsh Chapel 1953–65, who believed that “meaningful and creative shared experiences between people can be more compelling than all of the faiths, fears, concepts and ideologies that separate them.”

Bradley Noble (CAS’20) turned to the center when he and his friends wanted to start a magazine at BU spotlighting artwork by Terriers of color. There, they got not just support but an assist with funding. Photographic portraits of students from the magazine, Charcoal, are featured in the center’s new 19,000-square-foot home at the heart of the Charles River Campus.

“The fact that the Howard Thurman Center stood behind something like this magazine on campus is one reason it kept pulling me back as a place to hang and attend events. I didn’t get the same feeling in my dorm or in any club or organization.”