Why isn’t a million hours enough?

Colin Chiakpo (CAS’19) First-year soccer player Colin Chiakpo was one of dozens of BU student-athletes last year who volunteered by reading to first and second graders whose native language was not English. “I love being able to make a positive impact on people’s lives. I grew up in a community where helping others is constantly encouraged.”

Smashing a major milestone of their own this year, Boston University students wrapped up more than one million hours of community service (1,017,861 hours to be exact!) that they pledged when the campaign launched in September 2012. In FY2016, our undergraduates took part in everything from yearlong initiatives such as the Siblings mentorship program to annual events like the Community Service Center’s Alternative Service Breaks and the BU Athletics Holiday Reading Program. “It is a remarkable contribution, and shows how the campaign has permeated into our student body,” says President Brown.

Kyle Ortman (CAS’16), who started volunteering during his freshman year and then became a program manager with the Community Service Center, says he’s not sure how many hours he’s logged in doing maintenance work at animal shelters, serving food to the homeless, and other activities. But he is sure about how his life has evolved. “It’s definitely shaped who I am today,” he says. “I look at the world a little differently. It teaches you to be more cognizant of people coming from all different walks of life, and more able to see their perspective.”


Take a spin through some of our students’ community service work below:

As part of BU’s Global Days of Service, 1,732 volunteers logged 7,011 hours around the world in April. Projects ranged from caring for homeless dogs in Spain to cleaning up a botanical garden in the Kyrgyz Republic to working at a food bank in Phoenix, Ariz.

BU’s annual First-Year Student Outreach Project (FSYOP), a hugely popular service-based program run by the Community Service Center, saw freshly minted Terriers rolling up their shirt-sleeves at nursing homes, homeless shelters, and community gardens during the week before classes.

Over the summer, female undergraduate and graduate students involved in math, science, and engineering ran their yearly five-week camp for girls, the Artemis Project. The program aims to reduce the gender gap in STEM-related fields.

In September, 14 members of the BU men’s lacrosse team biked from Dorchester, Mass., to Newport, R.I., a total of 101 miles, in a “Bike to the Beach” event to raise money and awareness for Autism Speaks. The team raised $11,770 for the charity, one of the largest-ever fundraising events by a BU team.

BU’s men’s and women’s swimming teams were recognized for their community service efforts and named the first-ever College Swimming Coaches Association of America Community Service Team. The teams contributed 45 hours of time and raised $6,935 in support of survivors of childhood cancer; they also spent more than 122 hours organizing and shipping food at the Greater Boston Food Bank.