Life on Albany Street Committee
The mission of the Life on Albany Committee is to discuss and develop initiatives across Boston University’s Medical Campus that address the issues of homelessness, substance abuse disorders, and mental illness on Albany Street as is our responsibility both as a neighbor and a public health institution. Our goal is to build awareness within BU, to break down stigma, and increase understanding of the public health situation in our community and take innovative action to improve it. Committee meetings to discuss these issues and upcoming events are held monthly. In addition to these committee meetings, our members also attend gatherings of the South End Community Working Group.
The Student Life on Albany Committee (SLAC) is a platform where student representatives from the four schools on the Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) collectively introduce the campus to the challenges as well as resources related to substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness, in and around Albany Street. SLAC works in conjunction with and has been instituted by SPH’s Life on Albany Committee. Interested in joining the Student Life on Albany Committee (SLAC)? Email Harsimar Brar for more information.
Life on Albany Gallery
This ongoing photographic project seeks to challenge the stigmatizing narrative about the area unfortunately characterized as “Methadone Mile,” by showing the faces of people experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental illness down the street from SPH.
Liam P. Hunt, the Activist Lab’s educational technologist, is the photographer behind the series. While his previous 14 portraits were taken in rapid succession out on Albany Street, for the new series Hunt and Harold Cox, director of the Activist Lab and associate dean for public health practice, took photos of three volunteer portrait subjects in a nearby photography studio while spending hours talking with them about their experiences and aspirations.
Water Squad was created for two important reasons: First, because it’s hot! Most of us know just how brutal the summer can be in Boston, and hydration is important for everybody. So there was a real, tangible need that we could fill. And secondly, because it’s critical for our school community to connect and engage with our neighbors on Albany Street. From the feedback we have received from our volunteers, it’s obvious how powerful participating in Water Squad can be in educating individuals about the challenges of those struggling with homelessness, substance abuse disorders, and mental health issues while also challenging potential bias and stigma around those issues. The success of the program led to the creation of the Life on Albany Committee, which is examining issues on Albany Street through the lens of service, education, and policy analysis.
New students, people who hadn’t started classes yet and were completely new to campus, participated in Water Squad last summer with enthusiasm and passion. For many, they had seen their classmates in their red Activist Lab t-shirts interacting with their neighborhood either on the street or via social media. They joined without hesitation, showing that our volunteers are setting the expectations of what it means to be part of Boston University, defining a culture of action and inclusion.
Overdose Prevention and Bystander Training
Whether you know a person who uses opioids, works or live somewhere where you may see an overdose, or if you just want to become more informed about overdose prevention, this free, online course is for you.
This course, created by Helen McDermott, Program Manager for Overdose Prevention, provides information about the opioid epidemic and how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. It includes practical, step-by-step guidance for performing rescue breathing and administering Narcan (naloxone).