In the past four years, the City of Boston and Massachusetts Campus Compact developed a partnership to better utilize college student volunteers within city initiatives. Through the Boston Community Service Collaborative, students, faculty, and staff from seven Boston area colleges meet with city staff to discuss upcoming initiatives and areas for collaboration.
In September, Allison Rogers, Special Assistant of the Office of Human Services in the City of Boston, asked the Collaborative for help with the annual Mayor’s Holiday drive. This holiday drive grew into a large, substantive program over Mayor Menino’s 20 years as mayor. Through this drive, the City of Boston responds to thousands of hand-written requests for help during the holiday season. Supported by corporate and private donations, Boston’s colleges had never assisted with this initiative before. With the first letter of request for assistance arriving in September, Allison knew that this year was going to require additional help to support the Mayor’s holiday program and saw a great opportunity to engage college students to help out.
The colleges on the Boston Community Service Collaborative took action to assist with the high number of holiday requests from Boston residents. 40 college student volunteers from Simmons, Suffolk, Boston University, and Northeastern University volunteered for 350 hours from October to December. These college students read letters, entered requests into a database, and organized/bagged donations. Further, Simmons College utilized the Mayor’s Holiday Drive as a service-learning project for a Management 100 class. Through this class, business students developed a successful marketing campaign for Holiday Drive donations and raised $175 through Simmons faculty.
Overall, the college and city collaboration over the Mayor’s Holiday Drive was a success. Next year, the Boston Community Service Collaborative looks forward to engaging more colleges, faculty, staff, and students in the effort to provide Holiday joy for families in the City of Boston.
For more information about the Boston Community Service Collaborative, please check out: