News Article

PKG Center Year in Review

Students move trees during Alternative Spring Break 2017

July 27, 2016

The fields they worked in are:
  • Agriculture & Food
  • Animal Rights
  • Arts
  • Community Development
  • Education & Training
  • Energy & Environment
  • Finance & Entrepreneurship
  • Health & Medical
  • Infrastructure 
  • Social Justice
  • Water & Sanitation
Read more about each program below.

uring winter break, 25 fellows tackled some of the most pressing issues in the United States and abroad. This summer 32 more will follow in their footsteps. Through their work, they are tackling solar energy, environmental sustainability, air quality monitoring, food security, education, housing and community development, automobiles and transportation, city planning, health and health technology, and urban planning. Collectively they will have worked in five U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and 25 other countries by the end of the summer.

IDEAS Global Challenge
500+ people sat down together at IDEAS Generator Dinners, 64 teams entered the challenge, 46 teams competed in the final round, and 12 teams were awarded $97,500 to launch their projects. The winners will work in nine different countries on diverse projects for social impact including assistive technologies, agricultural technology platforms, sustainability, civic engagement, and more. Throughout the year, we supported the IDEAS teams with mentorships sessions, workshops, proposal reviews, and development grants.
Read about the winning projects on MIT News.

Community Service Work-Study
Over the past academic year, 75 work-study students worked more than 9,000 hours in community service work-study positions. The collective value of that work exceeded $190,000. In comparison, the cost for the community organizations that employed them was just over $44,000. Students staffed a local homeless shelter, tutored local elementary school children in math and literacy, created communication materials for a lead poisoning prevention program, mapped affordable housing in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, and developed recommendations on teaching programming to visually impaired youth. Through a partnership with the Externship program, four students also traveled to Los Angeles in January to design materials for a STEM program with the Foundation.

During the fall and spring semester, 24 MIT student tutors helped children with math and reading at two local community organizations, East End House and Cambridge Community Center. Together, they provided about 700 hours of tutoring.
Read the story about our ReachOut tutors here.
Watch a video about ReachOut.

Four Weeks for America
For four weeks in January, eight students in the FWFA program helped teachers launch STEM initiatives and run classroom activities across the United States. A small cohort of students worked in the Rio Grande Valley, TX, while others were stationed in San Antonio, TX; Queens, NY; and Pactolus, NC. For the first time, we also offered modest grants that enabled students to teach probability, kinetic energy, mechanical engineering, and robotics to middle and high school children.

Freshman Urban Program
25 incoming first-year students joined us last August in the Freshman Urban Program, an engaging, service-focused introduction to MIT and surrounding communities. Led by past participants, students volunteered across Cambridge and Boston at a variety of community organizations and made life-long friendships exploring the MIT campus and the cities of Cambridge and Boston.

MIT Alternative Spring Break
This spring we piloted an ASB program that featured a different public service theme for every day of the week. Students in this group volunteered across Boston and Cambridge at various community organizations and worked on public health, housing and homelessness, food insecurity, youth development, and environmental sustainability. We also collaborated for a second year with the Center for Environmental Transformation in Camden, NJ, and the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House in Cambridge, MA, where students volunteered and joined in educational activities. In all, 22 students dedicated their spring vacation to giving back to communities across the Northeast.
Read the student stories.

LEAP Grants
34 students used their LEAP Grants in the last academic year to work in STEM education, assistive technology, impact investing, global health and health education, leadership, energy, social justice education, and media literacy. LEAP grants help students carry out their own service projects in the United States, including volunteer days, philanthropy events, and hackathons.  

For the 100th anniversary of MIT in Cambridge, we scaled up our spring CityDays event to an Institute-wide day of service under the Together in Service initiative. Over 300 MIT students and staff completed a total of 936 hours of service in Boston, Cambridge, and beyond. Based on Independent Sector's value of a volunteer hour, we had an estimated impact of $22,052 in a single day. To amplify our impact and strengthen our ties with our community, we will be hosting this event again next year.
See the amazing photos from CityDays: MIT2016.  

Through our other CityDays events, 240 students volunteered at various nonprofits in Boston and Cambridge in the last academic year. They learned about the organizations’ missions and the people they help, and supported initiatives ranging from addressing food insecurity to STEM education for girls.

MIT Giving Tree
This winter, the MIT community donated 447 gifts to children who requested them through our local community partners and an additional 491 gifts through the general donation drive. That’s over 900 toys, books, and essential supplies that went to families in need.
See why the MIT community gives back.
Read about the MIT Giving Tree campaign on MIT News.

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