The Public Service Center (PSC) offers MIT students multiple ways to assist communities beyond MIT while expanding their own education and life experiences. The guidance, resources, and support offered by the PSC help students to identify public service options that suit their passions and abilities.
The PSC helps students gain hands-on experiences that serve communities and the students themselves in life-transforming ways. Through fellowships, internships, and grants, the IDEAS Global Challenge, programs such as Four Weeks for America and the Freshmen Urban Program (FUP), community service work-study positions, and advising resources, students have the opportunity to engage in a variety of opportunities.
Fellowships, Value-Added Internships, and Grants. In locations as near as Boston or as far as Bangladesh, there are many opportunities to work on community issues, whether it is designing community spaces for domestic violence survivors in Boston, scrutinizing labor practices in the electronics industry in Mexico, or developing a business plan for villagers to produce and sell silk garments in Thailand. Students can work individually or as part of a team on projects during IAP, summer, and the academic year.
The MIT IDEAS Global Challenge. Students form teams to work with a community partner to design and implement innovative projects that improve the quality of life in communities around the world. Since 2001, the IDEAS Global Challenge has awarded over $500,000 to 100 student-led teams to make their ideas a reality. As a result of implementation funds awarded to teams, communities around the world have directly benefited from these innovations.
Programs, Planning, and Volunteering. Through local outreach programs, MIT students can work with a K–12 science classroom, serve as a mentor to adolescents in math and science, or teach a child to read. FUP, Giving Tree, and ReachOut are among the programs led by students under the direction of the PSC. In the Four Weeks for America program, students work with Teach for America teachers during the Independent Activities Period to help them develop innovative ways to teach science and math and increase classroom learning. PSC staff advise students about volunteer opportunities, service group management, grants and proposal writing, and other areas that help MIT students and groups to participate in community service.
Community Service Work-Study. Students who qualify for Federal Work-Study are able to add to their work experience while assisting nonprofit organizations with the problems they face.
The innovative and engaging outreach activities available through the student groups, residence-based activities, departments, and programs at MIT are too numerous to name. A sampling of groups can be found online through the MIT Outreach Database, http://web.mit.edu/outreach/. The PSC website, http://web.mit.edu/mitpsc/, is a useful resource for finding out more about the varied and exciting ways to participate in public service at MIT. For further information, contact the PSC at 617-253-0742 or firstname.lastname@example.org.