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How to Make Your Public-Service Project More Successful!

Co-sponsor: Sally Susnowitz, Director, MIT Public Service Center

Class Description

What did you do last summer? What did you learn?

Sumita and Aline worked at a community health clinic in Peru, visiting elderly patients in impoverished neighborhoods. Jerry went to Honduras, where he installed equipment in a river to see if the US-owned mine nearby was poisoning it. Susan joined an AIDS-education project in Belize, working with kids & HIV+ patients. Ashley & Kay spent 8 weeks in Arizona supporting Navajo elders in their fight to preserve a sustainable way of life in the face of pressure from corporations & the government.

All these MIT students wanted to do public service, & their efforts were funded by MIT, but will their projects actually have lasting benefits for the communities they intended to serve?

Students combining research & public service must achieve both understanding & positive change. We will talk with students, activists, faculty, & funders about how a project can be designed to maximize the chances of success. If you have done public service, or want to, please join us!

Our guest-list includes Prof. Jean Jackson (MIT Anthropology); Prof. Jeff Ravel (MIT History); Prof. Chappell Lawson (MIT Political Science); Prof. Tom Cummins (art historian and Director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University); Kasey Davis (Cambridge School Volunteers); Michael Bergren (MIT Eloranta Committee); Prof. Ted Macdonald (Associate Director of the Program on Nonviolent Sanctions and Cultural Survival at Harvard); Paul Parravano (MIT President's Office & MIT Community Service Fund); & you.

Schedule (IAP 2004)

This seminar will meet twice, on Tuesday, January 20 and Tuesday, January 27, from 3 pm to 5 pm, in PDR 1 & 2 on the 3rd floor of the MIT Student Center. We prefer that you attend both sessions, but you are welcome to join us for either one.

To help us make adequate arrangements, please let us know before January 18 if you are planning to attend.