Since a well-attended Community Engagement signup fair in September, the Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP) office has been busy scheduling student volunteers for more than 200 bi-weekly commitments. English language work with adults at Immigrant Family Services and Quincy Community Action Program is happening via Zoom, while student volunteers have been excited to return to classrooms and playground recess games with our partners in the Boston and Milton public elementary schools. Our neighbors at Milton Residences for the Elderly have been happy to reconnect through in-person bingo, crossword puzzles, and trivia games. Last year’s Zoom Cantonese chat group with elders in Randolph has resumed, as have Sunday Special Olympics practices and work at the Urban Farming Institute. 

The student board meets weekly to plan upcoming events, including the annual Hunger Awareness Event in November and holiday gift drive for local children. Those logistical tasks are intertwined with thoughtful discussion to make intentional connections with Milton’s DEIJ work.

Students in the elective Activism for Justice in a Digital World course went on a “Toxic Tour” in Roxbury led by one of CEPP’s long-time partners, Alternatives for the Community and the Environment. Classroom learnings about environmental injustice and racism came to life in hearing about the activism and personal experiences of local residents David Noiles and Stuart Spina. Their passion and knowledge inspired students to believe they can make a difference, beginning with listening. 

Abe Wyett ’22 said during the tour he realized the importance of showing up with “compassion and empathy, both in everyday life and in activism.”  Aimee Heard ’24 said she learned “that activism of any kind is, in many ways, not always pretty to the passerby. Take for example the empty lot where the bus garage once was. That empty lot represents an incredible accomplishment for the community who suffered the effects of 200 idling MBTA diesel buses spewing toxic fumes into the neighborhood.”