A Proposal to Establish a Center for Community Service and Education at Northeastern University

As the President's Summit for America's Future has focused attention upon the potential of volunteerism to turn the tide for America's youth, many are looking to higher education to assume a larger role in supporting the needs of the community and reflecting those needs in the design of its educational programs. No universal set of guidelines exist that suggest in what way, and to what extent, colleges and universities should become more involved with their surrounding communities. Many factors, including locations and financial resources, determine how far down this road academic institutions are willing to travel.

Northeastern University, a pioneer and world leader in cooperative education is among those institutions with a history of aggressively pursuing community involvement. In fact, its practice-based, urban service mission distinguishes Northeastern from many other colleges and universities located in the Boston area, particularly from those which also put a high premium upon research. Faculty, staff, and students can be found in public schools, community-based organizations, social service delivery agencies, and neighborhood health centers all over the city of Boston. Through the creation of a Center for Community Service, Northeastern University can take this commitment to the next level and become a national model of education that will increase the capacity of practitioners, scholars, students, organizations, and institutions to address critical community needs.