Fifty new stu­dents kicked off their North­eastern Uni­ver­sity careers ear­lier this month by embarking on a host of com­mu­nity ser­vice activ­i­ties through nuSERVES. The University’s annual pro­gram engages freshman and transfer stu­dents in ser­vice projects that allow them to explore Boston’s neigh­bor­hoods, meet class­mates and build new friend­ships and develop a strength­ened sense of com­mu­nity engagement.

Stu­dents apply to the pro­gram, and arrive on campus a week early. They par­tic­i­pate in work­shops that intro­duce them to a range of com­mu­nity issues, such as edu­ca­tion, poverty, edu­ca­tion, afford­able housing and the envi­ron­ment. Par­tic­i­pants also take walking tours to develop a strong under­standing of the cul­ture and his­to­ries of Boston’s diverse neigh­bor­hoods. Click here to see a video about this year’snuSERVES program.

Now in its third year, the program’s theme was “Con­necting with our Com­mu­nity” and focused on Northeastern’s four Stony Brook neigh­bor­hoods: Mis­sion Hill, the Fenway, Rox­bury, and the South End. Stu­dents col­lec­tively com­pleted more than 1,000 hours of ser­vice at seven com­mu­nity organizations.

At the Yawkey Club of Rox­bury, stu­dents repainted two activity rooms, bright­ening the walls of a com­mu­nity pillar where the Boys & Girls Club of Boston loca­tion is cel­e­brating its 100th year of ser­vice. Freshman Esther Henebeng called nuSERVES an eye-​​opening expe­ri­ence for her to see Boston for the first time.

I was involved in com­mu­nity ser­vice in high school, and I just like giving back. Com­mu­nity ser­vice opens up a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties to meet new people and learn new things,” said Henebeng, of East Prov­i­dence, R.I.

The nuSERVES pro­gram at the Yawkey Club builds on a unique pilot ini­tia­tive launched last year enabling North­eastern to place a full-​​time Mass­a­chu­setts Promise Fellow, stu­dent vol­un­teers and service-​​learning stu­dents into the club on a weekly basis.

At the Mis­sion Hill School, a bustling group of stu­dents were swirling through the hall­ways to help teachers and staff pre­pare for the new school year. They set up the art room and built frames for stu­dent art­work, cleaned class­rooms, and­logged stu­dent grade infor­ma­tion into school computers.

Prin­cipal Ayla Gavins said the nuSERVES stu­dent vol­un­teers played a key role by lending a hand to edu­ca­tors. “They are really coming ready to be engaged, and ready to do what­ever they can do to be helpful,” she said. “Ser­vice is what they are about.”

On the scorching Thursday after­noon, freshmen Lilly Stairs and Meredith Car­ling rolled up their sleeves and worked together to reor­ga­nize and expand the school’s library. They both expressed excite­ment about get­ting to campus early and con­tributing in the com­mu­nity. Back on campus, Stairs said she’s inter­ested in pur­suing a com­mu­ni­ca­tions studies degree, while Car­ling will study health sci­ences with the goal of becoming a doctor.

I’m excited about the co-​​op pro­gram and other oppor­tu­ni­ties that North­eastern and Boston have to offer,” Stairs said.