Last week more than 40 freshman-​​year and transfer stu­dents vol­un­teered in their new com­mu­nity through the Center of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice’s nuSERVES pro­gram. Cre­ated in 2008, the pro­gram teaches stu­dents about issues affecting urban envi­ron­ments through the inte­gra­tion of ser­vice projects, edu­ca­tional work­shops, training, and reflec­tion. This year’s theme, “Ser­vice in the City,” gave stu­dents the chance to iden­tify their inter­ests, strengths, and skills through a variety of ser­vice oppor­tu­ni­ties at more than a dozen sites throughout the neighborhood.

The goal is to pro­vide the stu­dents with a range of expe­ri­ences and com­mu­nity ser­vice oppor­tu­ni­ties so that they can find what inter­ests them,” explained nuSERVES Coor­di­nator Sydney Palinkas, a senior human ser­vices major.

Some stu­dents vol­un­teered at the Boston Public Health Com­mis­sion or the Susan Bailis Assisted Living Com­mu­nity. Others vol­un­teered at the Morville House, a sub­si­dized home for low-​​income elders, or Room to Grow, a non­profit ded­i­cated to enriching the lives of babies born into poverty. As part of an on-​​campus ser­vice project, stu­dents made slip-​​proof socks to donate to the Kiwanas Pedi­atric Trauma Institute—a charity sup­ported by the Circle K, a col­le­giate ser­vice organization.

Transfer stu­dent Malik Holland-​​Fofana cleaned up Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. “The project seemed rig­orous when we first started, but we had a common goal as a cohort group to work together and get the job done,” said Holland-​​Fofana, a second-​​year crim­inal jus­tice major. “I live right down the street, and it felt good that I could do my part to help my community.”

Holland-​​Fofana is a Bal­four scholar and mentor at the Paul Robeson Insti­tute for Pos­i­tive Self-​​Development, a pro­gram for young African-​​American males. He was hon­ored to par­tic­i­pate in the nuSERVES pro­gram, he said, and con­siders it a great oppor­tu­nity to help his community.

North­eastern is like a second home to me. I have been on campus since day care, have grown here, and have tran­si­tioned from a pup to a husky,” said Holland-​​Fofana. “My pur­pose is to serve my home­town, the com­mu­nity of Boston, and North­eastern in the most humble way pos­sible. I strongly believe that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,’ and by par­tic­i­pating in nuSERVES I was able to ful­fill my purpose.”

First-​​year psy­chology major Jes­sica Goodman con­tinued her long­standing tra­di­tion of vol­un­teering in the com­mu­nity by par­tic­i­pating in the pro­gram. As a stu­dent at the North­field Mount Hermon School in Gill, Mass., she led the local Big Brothers Big Sis­ters program.

nuSERVES is a great oppor­tu­nity for freshmen looking to get involved,” said Goodman. “I made friends through the pro­gram who are pas­sionate about the same things that I am, and we’re plan­ning to do other ser­vice projects together throughout the year.”