Northeastern University: Center of Community Services


What does ACES stand for?

NU|ACES stands for the Northeastern University Alliance of Civically Engaged Students. Launched in the fall of 2017, ACES is a program run by Northeastern’s Center of Community Service (CCS) and seeks to train, empower and support civic and community minded students during their time at Northeastern. ACES Welcome Week replaced the weeklong nuSERVES program and then asks students to commit to civic engagement during the entire first academic year (Sept-May).

What does the program entail?

NU|ACES participants will begin by attending ACES Welcome Week. This welcome week, typically the week before fall semester classes begins, is an intensive team-based program that introduces participants to the Boston and campus communities through community service, tours, learning and fun. The Welcome Week also prepares students to make a larger commitment to the community for the full academic year. Many local community organization and nonprofits seek regular volunteers they can count on, and ACES participants are the right people to fill the need. Students will complete regular service with one community partner throughout the course of the year, building a relationship with this organization and gaining a deeper understanding of their community. The ACES program also seeks to build community within the student participants through offering placement support, group social and service events, professional development opportunities and rewards and recognition.

I have a full-tuition scholarship, am I required to participate in ACES?

Students who have Boston Housing Authority, Boston Public High School, Northeastern Neighborhood, Northeastern Valedictorian, and Torch Scholarships and are entering Northeastern University Fall 2017 and later are required to participate in the NU|ACES year-long program. These scholarships are not required to participate in ACES Welcome Week, but may choose to do so.

ACES staff will be reaching out to you with more information.

Tell me more about the NU|ACES Welcome Week. What do the days look like?

Click here for a sample schedule. Please note activities and details subject to change.

What is the program fee?

The program fee is $300 per person and specifically covers the costs during Welcome Week. There are no additional fees beyond that one-time fee. Payment information will be made available to those accepted into the program.

What does the program fee cover?

The program fee covers the food, activities and events of the Welcome Week. There will be no other fees for participating in the program throughout the year.

Will I move into my year-long on-campus housing for Welcome Week?

Yes, we work with Northeastern University Housing & Residential Life to ensure that students are able to move into their permanent residence halls before Welcome Week starts. Additionally, students who participate in ACES Welcome Week have their early move-in fee waived.

Will I participate in Welcome Week every year?

The Welcome Week is designed for students new to Northeastern. Upper-class students may choose to apply for a student leadership role for Welcome Week.

I am in the Honors program. Can I still participate?

Yes! Honors Welcome Week begins Friday in the early afternoon. The NU|ACES team is working closely with the Honors team to ensure that students can balance getting to know these two important communities. It is likely Honors students who are accepted to ACES may miss a part of the Friday Welcome Week programming, but will definitely be able to attend the NU|ACES Welcome Week Closing Ceremony on Friday night.

I am in the NUin Program. Can I still participate?

Yes! For the first time, we are piloting a Winter Welcome Week for specifically for students to join ACES for the Spring 2020 semester. Click here to learn more.

Where will I volunteer during the year?

The NU|ACES staff in the Center of Community Service will work with students to find the right year-long partnership. Many of the year-long community partners will host Welcome Week teams so students will get to try them out. The NU|ACES team has developed a wide range of service options to fit all interests. Established community partner service activities include: tutoring & mentoring youth, supporting college readiness programming, visiting with the elderly, preparing and serving meals with food service organizations, maintaining local parks, patient interaction at a local hospital and more.

Do I get a preference to where I would like to volunteer?

Absolutely! Our goal is to match each ACES student with a community partnership they are interested in. That being said, the options are limited to organizations that have agreed to work with the ACES program and provide support to students. The philosophy of the Center of Community Service is that Northeastern students, staff and faculty create partnerships where we have been invited and where there is a need identified by the community. Therefore, students will be choosing from a list of predetermined partners. There is a wide-variety of partnership options and we believe there is something for everyone!

Can I participate in NU|ACES as an upper-class student?

Yes! Since 2017-18 was the inaugural year, we are still figuring out how upper-class students can engage in NU|ACES. Check back soon for more information.

Will I be able to stop participating in the program if I decide it’s not a good fit?

If needed, yes. This is an optional program. However, we ask students to consider this commitment very carefully. A large number of community partners are seeking year-long volunteers, and this program was created to respond to this community need. The ACES staff is available to support students through the commitment and make it manageable, valuable and fun. We strongly encourage students to think carefully before applying. If a concern arises during the academic year, we encourage students to talk to the ACES staff and see what options and support are available before deciding to stop participating.

Is there any scholarship or financial benefits to the program?

No, while there are many benefits to joining the program there are currently no scholarships available for participants. We are hoping to offer a discount on an alternative break service trip with the program, but this will be budget dependent.

How many students are enrolled in the program?

In 2019-20, there will be approximately 110 first-year students in the NU|ACES first-year program. There will also be upper-class students returning to participate in the program, as well as serving in leadership roles for both the Welcome Week and the year-long program.

What are the benefits of joining NU|ACES?

There are many benefits. We are committed to creating community for like-minded students dedicated to social change. To that end, we will offer a number of benefits to participants, including but not limited to:

  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Resume workshops & networking events
  • Free meals
  • Free or low-cost group events and trips throughout the greater Boston area
  • Opportunities to learn and explore Boston’s history and current social issues
  • Full or partial scholarships for an alternative break service trip

What is the weekly hour commitment?

The Welcome Week commitment is a full intensive week. The program runs from 8am-9pm most days. During the academic year, the weekly hours commitment averages 4-6 hours per week, with some students opting to serve with a community partner that requires more hours. The 4-6 hours per week includes weekly service at a community partner organization, and bi-monthly ACES club meetings on Sunday evenings.

What are the Sunday Club Meetings all about?

NU|ACES is first and foremost an alliance. Therefore, we hold ACES Club meetings roughly every other Sunday afternoon/early evening to come together to build our alliance. This involves learning more about Boston’s history, current Boston events, and different ways to be civically engaged. This is also a time to get to know other ACES members and participate in service and social events together. Meeting attendance and participation is expected as part of the ACES commitment.

Are there leadership opportunities within the program?

Yes! One of the goals of the program is to develop student leaders so we will have numerous opportunities for students to learn and practice leadership skills. There are several leadership roles available for upperclass ACES students.

If I do not decide to apply as a first-year, can I opt into the program another year?

Likely, yes. We are still working out the details on this.  We hope to offer it to more students in future years.

How do I apply?

The applications for the 2019-2020 NU|ACES will be open June 5 – July 24, 2019. Please click here for more information. All eligible incoming first-years will receive an email once the application is open.

This program does not seem like the right fit to me, but I like to volunteer. Are there other ways I can get involved?

Absolutely! The Center of Community Service, in addition to managing NU|ACES, runs a wide variety of programs that are open to all students. Learn more about our programs by checking out the ‘Programs’ tab on the website.