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 Balfour, 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.

Why was nuSERVES replaced?

The Center of Community Service has loved running the nuSERVES program, but has also been thinking over the last several years about ways to harness the energy and passion of nuSERVES participants for longer periods of time. In addition, another Center of Community Service program requiring students to commit to year-long partnerships was reduced, leaving many our long-standing community partners with gaps in their volunteer support. Thus, NU|ACES was born.

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

Here is a sample schedule. Please note activities and details subject to change.


  • 12:00-5:00 pm Move in!


  • 12:00-1:00 pm Check in
  • 1:00-2:00 pm Welcome Lunch
  • 2:00-3:00 pm Introduction to NU|ACES
  • 3:00- 5:30 pm Meet your team members and team leaders
  • 6:00-8:00 pm Opening Dinner
  • 8:30 pm Teambuilding activities


  • 7:30-8:30 am Breakfast in Dining Hall
  • 9:00-10:00 am Community Asset Mapping
  • 10:00 am-12:00 pm Community Tours
  • 12:00-1:00 pm BBQ lunch on Centennial Common
  • 1:00-4:00 pm Service Project #1
  • 4:00-5:00 pm Travel to NU
  • 5:00-6:00 pm Dinner in Dining Hall
  • 6:00-8:00 pm Networking Night
  • 8:30-9:00 pm Reflections with your team


  • 7:30-8:30 am Breakfast in Dining Hall
  • 9:00 am-12:00 pm Service Project #2
  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch on Site/Travel
  • 1:00 -4:00 pm Service Project #3
  • 4:00-5:00 pm Travel to NU/Reflection with Team
  • 5:00-6:30 pm Dinner & Community Engagement Panel
  • 6:30-8:30 pm Nightlife in the City
  • 8:30-9:00 pm Reflections with your team


  • 7:30-8:30 am Breakfast in Dining Hall
  • 9:00 am-12:00 pm Service Project #4
  • 12:00-1:00 pm Lunch on Site/Travel
  • 1:00 -4:00 pm Service Project #5
  • 4:00-5:00 pm Travel to NU
  • 5:00-6:00 pm Dinner in Dining Hall
  • 6:00-8:00 pm Faces of Homelessness Panel
  • 8:30-9:00 pm Reflections with your team


  • 7:30-8:30 am Breakfast in Dining Hall
  • 9:00 am-12:00 pm Service Project #6
  • 12:00-1:00 pm Travel and Lunch in Dining Hall
  • 1:00-4:00 pm EMK Institute- Senate Immersion Module
  • 4:00-6:00 pm Free Time
  • 6:00-8:00 pm Closing Ceremony

What is the program fee?

The program fee is $300 per person. 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 participate in Welcome Week every year?

The Welcome Week is designed for students new to college and new to Boston. 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, August 31st 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?

Not this year. We require students participate for the full academic year, so students participating in NUin Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 are not eligible. However, we are determining ways for upper-class students to join NU|ACES after their first year, and will have more information on this shortly.

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 is being 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 2018-19, there will be approximately 100 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 2-4 hours,with some students opting to serve with a community partner that requires more hours.

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 will be several leadership roles available in 2018-19.


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

Likely, yes. Since we just finished the inaugural year, 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 2018-2019 NU|ACES program is now closed. Please check back in summer 2019 for more information.

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.