Archives and Special Collections
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Table of Contents

Collection Overview

Historical Note


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Title: Office of Educational Opportunity Programs and Service-Learning records
Dates: 1984-2002
Call Number:A52

Historical Note

The Office of Educational Opportunity Programs and Service Learning (OEOP/SL) at Northeastern University (NU) was established in the 1993-94 academic year. Holly M. Carter (HMC), whose career at NU began in 1973, became dean of the OEOP/SL. The office was created to strengthen NU's reputation as a friend to the city of Boston and to fulfill its obligation to serve the neighboring communities of which it is an integral part. In the early 1990s, the idea of community service learning as experiential education incorporated into the curriculum was new. NU embarked upon a concerted effort to increase opportunities for community service learning for its students. The OEOP/SL was charged with: 1) coordinating University-wide community service-learning initiatives; 2) serving as a clearinghouse for internal and external community service-learning resources and information; 3) developing initiatives in community service-learning; and 4) assisting students, faculty, and staff in developing and implementing community service-learning initiatives. A main focus of OEOP/SL was to promote and integrate community service learning in individual courses and throughout the curricula.

The OEOP/SL coordinated and served as a clearinghouse for community service-learning programs and activities performed by the Fenway Project; the Center for Community Health Education, Research, and Service; the Center for the Study of Sport in Society; the Tobin Scholars Program; City Year; America Reads; and Our Elders Our Roots, among others. The OEOP/SL was also the clearinghouse for three volunteer programs that aided community seniors: the Fenway Project Seniors Program, Our Elders Our Roots (OEOR), and Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (SHINE). The OEOP/SL was discontinued in 2001. HMC also headed the International Education office at NU, and integrated service learning into its programs as well.

Major Projects - Youth Programs:

America Reads and Partners in Reading

America Reads, started by President Clinton in 1996 with a goal for every American student to be able to read well and independently by the end of third grade, and Partners in Reading offered local school children assistance in reading at several sites. The NU student tutors either volunteered or were part of the work-study program, providing individual or small group support to the young readers.

Northeastern University Partners in After School Scholastics (NU PASS)

NU PASS offered children from Roxbury assistance in schoolwork and structured times for completing homework and playing. Both NU PASS and America Reads worked to strengthen the youngsters' reading skills. The programs were usually available every school day and sometimes on Saturdays.

Balfour Academy

Balfour Academy was created to help Boston adolescents obtain the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in college. Dr. Joseph Warren established Balfour Academy at Northeastern University in 1983. It provided a summer program of enrichment courses and academic-year tutoring to supplement students' regular classes.

Center for Community Health, Education, Research, and Service (CCHERS)

One of the programs funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the CCHERS partnership brought NU and Boston University together with Boston Medical Center, Boston's Commission on Public Health, and 12 neighborhood health centers and their communities. CCHERS educated primary care providers to address Boston's health needs through curriculum changes in nursing and medical schools, expansion of services in neighborhoods, and research in health issues unique to urban life.

City Year

City Year was designed as a model national service program, bringing together young people aged 17-23 from diverse backgrounds for a rigorous year of full-time community service. In 1988, NU and City Year, a Boston-based urban peace corps, established a relationship to provide scholarships for qualified students in the program. In 1993, City Year and NU established a partnership that commenced under the auspices of the Summer of Service Grant Program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. As part of the support NU provided City Year, $2,500 scholarships matching those offered by City Year were made available to City Year corps members who elected to attend NU. City Year and NU worked to make a difference in the lives of the urban poor and disadvantaged while providing a context for both service and learning to young people.

The Fenway Project

The Fenway Project, begun in 1974, was a student-run, non-profit organization that was initially managed by faculty in Northeastern's Department of Education and later fell under the administrative oversight of the OEOP/SL. The mission of the Fenway Project was to promote volunteerism by engaging students in thoughtful and meaningful community service activities, to enhance the relations between NU and its surrounding neighborhoods, and to provide NU students and student organizations with a multitude of opportunities to do community service. In 1998, the Fenway Project evolved into the Center for Community Service.

The Fenway Project is comprised of four components: the senior program, which provides weekly trips for seniors and dinners at NU several times a year; the developmentally delayed programs, through which student groups sponsor and host meals and dances for developmentally delayed individuals; the After School Program, which runs four afternoons a week at NU and gives young students from Mission Hill a time and place to do homework and interact with NU student counselors; and the volunteer referral center on the NU campus.

Tobin Scholars Program

In 1991, NU adopted the first of three sixth grade classes at Maurice J. Tobin Elementary School in Mission Hill. The students in these classes were promised a full tuition scholarship if, after completing high school or receiving a GED, they applied and were accepted into any of NU's programs.

Major Programs - Elderly Programs:

Fenway Project Seniors Program

The Seniors Program, administered through the Fenway Project, organized and arranged weekly trips as well as several dinners a year at NU. The program had student coordinators who arranged the itineraries and transportation for the events.

Our Elders Our Roots (OEOR)

In November 1995 NU applied for a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education to help fund Our Elders Our Roots (OEOR), a project in collaboration with the Tobin Scholars. OEOR was designed by Temple University's Center for Intergenerational Learning in Philadelphia. The program matched college students with elders to foster cross-age understanding. It was suggested that these middle and high school students, with their college mentors, would work together with elders to develop an elder resource directory and newsletter and produce oral histories. OEOR's projects included recording and compiling oral histories, developing English skills, translating, developing elders' computer literacy, and preparing elders for citizenship. In addition to being a work-study opportunity, students were able to take a tuition-free, four credit course called "Learning in Action Through Community Service."

Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (SHINE)

SHINE was a service-learning project originally co-sponsored by Temple University and the Corporation for National Service, Learn and Serve America Higher Education. SHINE was based on Temple's OEOR program and was expanded to assist elders with the naturalization process. The program matched predominantly bilingual NU students with non-native Boston elders to provide training, access, and support for elders who needed to attain citizenship. The program provided an opportunity to build and promote intergenerational relationships.

Feldscher, Karen. Northeastern University 1989-1996 : The Curry Years: Smaller but Better. Boston: Northeastern University, 2000.