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The Citizen

Ask Not What HKS Can Do for You

Public Serve Challenge 2014

The Student Public Service Collaborative is challenging HKS to complete 2,014 hours of community service before May – that means two hours for every member of the community! To help HKS reach this goal, please log your hours at SPSC will recognize the winning cohort with a party.

photo 10 photo 5 photo 3 2014-02-28_10-28-42_782By Emily Jones and Ku Ka Tsai, Student Public Service Collaborative

Thank you to the many students, staff, and faculty who graciously donated their time and effort at various organizations throughout the greater Boston area during HKS Serves Day on Friday, February 28th. Although our official Public Service Week is over, we’d like to give you five reasons to start or continue volunteering this spring. We promise you won’t regret it!

1) You’ll finally be able to answer that pesky “ask what you can do” question. We know that HKS students are busy changing the world far and wide – in very real ways. It’s exciting (and time-consuming) to work on that high-level project for the Togolese government. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to take a break from all that and engage in something tangible a little closer to home. Whether you are feeling fired up or burned out, volunteering locally helps put into perspective the importance of doing what you can wherever you are, be it in South Sudan or Somerville.

2) It is a great way to expand your social circle. Life at HKS is rigorous, and that’s why finding time to volunteer may be difficult. However, getting outside the HKS bubble and meeting local Boston folk can deepen your social circle and network.

3) It will change you. Volunteerism helps clarify your interests (anyone else experiencing the overwhelmed-by-my-summer/job-options syndrome?) and develop your professional skill set. At the same time, volunteering allows you to experience life through another person’s eyes, deepening your empathy humility, and wisdom. That’s a pretty good deal for something that costs nothing but your time!

4) It is fun. Not in the trivial sense – it’s always going to be much more than simply ‘fun’. But if it weren’t fun, you probably wouldn’t be able to sustain it. And that’s the great thing about volunteering for a project you love – as you make friends, and as you come to understand the change you’re part of, the momentum sustains itself. It is these small but important efforts that may finally change the world.

5) You WILL make a difference. Whether you are tutoring a Cambridge high school student in algebra or volunteering overnight at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, you will be helping local community members address real needs and problems using your skills, knowledge, and passion. Want to apply your mad PAE research skills and adaptive leadership techniques you’ve learned in class to real-world situations? Numerous local nonprofits are looking for your skillset. SPSC can help match your skills and interests with relevant agencies in need.

For more info, check out And Happy Volunteering!