At the semester ends, many students are looking ahead to summer plans, searching for ways to recuperate from the multitude of final projects. Yet, those final weeks were not only filled with papers and projects, but also with meaningful service activities organized by Emerson service clubs. While the semester was winding down, Emerson’s service clubs were still extremely active, continuing their volunteer programs that establish connections between students and the greater Boston community.
This semester, Imagine held several service events and projects. Mariele Ventrice, one of the organization’s presidents, says the group sorted food at the Greater Boston Food Bank, created Valentines for the Boston Living Center, volunteered with Cradles to Crayons and Jumpstart, and served at the Dorchester Winter Farmers’ Market. Ventrice says participation and excitement in Imagine’s activities seem to grow each year with the help of the strong community connections the groups established. Additionally, this year Imagine included more service activities in their meetings, using the time to create their donations, such as the Valentines, or inviting guest speakers from local nonprofits. Imagine concluded the semester with a Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Event in the Beard Room to shed light on a cause the group recently discovered its members are passionate about.
Last semester, Emerson Cares, a subsection of Emerson Mane Events, completed over 50 hours of service with organizations including the American Cancer Society, the Esplanade Association, and the Boston Living Center. This semester the group held a book drive to benefit the Prison Book Program, according to organization chair Mia Buchsbaum. While students have been upbeat and enthusiastic about the volunteer events, Buchsbaum says participation has often fluctuated because of students’ busy schedules. In the future, Emerson Cares hope to continue to work with community partners and hold at least one community service event each semester.
To complement regular programming hosted by Imagine and Emerson Cares, new volunteer opportunities were introduced this semester with the help of Isabel Thottam and Aubrianne LaDuke. The resident assistants created a weekly volunteer program together with the nearby St. Francis House, helping in the clothing room and the kitchen. Thottam thought of the idea while serving individually with the organization. The volunteer coordinator told her how appreciative she is of Emerson students who volunteer there for Claudia Canteñda’s Power and Privilege class, but that she is disappointed about losing them at the end of the semester and how the loss impacts the volunteer program. Thottam says a good amount of students have participated so far, and they hope to expand the program next year. She hopes the program will prompt student interest using their artistic skills to teach classes for St. Francis’ residents and clients.