Input Sought for Community Affairs Data Base

(8-19-97)--The Office of Community Affairs is compiling a new computer data base that will detail Boston College involvement in a broad range of community activities, from soup-kitchen volunteerism to faculty advisement on public policy.

Community Affairs Director Jean McKeigue is asking faculty and staff to help build the store of data by contributing information on any service projects in which they are involved.

McKeigue said the aim is to inform the public about BC efforts in the local community, help BC department members learn what others are doing in specific areas of community work, and provide a clearinghouse of information for those seeking volunteer opportunities.

"We want to inform anyone who's interested in the scope of BC involvement in the community," said McKeigue. "This is a plea for people to let us know what they're doing, so we can quantify what they're doing."

Community Affairs has received 200 responses to a survey it distributed in April seeking to gauge community activity at BC, but hopes to gather more. McKeigue envisions the data bank serving as a large-scale clearinghouse for all manner of information on BC community involvement.

"Someone browsing the data base would be able to type in a key word or phrase - for example, "elderly," or "homeless shelter" - and receive a listing of projects in that area in which BC is involved," she said. "Meantime, if someone in the Law School is doing research on domestic abuse, he or she will be able to call up the various projects in which the Graduate School of Social Work or the School of Nursing are involved."

Such a resource would offer several valuable benefits, McKeigue said. Besides aiding coordination between faculty and staff interested in particular areas of community service, the listings would provide contact names for future ventures.

By allowing the regular reporting of BC activity in Newton and Boston, she said, the data base will help quantify University involvement in the community in terms of hours and estimated monetary contributions.

The data bank also will provide an ongoing account of innovative ventures in "outreach scholarship" by the Center for Child, Family and Community Partnerships and the Center for Corporate Community Relations, McKeigue said.

Input from staff and faculty on community service programs in which they are currently involved "will greatly help us achieve these goals," said McKeigue. For information about the survey, or to offer information on a community service project, contact the Office of Community Affairs at ext. 2-4787.

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