GSSW Links With Boston
Redevelopment Authority

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

The Graduate School of Social Work is building what one faculty member describes as "a new kind of relationship" with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, beginning with a series of meetings at Boston City Hall with city officials and neighborhood representatives on Sept. 21.

In addition, the BRA will offer GSSW students placement opportunities to fulfill their fieldwork requirement and may undertake other joint activities with the school, according to Prof. Demetrius Iatridis (GSSW), who has helped organize the venture.

"We are certainly not strangers to one another, but this represents a new kind of relationship," said Iatridis, chair of GSSW's Community Organization, Planning and Policy Administration concentration. "The possibilities in this collaboration are quite exciting and will benefit the school and the BRA."

The Sept. 21 event, which has been titled "Boston Day," will begin with a welcome to GSSW students and faculty by Mayor Thomas Menino and members of the Boston City Council. BRA Director Thomas O'Brien and other authority officials will then speak on the major issues facing the agency and city, Iatridis said.

In the afternoon, students and faculty will have the chance to meet with community representatives and learn more about Boston's neighborhoods and their challenges.

First and second-year COPPA students will be required to participate in Boston Day, Iatridis said, while other GSSW students will be encouraged to attend.

"Many of our students come from other cities and are largely unfamiliar with Boston," said Iatridis. "This knowledge is vital for COPPA students and their work, so our hope is the event will be a good introduction for them. It will start with an overview of Boston, and then the focus will shift to the neighborhoods."

Iatridis added that these initial contacts would be helpful to COPPA students who do field work through a BRA placement.

The BRA-GSSW partnership could also lead to joint research projects and other initiatives, he said.

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