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BC in the Community

Santa Claus Comes To Town

From the BC Chronicle

By Kathleen Sullivan

When Boston College Professor of Hispanic Studies Dwayne Carpenter joined the University’s Read Aloud program — which sends BC faculty and staff volunteers to Boston schools to read to students — he brought his trademark enthusiasm and creativity to the task, dressing in costume for his first reading which coincided with Halloween. Last week, Carpenter, who is Jewish, visited the first graders at St. Columbkille Partnership School dressed as Santa Claus.

“It was the highlight of my semester,” said Carpenter, who is co-director of BC’s Jewish Studies program. Carpenter told the students three holiday-related stories. He shared the Italian folk tale of Befana, a housekeeper who encounters the Three Kings while they are searching for the baby Jesus. Another Christmas story was set in El Salvador and featured a young Spanish-speaking child who wanted to write a letter to Santa but did not know any words, just the alphabet. In the third story, Carpenter showed the students a menorah and explained the meaning behind the eight candles of Hanukkah. Carpenter gave each of 31 children in his classroom stickers, candy canes and a dreidel. He then stopped by several other classrooms to visit with students at the school.

Established in 1995, Read Aloud is a joint program between the Boston College Office of Governmental & Community Affairs and Boston Partners in Education. About 60 to 70 employees of Boston College volunteer for the program annually. Once a week, teams of volunteers travel to four Boston schools and read a book out loud in classrooms to students from kindergarten to grade four. The schools involved in Read Aloud are: Thomas Edison K-8, Mary Lyon K-8, F. Lyman Winship Elementary and St. Columbkille Partnership School.

Carpenter joined Read Aloud in the fall. “I knew of colleagues who were involved in Read Aloud and they all had good things to say about it. I had made a resolution to do more volunteer work. I love to read and linguistics is my bread and butter, so this seemed like the ideal opportunity.”

Carpenter added that his mother was a second-grade teacher and he recalls, “the joy and inspiration these young people brought to her life. I have to admit, however, that I was more nervous about speaking to first-graders than I was in teaching graduate seminars on medieval literature and linguistics!”

While Carpenter is new to Read Aloud, many BC employees have been volunteering for the program for 10, 12 or 16 years, said Read Aloud Coordinator Laura Bitran of BC’s Office of Governmental & Community Affairs. The most senior members of the Read Aloud corps, with 16 years of service, are: Syed Khan of O’Neill Library, Paul Karamourtopoulos of Auxiliary Services, Intersections Director Burt Howell and longtime BC employee Mary Zlotnik.

Carpenter says he is enjoying working with the children. “They are so well-behaved and enthusiastic about participating.” Carpenter also said he appreciates the diversity in the student population at St. Columbkille Partnership School and the fact that the school celebrates multiculturalism.

The success of Read Aloud has spawned Share Aloud, a program geared toward older students. Three representatives from Boston College, Adjunct Professor Ruth-Ann Harris of the Irish Studies program, Dr. Arnold Mazur of University Health Services, and University friend Edward Shay, regularly visit 6th and 7th graders at St. Columbkille Partnership School to talk about historical as well as current events.

“Read Aloud is an opportunity to connect with the community in a positive way,” concluded Carpenter. “I am thankful to BC and to Laura’s leadership for making this possible.”

BC Hosts Farewell for National Guard
National Guard

-Hundreds of soldiers from First Battalion, 182d Infantry Regiment of the National Guard received a send-off ceremony at Boston College's Conte Forum on Sunday, March 27. For more coverage please see articles in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.

BC Students Lend a Hand During Spring Break
Appalachia pic

Published by Clayton News Daily

BY: Curt Yeomans

Boston College sophomore, Meyha Swaroop, said last year was an eye-opening experience for her, when she spent her spring break doing community-service work with the college’s Boston College Appalachia Volunteers Program.

Swaroop said she had never done that kind of service before she got to college, but was inspired by being at a private, Boston, Mass.-based Catholic college where service to others is encouraged.

“I really liked the idea, and I was really excited to do it again,” she said.

Eighteen Boston College students are in Morrow this week, which is their spring break week, to help clean up around the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve. This is the third year students have come to Morrow during spring break to do community-service work.

The students here are among 600 from the college who are members of the Boston College Appalachia Volunteers Program, said Mike Burke, the co-head coordinator for the volunteer program. He is also co-leader of the group spending this week in Morrow. He said there are 36 groups of students from the program doing service projects throughout the Appalachia region this week.

He said the Boston College Appalachia Volunteers Program is approximately 36 years old. “A lot of [Boston College] students used to just be from the Massachusetts area,” Burke said. “So, this program was started to just broaden their understanding of the U.S., and to give them an opportunity do a little bit of community service as well.”

Burke added that the project also gives students an opportunity to build relationships with people in other communities. “If they form relationships with people in these communities that they go to, then, they are more likely to follow up on that in the future,” he said.

Swaroop, the other co-leader for the group working in Morrow this week, added that most students at Boston College are eager to do community-service projects, and, therefore, do not look down on going to communities across the Appalachian Mountain chain, to do work during spring break.

“There are a lot of kids at Boston College that want to serve,” she said. “We don’t really think about it as giving up our spring break. People do it because they want to be here.”

City of Morrow Code Enforcement Officer Marti Tracy said the city was hooked up with the Boston College students through a program called “Volunteers for Community,” which partners colleges with communities for service projects.

She said the work the city has had Boston College students do has grown in scope from working on a single resident’s home two years ago, to fixing up condominiums last year, to working on a property that is open for all residents of the community to use.

“It’s grown in the benefit,” Tracy said. “This year, we’re hoping to help more people by their presence. This year, we feel like we’re able to give a gift to the entire county.”

On Tuesday, some of the students got dirty by pulling weeds near the preserve’s picnic area, while others ended up covered in patches of varnish while they painted the outside walls of a restroom facility. Yet another group was applying a pressure-wash treatment to the hut at the outdoor classroom.

Nature Preserve Ranger John Williams, who is overseeing the students’ work, said they have been helping to keep the property cleaned up, doing work that would typically take rangers a longer period to do by themselves. He said he was planning to have the students build bird houses, and pull invasive Chinese privets today.

“It’s been awesome, when a group comes out and actually works together as a team,” Williams said. “They’re doing a month’s worth of work in one week.”

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BC Students Sing to Raise Money for St. Columbkille
2011 BC Idol

Published by Public Affairs

Boston College junior Liz Peter was crowned winner of a singing competition featuring outstanding student musicians and singers that was held last week in Robsham Theater. The event also raised $3,635 to benefit the arts program at St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton.

Peter, a vocalist, sang “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele. She was accompanied by senior Timothy Shu on acoustic guitar.

This year’s event showcased, for the first time, singers and musicians from St. Columbkille’s who performed in between the 14 BC acts.

St. Columbkille performers were: Stayce Legagneur, an eighth-grader who sang “Halo” by Beyonce; Roisin O’Rourke, a fifth-grader who sang Christina Aguliera’s “Beautiful,” and Libby Wu, a third-grader who played “The Butterfly” on piano.

The judges --all Jesuit priests-- were: graduate student Casey Beaumier, SJ, Lynch School of Education Dean Joseph O’Keefe, SJ, and Campus Minister Don MacMillan, SJ.

Assistant Director for Leadership Programs in the Boston College Student Programs Office Mer Zovko said, “It’s really a great opportunity to introduce some of the St. Columbkille students to a college campus and open some eyes – both theirs and our own BC students’ — to what it means to be part of a larger community.”

The singing competition is organized by students in Emerging Leaders Program and Undergraduate Government of Boston College, as well as BC’s Office of Governmental and Community Affairs and Lynch School of Education.

The Saint Columbkille Partnership School is a Catholic pre-kindergarten through grade 8 school located in Brighton.  In 2006, Saint Columbkille Parish, the Archdiocese of Boston, and Boston College entered into an historic partnership to save the finally troubled school by drawing upon the resources of the BC Lynch School of Education, best practices in American elementary education, and the guidance of Catholic educational, social, and religious principles in order to create a flagship Catholic school in Boston and a new national model of excellence in Catholic elementary education.

For pictures, click here. For more coverage, click here.

St. Columbkille Summer Camp at BC Enjoys An Exciting Year

Hundreds of local children attended this summer's sixth St. Columbkille Summer Camp. Campers participated in a range of activities from swimming, arts and crafts, museum visits, and educational presentations. Campers also visited several locations on campus and enjoyed some of what BC has to offer.

Above, campers visited with the BC Police. Below, the Kids Karate! group performed and taught campers about martial arts.

BC Hosts First N.E. Region Town Gown Conference
Town Gown

June 17, 2010

On June 16, Boston College hosted the first Boston Area Off–Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition’s New England Regional Town Gown Conference.

The day-long conference drew about 100 college and university officials, city and town officials, local law enforcement and community leaders from New England and New York to share best practices for promoting partnerships and community outcomes.

The coalition is committed to the idea that strong city-wide partnerships and programs enhance the quality of off-campus life for students, neighbors, colleges and universities, and their communities.

“Boston College was happy to host the first New England Regional Town Gown Conference on behalf of the Boston Area Off-Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition. The relationship between colleges and universities and the communities in which they are located is directly linked to the mission, success, and sustainability of each entity,” said BC Office of Student Development Assistant Dean Judith Robinson.

“The goal of this conference,” she added, “was to promote dialogue and share best practices so that a true partnership and collaborative approach to addressing the needs and interests of all constituents can move forward. We are delighted that so many colleges and universities around New England joined us at the conference.”

Topics addressed included promoting and sustaining positive town gown relations, approaches to involve off-campus students in activities and programs, off-campus leadership and education programs and enforcing policy off-campus.

Formed in 2008, the Boston Area Off-Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition includes higher education administrators, students, city officials, police, rental agents and neighbors. The coalition is committed to promoting safe, respectful and healthy communities for students living in off-campus housing in the City of Boston.

In addition to the Boston Area Off-Campus Housing and Student Life Coalition, other conference sponsors included the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators/NE Region, the Association of Student Conduct Administration and Off Campus Partners.

Cleansweep Enjoys Another Successful Year

June 2, 2010

On May 27, more than 100 non-profit agencies attended Cleansweep, the annual event where local non-profits collect items donated or left behind by departing students. Kitchenware, furniture (couches, tables, lamps, shelves), electronics, clothing, and much more were available to a variety of area groups.

Members of the Boston College community volunteered time to collect items from across campus, organize the goods, and help distribute to thankful recipients.

Boston College Grounds Crews Pitch In for Allston-Brighton T Ball Field Upgrade

April 21, 2010

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - Members of Boston College’s Athletic Facilities Department donated a few hours of their time and expertise to give the Allston Brighton Little League T Ball diamond at Rogers Park a make-over just in time for opening day.

Responding to a neighbor’s request for help, the crew cut a new pitcher’s mound and base paths, smoothed over some rough spots in the infield, set up the dugout benches and painted foul lines and baselines to guide boys and girls in their first years of organized baseball.

“We asked a few people to help out with the T Ball field because nothing’s really been done to here since we started,” said Brighton dad and Little League coach Daniel Duffy. “The kids deserved better. BC was the one to step up and contribute. They stepped up to the plate, literally.”

T Ball 2

After finishing their work maintaining University athletic fields and facilities used by elite NCAA athletes and intramural programs, a group of groundskeepers arrived at the corner of Rogers Park Avenue and Lake Street with shovels, rakes, a line painter and plenty of elbow grease.

“It’s a chance to give some of our time, some of our knowledge and some of our expertise,” said Dan Roderick, Manager for Athletic Maintenance at BC. “It’s great to pitch in.”

The volunteers included Roderick and his Athletic Facilities Department colleagues Matt Hayes, Mike Kane, Mike Lennon, Joe Russo and Robert Scanlon, as well as painter Keith Annese.