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'Who We Are'

The Eagle Volunteer program brings a service component to BC's Sesquicentennial celebration

"In many ways, 150 minutes is a challenge for someone to get started" -- Eagles Volunteer Quintin Orem, center. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff

Published: Jan. 31, 2013

When School of Theology and Ministry graduate student Quentin Orem heard about the opportunity to participate in community service for 150 minutes in honor of Boston College’s Sesquicentennial celebration, he was moved.

“I have seen other big universities do big, grand gestures in celebration of milestone anniversaries. I thought this simple expression of service to celebrate BC’s mission was humble,” said Orem. “I really liked that.”

Since last fall, Eagle Volunteers have been participating in acts of service at three locations in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood: the Epiphany School, St. Peter’s Teen Center and the Yawkey Food Pantry. Coordinated by the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, the Eagle Volunteer program provides transportation to the three locations for members of the BC community who sign on to participate in 150 minutes of service during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Spearheaded by VSLC Director Dan Ponsetto and Intersections Director Burt Howell, who also serves on the University Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, the project is a way for students, faculty and staff to give back to the community.

“We hope this reminds people of who we are,” said Ponsetto. “We provide the transportation. The strength of the program is that it is flexible enough to allow anyone to get involved, as much or as little as they choose.”

Added Howell, “From the beginning, the purpose of this institution was to serve the people of Boston. Now a lot has changed since 1863, but our roots remain in the city. Eagle Volunteers allows students the chance to celebrate that connection,” said Howell. “There was a lot of conversation about how far BC has come in 150 years, but we felt it most important to celebrate the proud tradition of service on this campus.”

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week during the semester, those interested in participating visit the VSLC Eagle Volunteer website and register. A team leader is then in touch with a location of where a driver will meet the group of volunteers, who give about four hours to the various causes.

For volunteers like Orem, that meant cooking lunches and cleaning up after the students at the Epiphany School.

“We really worked behind the scenes, and in many ways, it was true service – providing for a community,” said Orem. “This semester I will be working at the teen center, so I expect that will be a different experience entirely.”
Meeting the 150-minute challenge wasn’t an issue, he said.

“Obviously, the hope is that no one makes the 150 minutes of service and considers their work done,” said Orem. “In many ways 150 minutes is a challenge for someone to get started.”

For more information, contact the VSLC at