Class of 2015 Projects
The original mission of our project was to educate the Boston College community about the repercussions of smoking and tobacco. However, we realized that education was not the primary issue, as almost everyone is aware of the negative repercussions of smoking. So we decided to reshape our mission, to make Boston College a smoke-free campus. Though we understood that this was a lofty goal, especially considering our time constraints, we hoped that this Jenks project would be able to start a greater movement on campus, which would have effects and benefits far beyond our semester-long project. We identified three phases of the project which we felt were necessary to achieve this goal. They included raising awareness; garnering support from other student bodies; and finally the policy change that would make BC a smoke-free campus. The first step of this project focused on creating awareness on the Boston College campus, and we partnered with Boston College Relay for Life--specifically with its Colleges Against Cancer Committee. At the Relay for Life 12-hour, overnight event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, we were able to reach a very wide and diverse audience. Our initiative to raise awareness included quarter sheets and laminated literature, illustrating the dangers of smoking and tobacco; and in order to engage and incentivize traffic to our table, hundreds of “educational cookies,” which each contained a fact related to smoking or smoking-induced diseases.
As found by our research, universities and colleges with smoke-free campuses typically became smoke-free by a top-down policy. Because this project aims to create change via a grassroots approach, we recognized that gaining support on campus among students and faculty was crucial. Through a partnership with the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC), a survey was sent out to a random sampling of BC students, inquiring about their support of the smoke-free movement at Boston College. After raising awareness, it was necessary to create a network of support for the movement on campus to make it more visible and credible, and identified other key and relevant organizations on campus to join the movement. Some of these organizations include the BC chapter of the American Red Cross, Globe Med, EcoPledge, and the Connell School of Nursing Senate.
We hope that the benefits of this project extend far beyond our semester of Jenks, and while the most important goals of this semester to build a strong foundation for the movement, by raising awareness and garnering support were met, most of the action will take place in the months and semesters to come. The partnership with UGBC, Relay for Life, and the smoke-free committee will continue to promote and grow this initiative next year. As this collaboration becomes stronger, we will work with the administration to create the institutional change necessary to make Boston College a smoke-free campus.
As of April 2, 2015, there were 1,543 smoke-free college campuses and over a thousand tobacco-free campuses in the United States, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. 3 other Jesuit universities, 21 other major schools in Massachusetts are now smoke-free, including Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. It is our hope that Boston College will join the ranks of these other universities, to become a smoke-free campus.
Jenks Loves Mail
For our project, we partnered with the Girls Love Mail charity, an organization founded by Gina Mulligan, a breast cancer survivor, which collects hand-written letters and gives them to women undergoing breast cancer treatment. These letters are distributed through cancer centers and doctor’s offices. We set up a Jenks table at Relay for Life, where we gave BC students the opportunity to not only emotionally connect to a major world issue, but connect with others outside of the BC community.
The event embodied the mission of beginning in the night, and waking up into the sunrise with new light and new adventures ahead of you. It was very humbling to see the number of people who wrote letters which contained words of inspiration and encouragement. Roughly 150 letters were written by BC students, and as of April 2, 2015, the Girls Love Mail organization had received 4,568 letters and counting.
Relay for Life has asked that this initiative continue next year and beyond.
Mini Jenks at Bird Street Community Center
For our project we worked with middle-schoolers at the Bird Street Community Center, in Dorchester. We created a Mini Jenks program and ran two workshops. For the first workshop we used games to focus on teamwork and improving communication skills. Using Tinker Toys students were charged with building the tallest structure under various communication constraints; and with the blindfold game challenges were presented, and students had to rely on their peers to achieve tasks. This workshop accomplished its goal by demonstrating and teaching the students teamwork, listening, and nonverbal communication skills. The second workshop was focused on conflict resolution skills where we presented various skits and scenarios and had the students come up with solutions. With this workshop, students were able to walk away with tools that will help them to navigate any complex or challenging situation that they may be presented. The students were very engaged in the activities, and we received very positive feedback from the Director of the Middle School Youth Council at the Center.
Passing it Forward
The mission of our project was to organize and implement a student run program to foster learning and leadership for young members of the Roxbury Youth Program, while developing their appetite for opportunities for higher education. We had three objectives: to encourage students to think about college; foster goal setting to focus on future plans; and to build leadership and teamwork skills. The students were juniors and seniors, and for the first two goals, we directed the discussion towards their plans for the future and answer questions they had about college life. Using the SMART goal framework, we were able to provide them with information on what they needed to do to go to college and be successful while there. The students were very receptive during the workshop and were excited to think about their future. For the third objective, we used the Stranded on a Life Raft exercise to help them learn how to work together and learn the art of prioritizing. The activity was a success and the students reported that they enjoyed it much more than they expected. They got very competitive with each other and worked well in teams to get the best results.
Class of 2014 Projects
Eagles Take Action
Eagles Take Action is a day of service geared towards first year students built around the idea of introducing them to community service at BC and showing them the meaning of leading a life of service. With this project, we aimed to present new students to the Jesuit core value of “men and women for others” and Jenks Leadership Program’s emphasis on servant leadership. We partnered with organizations such as JumpStart, Haley House, Edison School, and Boys & Girls Club Dorchester, all of which have preexisting relationships with BC groups. By selecting this diverse group of organizations, we were able to cater to the individual interests of each volunteer and provide them a more meaningful experience. These tailored service opportunities offer a comfortable and friendly environment to foster community and build friendships outside the BC sphere. We ended the day with a panel of students with diverse backgrounds in service, on and off campus, who were able to provide insights about their experiences on volunteering and community building. Although small in its maiden year, we hope that the project will continue to develop and have a long lasting impact on all participants for years to come.
Hygiene for the Homeless
Our group aims to make a donation of hygiene products to the Woods Mullen homeless shelter in Boston. The shelter is run by Friends of Boston Homeless (FOBH), a non-profit organization that supports solution-oriented programs to help the homeless move beyond shelters to lead independent lives. The purpose of our service project stems from every member’s aspiration to help the homeless community in Boston since a large proportion of that community is made up of teenagers and young adults our age. We identified that Boston's homeless shelters were lacking in hygiene products, and this concerned us the most since hygiene plays such a large role in health and quality of life. Therefore, we decided to fund raise and buy the products under the mentality of promoting the health and wellbeing of the Boston homeless community. We pride ourselves in our transparency philosophy when we fundraise, where each of our donors understands what type of hygiene products can and will be bought with each donation. In addition to the donation of hygiene products, we also hope to develop a lasting charitable partnership between FOBH and Boston College.
Our project is to promote sustainability on campus. To do this, we designed a two-pronged campaign centered around Recyclemania, a five-week-long nation-wide competition between colleges and universities to achieve the highest recycling rate. The first component of our project was a promotional campaign that aimed to utilize social media as well as more traditional publicizing methods to increase awareness of and participation in Recyclemania at BC. To do this, we created a Facebook group in which we posted our weekly rankings in the competition, held a poster design competition and posted the winning poster on campus and online, got articles published in The Heights and The Gavel, and held an Instagram "Caught Green-handed" competition. The second component was an event in The Mods. We replaced the tops of the recycling bins with new blue tops, and had passerby sign the inside of the tops to "leave their mark" on BC, and provided information about recycling at BC as well as food, reusable water bottles, and Recyclemania pins.
Voices of the Voiceless
The goal of our Jenks project was to raise awareness about the homelessness population of Boston and highlight the human dignity that every person possesses. To do this, we hosted an event, called "Voice of the Voiceless," in the Murray Function Room on March 26th with 2 formerly homeless individuals from the Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau, Peter and Tia. Peter spoke about his experience of living at Father Bill's shelter in Quincy for 7 years while Tia spoke of her trials being bounced around among shelters with her 2 young children. The event was well attended and featured a robust question and answer period in which students were able to interact and converse with the two speakers.
Class of 2013 Projects
BC Helping Others Get Back On Their Feet
Our group is partnering with the Boston chapter of Back On My Feet (BOMF), a national organization working to rehabilitate the homeless through running. BOMF prepares members for serious road races, including the Boston Marathon, while providing them the necessary resources to jumpstart their futures. After completing an initial phase with BOMF, members can gain access to job training, employment opportunities, and even financial aid. Our group plans to contribute resources that enable BOMF to continue their work. We are raising funds that can pay for running clothing and entrance fees for races. We are collecting and will then donate several pairs of new running sneakers. Finally, we plan to bring a BOMF member to BC’s campus where he or she can speak about his or her experiences before and after BOMF and the BOMF program itself. In bringing a BOMF member to campus, we will raise awareness about homelessness in our own backyard as well as highlight organizations, which along with BOMF have been combating this issue head on.
Campus Health and Wellness Campaign
Campus Health and Wellness Campaign is a campus-wide informational campaign focused on healthy living and health resources at Boston College. In cooperation with University Counseling Services, the Office of Health Promotion, and other student organizations, the campaign seeks to raise awareness of issues concerning mental health, stress, and healthy living on campus, as well as to increase students' utilization of existing campus resources. The campaign will proceed in two stages. First, informational fliers and will be distributed on campus in an effort to highlight major health issues facing university students along with their symptoms, causes, and helpful resources. Second, a scavenger hunt and giveaway will encourage students to visit the locations The Jenks team hopes that a successful campaign will prompt the formation of a student organization that assists the administration in implementing similar campaigns in the future.
Give it Away
"Give It Away" is a series of workshops held at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester designed to be a condensed version of the Jenks Leadership Program. The project's goal is to instill ethics, education, and a sense of community into a group of youth from the greater Boston area. The workshops are mirrored after those conducted in JLP, such as Tinker Toys, Lost at Sea, the Helium Pole activity, and improvisation, while also incorporating the lessons and ideas of 48 Hours, Kairos, Splash, 4Boston, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. These workshops build on key tenets of leadership through interactive activities and reflection journaling. The title and inspiration for the “Give It Away” program comes from Father Michael Himes’ Homily during the mass at Fenway, celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Boston College, where he preached that “The reason to be educated is to teach someone else. You never grasp the fruits of your education until you give it away.” As a result, the purpose of this program is to pass on what has been learned through the Jenks Leadership Program to those who can be positively influenced by it. The program’s impact is intended to be long lasting, and it is hoped that in the long run it will become a perennial service project.
Jenks and Cradles to Crayons
Cradles to Crayons (C2C) is a nonprofit organization based in Brighton, founded to provide everyday essentials like clothing and school supplies to Boston-area children living without a home, or in a low-income household, from birth to age 12. C2C is able to provide these items at no cost by engaging "communities that have with communities that need." As members of the Boston College community, we have much to offer our young neighbors in Boston. The aim of our project is to harness the time and financial support of our peers for the benefit of the children served by C2C. We are doing this by coordinating regular, in-person visits by a range of student groups at BC to C2C's "Giving Factory" where our volunteers can experience firsthand the gratification of sorting clothes, toys, and school supplies, and assembling them into "kid packs" for young people who would otherwise do without. In order to raise awareness at BC about C2C and the underlying needs of the population they serve, we have designed an informative website targeted at BC students through which supporters can make online contributions toward the purchase of specific items in high demand at C2C.
“SmarterWater” is a campaign aimed lowering the use of disposable water bottles on the Boston College campus, as well as at raising awareness of the importance of conserving the environment. We hope to lower the use of disposable water bottles by giving out free aluminum water bottles with a Jenks SmarterWater logo. Each water bottle we hand out will have an attached tag with statistics about the effects of disposable water bottles on the environment, as well as information which demonstrates that bottled water is no better than tap water. The water bottles will technically be free, but we will accept donations and allow students to pay what they think the water bottles are worth, in hopes that we can order multiple batches of water bottles and get as many of them as possible out on campus. We plan on distributing the water bottles in the quad, outside the Plex, and on the first floor of McElroy Commons. If there are any proceeds remaining at the end of the project, we will donate them to an environmental organization in the area. Our group hopes that this project will be a step toward creating a plastic bottle-free campus and that students will get fired up about protecting the environment.
Class of 2012 Projects
BC Tackles Bullying
BC Tackles Bullying is a campaign aimed at raising awareness of bullying issues on campus with the intent to unify the student body. The campaign took place over a three-day period. Students distributed lime green quarter sheets and “BC Tackles Bullying” lime green rubber bracelets across campus. With the distribution of each of these bracelets, we asked the recipient signed his or her name on one of six banners, representing a pledge to help stop bullying and to help raise awareness on this very serious issue. Students went door-to-door through freshmen dorms distributing information on bullying statistics, inspirational quotes, and resources for those who are struggling with bullying. The project proposal also included a four to five minute video on the BC Tackles Bullying Facebook page depicting BC students pledging to help end bullying as well as encouraging other students to stop bullying.
BC Tackles Poverty
BC Tackles Poverty is a unique service project proposal initiative of BC students and Newton residents who care about doing their part to help tackle poverty in the Greater Boston area. The students organized a community clothing and food drive in the City of Newton for St. Francis House as well as an on-campus clothing drive encouraging students to do a “Spring Cleaning” of their closets. Finally, Jenks students hosted a dinner and evening at Rosie’s Place, a shelter for impoverished women and victims of domestic violence in Boston, where where they prepared and served dinner to 50+ women. This is a truly special initiative that represents communities coming together to serve a population in constant need of support.
Boys and Girls for Others
The goal of this series of workshops held at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester with the Keystone Club, was to empower youth to take on leadership roles in their community and plan a hypothetical service project for their community. The workshops were mirrored after those conducted for JLP but tailored to fit the needs of the Keystone Club. The program built on key tenets of leadership through interactive team building activities and reflection journaling, culminating in a project proposal created by the teens and presented to a panel of judges during the final workshop at Boston College.
Random Acts of Kindness
This student-oriented viral campaign of kindness aimed to motivate the Boston College Student Community to show random acts of kindness both on campus and beyond. There are often high levels of stress and a sense of isolation amongst students on campus. Our campaign strives to break those barriers by encouraging student-to-student interaction with a joyful and kind attitude. Students performed random acts of kindness to under-appreciated student populations and created opportunities for students to send acts of kindness to their friends. The project leaders also engaged the greater Boston community by providing a donation of school supplies to the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester.
Shoelaces for Schooling
This proposed project supported the many teachers at the Campus School who rely on their personal funds for basic supplies such as markers, pencils, paper, etc. Students also raised on-campus awareness of the Campus School its tremendous influence by selling neon colored shoelaces. Included was a tag of artwork by a Campus School student, the Campus School mission statement, and one of the Campus School Philosophies. The bright colored laces showed support for the Campus School, but also led to questions and discussions about the Campus School among BC students. 100% of the proceeds were donated to the Campus School.
This 2011 project team collaborated with a local middle school to build a garden and discuss the importance of locally grown foods and healthy eating. This project gave the middle school students a hands-on learning opportunity to explore sustainable agriculture and eco-friendly practices. (Pictured: Jayne Kerner, Michael Coleman, Michelle Cauchi and Christopher Knapp.)