• HST students and others get elbow-deep in yard work on the first Community Service Day at McInnis House in Jamaica Plain.

    HST students and others get elbow-deep in yard work on the first Community Service Day at McInnis House in Jamaica Plain.

    Photo / David T. Ting

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Students spring into community action

HST students and others get elbow-deep in yard work on the first Community Service Day at McInnis House in Jamaica Plain.


A group of students and others from two universities got to know each other and also did a good deed for the community during a group service project on April 14.

The project involving students from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) aided McInnis House, a 72-bed inpatient facility in Jamaica Plain that provides recuperative care for homeless people whose medical problems are too complex for the city's shelter system. Many patients treated in Boston hospitals are brought to McInnis House after being discharged. The program was founded in 1985 as part of the Healthcare for Homeless Projects. McInnis House has offered medical and support services, housing and meals for homeless adults since 1993.

"A bunch of us started thinking it'd be a great idea to do a service-learning project together," said Junne Kamihara, one of the student coordinators. "Since HST is composed not only of Harvard but also MIT students working in various fields of study, we thought this might also be a great time to get to know our colleagues in these fields whom we don't usually have classes with. So the day was both a time of getting to know each other and a time for learning from the task."

Sixty students were joined by several HST faculty and family members, administrators and friends. They tackled some much-needed yard work, put in new plantings around the building and painted three floors inside. Their hard work was rewarded with lunch provided by the McInnis House staff and the feeling that one gets by putting something back into the community.

"It's a great privilege that McInnis House let us spend the day with them. We hope this will be the first of an annual service-learning event for HST," Ms. Kamihara said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 25, 2001.


Topics: Volunteering, outreach, public service

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