New Service Organization Holds First Meeting

Several first-years showed up last night for the introductory meeting of a new student organization that will dedicate itself to social action.

The Association of Students for Social Change (AYSC)-a campus organization begun last January by Jason Q. Purnell '99-focuses upon "fostering leadership and social action in local high schools," said Purnell, who is the club's president.

Group members said they hope to become part of the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) in two weeks.

Rana said PBHA status would help them "draw people who are enthusiastic about community service and benefit from the helpful advice of older organizations."

Beginning this fall, members will run afterschool workshops on diversity at Charlestown High School, which was depicted in the Pulitzer-Prize-winning tome Common Ground by former Crimson executive J. Anthony Lukas '54 as the site of anti-busing unrest during the 1970s.

However, Dorothy E. Miller '99, chair of the community action program committee, said she has yet to receive final confirmation from the school and "will probably hear from them next week."

The organization also plans to survey high school students in the Boston area next fall and then host a youth forum to discuss issues of concern at the Kennedy School of Government in February or March of 1999.

Aziz F. Rana '00, a co-chair of the community action program committee, said that because AYSC is a newly-created organization, students have "an opportunity to get involved with something on the ground level."

Purnell said he originally started the organization in 1992 when he was a student at St. Louis University High School. At that time, AYSC was involved in the St. Louis AIDS Foundation and the 1993 Midwest flood clean-up.

Purnell said he hopes to continue with his community service at Harvard.

"Our philosophy is to ensure that each of us is powerful, and together, we're indestructible," he said.

Kelly E. Edwards '01 said this was one of the many volunteer programs she was "checking out" during the first week of classes.

"I did a lot of community action programs in high school," she said.

"I designed a program that taught diversity education."

Other first-years who attended last night's meeting also said they were particularly interested in public service programs after their experiences in the First Year Urban Program.

Although last night's turnout was small, the board of directors said they remained optimistic that more students will become involved.

Miller said there were over 200 people who signed up to be on the group's e-mail list during first year registration.

The board of directors also includes: Justin C. Danilewitz '99, executive vice president and a Crimson editor; Jeffrey C. McClean II '99, vice president of Development; and Damian M. Narvaez '98, co-chair of the Community Action Program Compurnell said he originally started the mittee