New Program Allows Class of 2016 To Donate College Prep Books

As the Class of 2016 packs their bags to move to campus, some are packing one more item to the usual list of clothes, futons, and carpets.

Starting this fall, incoming freshmen will be able to donate their gently used college prep guides and test books to Cambridge Rindge and Latin through “Harvard Gives Back,” a charity initiative created by Madeleine H. Gearan '15.

“I hope that Harvard Gives Back can make a difference to some local high school students,” Gearan said. “I'd also like to think that it's a statement to Harvard students.”

Gearan developed the program last spring semester, as a final project for her freshman seminar, “Communications, Advocacy, and Public Affairs,” taught by Christine M. Heenan, the University’s vice president of public affairs and communications.

“I was really glad I took the class,” Gearan said. “Heenan was very helpful in terms of ideas and how to execute them.” Gearan took her plan to the Freshman Dean's Office.

“We were very excited about the project,” Dean of Freshman Thomas A. Dingman '67 said. “It aligns with our interest in promoting concern for the well being of others.”

An email about Harvard Gives Back was sent Aug. 10 to the Class of 2016. Gearan said she has already received emails and Facebook messages from students looking to donate books.

“[The FDO] was very helpful in terms of thinking about the note to the incoming class and then actually making that happen,” Gearan said.

Other incoming freshmen expressed interest in the program.

“It's a worthwhile initiative to give back to the community,” Eddy A. Grafstein '16 said. “I'm going to bring a few [books] up.”

Gearan helped enact a similar program in her hometown of Geneva, NY, where freshmen at Hobart and William Smith Colleges can donate their used books. She said that she hoped to expand the program in future years and donate to other high schools in the Boston area.

—Staff writer Petey E. Menz can be reached at menz@college.harvard.edu.

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