K-School Kicks Off Community Service

New Program Matches Students, Faculty With Local Non-Profit Groups

Kennedy School officials this week started recruiting students, faculty and staff to participate in a new community service program, reflecting a growing trend towards public service orientation at the school of government.

The Kennedy School program, which will try to match Kennedy School participants with local non-profit organizations, may prove to be a model in the future for other such programs at the professional schools, said Chuck J. Supple, the clearinghouse organizer.

About 75 students initially have demonstrated interest in the community service program, which is the city such program at the University's professional schools, Supple said.

To recruit faculty and staff to the program, Kennedy School Dean Graham T. Allison '62 is expected to write a letter by the end of this week urging them to get involved with the fledgling public service program.

Allison and Supple conceived the community service clearinghouse last spring, after the dean perceived the need for a renewed focus on public service, Supple said. Allison also announced a public service loan forgivenenss program and a summer internship fund last spring.

"The students at the Kennedy School are already here because they believe in public service," said Judy F. Kugel, the director of Kennedy School career services who is orchestrating the community service effort. "We are dealing with the converted. Our job is to make it easier for them to find ways of channeling that interest."

Interested students, faculty and staff will fill out cards stating their areas of expertise and the kind of public service they would like to perform, Kugel said. The participants will be matched with local human services and advocacy groups.

"We're now going to be actively playing matchmaker," said Kugel, adding that more than 70 Cambridge-area organizations have already been contacted about participating in the program.

Kennedy School students will also have the opportunity to work with other parts of the Harvard community, as well as with groups outside the ivory tower. Phillips Brooks House (PBH) will rely on K-School students to help train undergraduate volunteers, Supple said.

"Hopefully they [Kennedy School volunteers] will also serve as role models for graduate work or careers in public administration," said Supple, who is a second-year candidate for a Master's of Public Administration at the Kennedy School.

The program has been scaled down from the original plans made for it this spring. Originally a computer database was slated to manage the matchmaking process, but organizers said they will make the placements by hand, for at least the first few months of the program.