New Activist Groups Become PBHA Members

Students seeking service and social change may find their organizations of choice a bit better funded after a recent vote of the Phillips Brooks House Association(PBHA).

At a special meeting held in a Square restaurant on Monday night, the Cabinet voted to give PBHA membership to the Association of Youth for Social Change (AYSC) and the Progressive Student Labor Movement (PSLM). The vote will allow them a share in PBHA's extensive resources.

Seventy-two "yay" votes approved the membership of AYSC with one person abstaining. Fifty-six cabinet members voted in favor of PSLM's inclusion in PBHA with four "nays" and 14 abstentions.

PBHA representatives say they hope the addition of these two new community service organizations will provide more opportunities for students to engage in public service.

"I think they were both community service groups that we felt correlated with or were in line with PBHA's mission statement and our goals," said Danielle M. Estrada '99, the campus outreach coordinator for PBHA.


According to Estrada, now that the two groups have become officially recognized by PBHA, they can benefit from its funding sources. They will also have access to PBHA resources such as vans, recruiting sessions and fundraising tools. They will also become members of the PBHA Cabinet.

The PSLM is an advocacy group directing its efforts more toward social action and issues of economic justice and labor, Estrada said.

Daniel R. Morgan '99, a member of PSLM, said the group's mission includes educating the Harvard community about labor issues and getting students involved with the labor movement outside the University.

Morgan says that the organization's major goals this year are examining Harvard as a workplace, organizing campaigns and rallies and encouraging Harvard professors to end unfair labor practices.

Members of the PSLM are excited by their new PBHA membership, Morgan said.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us. I think it's a great change to be able to link together student service and student activism," he said.

Morgan also said he hopes the addition of PMLA, a social action group, to the PBHA roster will encourage the public service organization to become more aware of the roots of the problems which force people to seek help from its service groups.

"I hope this will serve as a turn for PBHA to be more activist-oriented and not to have the activist and service communities so completely disjointed as they are now," Morgan said.

The AYSC-an organization founded in 1992 by Jason Q. Purnell '99 while he was still in high school in his home town of St. Louis, Mo.-seeks to educate and empower high school students to become involved in public service in order to address pressing social problems in their communities.

Purnell, president of AYSC, said he and the other leaders of the organization hope to include three components in their public service agenda: a community action program, a survey of youth program and a youth forum program.

Purnll and a small group of recruits-including most of his roommates-have been working hard since early last September to gain official PBHA recognition of their program.

According to Purnell, the leaders of AYSC are "very contented" with the organization's recent admission into the PBHA fold.

"I think it will be a good opportunity to just be in the environment of people in community service," Purnell said. "I think it will energize us, motivate us, and we can learn from them."

Purnell says the group hopes to have volunteers in area high school classrooms by next month, helping to motivate high school students to create their own longterm community service programs.