Harvard has recently launched two new Web sites – community.harvard.edu and allston.harvard.edu – making current information on community services, campus activities, and projects in planning and development more accessible to neighborhood residents, as well as the Harvard community.
The Web sites are the latest in a series of efforts to facilitate better communication between the University and local residents and organizations.
“Harvard places a great importance on its role as a strong community partner and a cultural and intellectual resource for its neighbors,” said Alan J. Stone, Harvard’s vice president for government, community and public affairs. “These Web sites reinforce that commitment, offering people outside the University a new way to access information that is important to them.”
Community.harvard.edu, developed by the Office of Community Affairs, is an updated portal to Harvard’s community links and resources and current community news.
Each year Harvard hosts a range of activities, events, and lectures that are open to the public. The section “Happening at Harvard” highlights these special benefits – academic lectures, activities in the arts, athletic events, and academic and leisure classes – that are available to Harvard neighbors. Details about Harvard’s role as an economic engine in Greater Boston and its partnerships in education, housing, and community service are also available on the site.
“Planning for the Future,” offers updates on current development and renovation projects in Cambridge, including overviews of projects under way, current construction notices, and project contact information. The section also links to Allston.harvard.edu (http://allston.harvard.edu), a new Web site developed by the Allston Initiative, which contains information about the Allston planning process. The site includes summaries of community presentations on Allston planning, maps, and other materials, as well as details on Harvard’s history in Allston.
“Harvard’s new community Web site gives people the chance to see what’s going on with Harvard in their community, from development issues to social, athletic, academic, or cultural events,” said Paul Berkeley, head of the Allston Civic Association. “Having access to this information by simply selecting the items of interest reduces the time it used to take sorting through weekly publications or making phone calls to find it. It also puts out a host of information that otherwise many would simply not know about.”
Over the years, Harvard has made strengthening ties to its surrounding neighborhoods a top priority. In addition to faculty, students, and staff who offer professional assistance, administer programs, or volunteer for more than 260 community service programs in Boston and Cambridge, Harvard has established programs and initiatives in after-school education, summer programming, and affordable housing. Most recently, Harvard announced the Crimson Summer Academy, a new summer enrichment program for talented low-income youth in Boston and Cambridge.
Harvard also engages its neighbors in the planning and development of campus buildings through regular neighborhood meetings and the local community boards. Better communication has helped the University and community work together to identify ways that Harvard can address its academic and programming space needs and respond to community needs for more affordable housing, additional open space, or funds for youth education and enrichment. Last year, Harvard established a construction mitigation service for current Cambridge projects to help resolve construction concerns and manage construction updates and announcements.
“Cambridge and Boston are vital assets to Harvard and it is our goal to strengthen our mutually beneficial relationship by inviting the community to take advantage of all that the University has to offer and by providing better access to information about the University,” said Mary Power, senior director of Community Affairs. “This Web site helps us accomplish these goals and we hope it will become an important resource to our neighbors.”