Harvard’s GIS manager Parvaneh Kossari (right) and Sustainability Engagement Program manager Olivia Percy spread mulch at Barry’s Corner during Boston Shines, an annual event that University employees have participated in for the past 10 years.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Harvard makes sure ‘Boston Shines’

3 min read

University supports cleanup event in Allston-Brighton

Even when sunshine gave way to icy winds and scattered storms,  more than 70 Harvard staff and members of the community planted flowers, painted park benches, and picked up trash around the Allston-Brighton neighborhood as part of Boston Shines.

In its 10th year, citywide cleanup event brought together staff from across the University, all of whom rolled up their sleeves to contribute to the cause on April 27.

“We’re really proud to be making contributions to the community in a sustained and meaningful way,” said Christine Heenan, vice president of Harvard Public Affairs & Communications, the University department that coordinated Harvard’s participation along with Harvard Real Estate (HRE) for the 10th consecutive year. “Since last year’s Boston Shines, we’ve celebrated the opening of the i-lab, Stone Hearth Pizza, and Library Park. This is one more way for us to affirm our connection to the Boston community, and there’s even more to come next year.”

“Mayor [Thomas M.] Menino started Boston Shines 10 years ago for the city to come together on one day to make it a cleaner, better place to live,” said Angela Holm, neighborhood coordinator with the city of Boston. “Residents, businesses, and institutions together took pride in their community this weekend to make our neighborhoods better for everyone, and Harvard’s participation each year has contributed greatly to these improvements.”

Paula Alexander, a staff assistant at the Harvard Business School and an Allston resident, helped rake and gather bags of leaves at the Honan-Allston Library. “My husband and I own a house right on North Harvard Street,” she said. “We’re part of Friends of the Library, and we like to keep it looking nice. Allston is kind of a forgotten section of the city, so an event like this means a lot. For Harvard to step up, chip in, and provide all the manpower to brighten the area … as residents, we really appreciate it. It’s wonderful to see how it’s grown over the years, and how much more Harvard does every year.”

At William Smith Field, Berley McKenna of HRE gave a park bench a fresh coat of “Monster-green” paint. “I came out for Boston Shines last year,” she said. “It’s great to feel like you’re having an immediate impact. I hope it says that we’re a part of the community and that we feel as much of a responsibility to the area as the people who live here. We’re all in this together.”

On Western Avenue, Monette Salud of Harvard Planning and Project Management (HPPM) filled in tree wells with mulch, a procedure that helps rainwater get down to the roots of the tree. As Joe Jones of HRE rolled a new barrel of mulch to Western Avenue, he nodded at the trees lining the street. “Harvard actually planted these,” he said. “Events like this show that Harvard cares about how the neighborhood looks, and that they’re engaged in the community.”

Paint roller in hand, Monika Bankowski of HPPM stepped back from a freshly painted bench, double-checking for any spots she might have missed. “It’s great to help the community and get involved,” she said. “I know a lot of people who live in the area. I think being out here shows that we care, and that Harvard cares.”