First-year students brighten up a bathroom at Winship Elementary School in Brighton during Harvard’s Day of Service.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

At your service

More than 1,500 first-years fan out around Greater Boston for a day of volunteering at schools and nonprofits

3 min read

Some cleaned playgrounds; others painted public schools. They made quilts, volunteered at shelters, and toiled at community farms.

More than 1,500 first-years rolled up their sleeves and went to work across Greater Boston on Thursday for the Class of 2023 Day of Service. The students were divided among 64 sites, including the Jackson Mann Community Center in Allston; Cradles to Crayons in Brighton; the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter; Mather Elementary School in Dorchester; Sociedad Latina in Roxbury Crossing; Pine Street Inn in Boston; Josiah Quincy School in Chinatown; and Eastie Farm in East Boston, among others.

The day of service was organized by Phillips Brooks House Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship, and more than 200 staff members served as site leaders, helping manage transportation and logistics.

“When we started planning this day, we were overwhelmed with support from faculty, staff, students, and community leaders,” said Travis Lovett, who was just appointed assistant dean of civic engagement and service. “We wanted to make a community-wide statement that civic engagement is an essential part of the Harvard experience. I am so proud of the Class of 2023 and the greater Harvard community for showing the promise of what we can accomplish when we work together.”

Larry Bacow Dean Rakesh Khurana, and Michael Brown
First year student volunteers

Harvard President Larry Bacow (from left), Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana, and Board of Overseers President Michael Brown helped kick off the Day of Service at Tercentary Theatre before students left for their off-campus assignments.

Photos by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Volunteers in Harvard Yard

The Phillips Brooks House hosted a United Way event in Harvard Yard.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

United Way employees Blaine Flanders (left) and Alex Kemna give the first-years some guidance.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Blaine Flanders (left) and Alex Kemna instruct the students on the activities
Sophie Clivio (left) and Benten Niggel work together on a fleece blanket
A student making a blanket

Sophie Clivio (left) and Benten Niggel were two of the first-years who gathered together in the Yard to work on a fleece blanket for the United Way.

Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Students fan out the blanket they made

Juliana Ruggieri (from left), Emma Freeman, Sophie Clivio, Benten Niggel, Megumi Kirby, and Dean of Students Katie O’Dair show off what teamwork can do.

Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

A man gives directions to assistant
Student standing next to bags of donations

Rob Gogan (left), associate manager of recycling and Brandon Geller, manager of the FAS Green Program, sort hangers, while Phillips Brooks House student director Cecilia Nunez ’20 helps first-years recycle clothing and dorm items.

Photos by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Swathi Kella and other first-years sort hangers and clothing that were being resold to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Student untangling coat hangers
Students cleaning a window
Students painting inside a gym

Megane Bantefa (left) and Marie Ayiah scrub a window and other first-years decorate walls at Winship Elementary School.

Photos by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Students painting a wall

The Class of ’23’s Gabriella Mestre (from left), Alvin Zou, and Mia Colman paint some inspirational words for Winship students.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer