From a neighborhood beautification project to curriculum development in Uganda, the second annual Global Day of Service on Aug. 30 brought together nearly 1,400 students and alumni who worked with 71 service opportunities.
Global Day of Service has evolved dramatically over the past two years, said Travis Lovett, assistant dean for Civic Engagement and Service. “We had to completely reimagine the program last year due to the pandemic,” he explained.
What had been a traditional service event for first-year orientation has become a large-scale international service day that offered volunteers the opportunity to apply their skills in everything from graphic design, to cause marketing, and even translation services.
The goal last year was to connect students to the Harvard community regardless of where they were physically in the world. To accomplish this, Lovett and his team reached out to the Harvard alumni network and found meaningful virtual volunteer opportunities around the topics of curriculum development, voter registration, and census outreach.
“What we found was that the types of service projects we offered were able to engage the students technically and allowed them to connect on a deeper level to some of society’s systemic issues,” said Lovett.
Buoyed by the success of last year’s program, alumni offered suggestions for an even broader range of volunteer projects this year. At the same time, with the campus reopening, Lovett wanted to build hands-on and social opportunities back into the day. All of this year’s virtual projects had dedicated classroom space in which to work so that team members could collaborate and socialize, and 29 service projects took place in-person in Cambridge and Boston.