So, they pivoted. The Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship rebranded the program the Global Day of Service, connecting students with virtual service opportunities covering everything from voter registration and tutoring to social media and awareness campaigns. These virtual activities opened the door on a world of creative potential. Lovett said the pandemic helped him realize “that students have all these amazing skills in graphic design, or a different language, or data visualization or coding,” and they were able put their diverse talents to use despite the constraints imposed by social distancing.
That flex stuck. Although most of this year’s dozens of service opportunities were completed in person, about a third of the projects were done virtually, supporting work on five continents. These remote programs gave students an accessible, flexible option for contributing to causes such as curriculum development for a London-based youth engagement group, fundraising for international humanitarian nonprofits, and spreading awareness about the Cambridge Women’s Center on social media.
Kiran Ahmad, a junior from New York, worked as a project leader to craft Instagram posts for the Women’s Center that would be “welcoming for every woman” without seeming “too fancy” or exclusive.
Projects like this marshal volunteers as a built-in focus group for outreach materials, Lovett said. He also noted that each remote program included a designated “campus hangout spot” to simplify collaboration between volunteers and help build community between them.
With the Women’s Center project, co-leaders Ahmad and Langa Siziba, a junior from Zimbabwe, gathered with other volunteers in Sever Hall. Roaa Marei, a junior from Chicago, explained that the project provided a way to “give back to our community” using technology.