Boston Locals Can Volunteer to Take In Harvard & MIT Students Displaced from University Coronavirus Closures

In the last week college students across the country have transitioned to online classes following the spread of COVID-19. CBS reports that more than 130 colleges have cancelled or postponed classes, or announced the switch to virtual learning so far. 

In Boston specifically, undergraduate students are scrambling to find last-minute housing and storage arrangements after campus-wide announcements that dorms and facilities at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be evacuated to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Harvard students were quick to call out the lack of resources available to quickly move off campus. “There’s people who depend on Harvard’s meal plan and Harvard’s housing,” Lupe, a junior at the university, told Her Campus. “There’s people, both students and workers, that depend on campus jobs that serve the population. There’s no free storage for students and flights are getting harder to come by because of all of this craziness.

On Friday morning, a text message circulated to local members of the Boston community, as well as groups of alumni from Harvard and the MIT containing the links to Google forms where people can sign up to take in displaced college students or volunteer to temporarily store their belongings. The grassroots efforts on behalf of both of schools is entirely student-led.

Volunteer Form: Ability to Host or Store Belongings for Harvard College, Low-Income Students

Volunteer Form: MIT Alums (and Grad Students and other Community Members) Interested in Supporting MIT Students affected by COVID-19

“Students were notified at the same time as all staff and faculty, so there continues to be uncertainty over how low-income students will be able to afford both their transportation home and the storage costs that the college has so far only offered to partially subsidize,” the Harvard Primus explains in the form’s description. At this time, a few other companies are providing free resources to help students in need, like U-Haul offering 30 days of free self-storage.

If you live in the Boston area (and honestly beyond, since security for students across the U.S. and abroad is being heavily impacted right now), consider volunteering to help out a displaced student. Generosity at this time is especially helpful to students that are first-generation, low-income, international, or who might not be able to return home for any reason.