Campus Celeb: The First Year Service Program

Boston College is known for its volunteer opportunities, and many students are looking for a way to get involved on campus. Chad Landrum, a Graduate Assistant for the Volunteer and Service Center, discussed the First Year Service Program with me, and here’s what I learned.

What is the First Year Service Program?

The First Year Service Program is designed specifically for freshmen as a vehicle for service, reflection, and community through the Jesuit identity.  Through weekly service and reflection FYSP fosters growth threefold: within the individual, the Boston College community, and the greater Boston area.  This welcoming, open community aims to facilitate a smooth transition into the BC mission of being men and women for others.

What exactly do volunteers do?

FYSP volunteers commit to 3-5 hours per week of volunteering at one of the fifteen nonprofits who we partner with. The type of service varies by location. Students can tutor elementary, middle, or high school students. They can also tutor adults learning English as a Second Language, work with elderly patients in the Jeanne Jugan Nursing Home, and make supply packs for low-income children at Cradles to Crayons. They may also volunteer at number of other diverse nonprofits such as the Carroll Center for the Blind, the Allston-Brighton Food Pantry, and the Wednesday Night Supper Club.

While the nature of the work varies, all students volunteer approximately 3-5 hours every week. They also participate in a weekly reflection groups that focus on service and broader social justice issues that affect BC, Boston, and the World. 

How can people get involved?

FYSP is one of BC's few application-free programs. Interested students should attend one of our informations sessions that take place during the second or third week of the spring semester. At the sessions we will announce the date of sign up. After signing up student will also need to attend a mandatory program orientation.

How does someone become a leader?

Applications for leaders generally become available in March. We only take students from within the program, so the application will be sent out to all interested FYSP participants. Rising sophomores—who participated either semester—may apply to be sophomore leaders, and current sophomore leaders may apply to join the Core Leadership Team, which consists of juniors, seniors, and the Volunteer and Service Learning Center graduate assistant.

What makes FYSP different from other volunteer groups?

The fact that students do not have to apply to join FYSP is the biggest difference from most other volunteer groups. As an organization FYSP believes that all BC first year students should be able to volunteer alongside other students, reflect on their experiences, and get involved in the Boston area. They should be able to do this irrespective of previous experience, their resume, or how well they interview. 

If there is something you could change about the program what would it be?

I think it would be great if FYSP could offer more volunteer opportunities that are closer to campus and after 3pm; those two factors seem to be something freshmen are looking for this year, and we are aiming to have more of both in the spring.


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