PSC to Restructure by Fall '07

Public Service Center Passes Programs to Student Groups, Depts.

The Public Service Center is currently undergoing a restructuring that will be complete in the fall. Several PSC programs are going to be passed over into the hands of student groups, who will then run the programs with occasional help from the PSC.

Finding new homes for these programs will allow the PSC time to help students find good matches for suitable volunteering positions instead of having to solely concentrate on running the programs, said Heather A. Trickett, volunteer and outreach coordinator for the PSC.

Programs that already have new student homes include Keys to Empowering Youth (a program that brings 11–13 year old girls together with MIT female students to participate in workshops throughout the year), which the MIT Society of Women Engineers have taken over this semester, and CommuniTech (a program that provides refurbished computers and training to use those computers to families), which is moving to the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab in the fall. ReachOut (a program which trains reading tutors for children), concurrently run by the PSC and Student Employment Office, will be passed over completely to SEO in the fall.

Also to be taken over by SWE, Women in Science and Engineering is a relatively new program being modeled after KEYs. (WiSE is designed to increase interest in engineering and science among high school girls.) A pilot of the program involving 60 high school girls was tested last fall.

Other programs, including, SciPro, iMath, and MathCounts are still in the process of being taken over.

Next year, the PSC plans to offer program management training to the service groups taking on ownership of these programs, Trickett said. This training will teach student leaders about volunteer recruitment, publicity, fundraising, and proposal writing.

Trickett said she hopes this new restructuring will open up the PSC to a broader community and connect service groups across campus. She also said she hopes to receive more student feedback on how to better implement this transition.