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A Nice Way To Say Goodbye

A Nice Way To Say GoodbyeAmidst the flurry of social outings and goodbyes that define Senior Week, one group of graduating Tufts seniors set aside time to give backto the community.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.18.05] Typically, Tufts’ Senior Week activities include a mix of day trips, evening socials and Tufts traditions designed to give soon-to-be-graduates time to hang out with their friends before Commencement weekend. But for about 70 seniors who spent a day beautifying a Medford park, part of the celebration entailed taking time to give back to the community.

''During Senior Week, as you might expect, most of the activities that take place are purely social," Tufts community relations director Barbara Rubel told The Boston Globe. ''Here's a group of graduating seniors who thought it was an important statement to make that even during Senior Week, having a community service project is a great thing to do."

The project aimed to help renovate the Condon Band Shell along the Mystic River in Medford by painting a mural and doing some gardening.The theme of the mural is '"Over the River and Through the Woods," based on the famous song written by a Medford native.

The Tufts students' work is part of a larger effort to rehabilitate the area.

''People who have lived in Medford their whole lives said they used to come down there a lot, but there was vandalism and because of the pollution in the river, there was no vegetation around," Harper told the Globe. "The river used to be really nasty, and they cleaned it up."

While the goal is to facilitate a new gathering place for the community, Hersh hopes Tufts students will take advantage of the area, as well.

''This park is about a 10-minute walk from Tufts, and 95 percent of the students don't know it exists," he told the newspaper.

In the coming months, more development at the site will add signs explaining the city's history and the area's indigenous wildlife.

The day of work was capped with a picnic and evening concert for the students and the community by Afro-Cuban jazz fusion group La Musica Caliente, headed by Tufts jazz instructor Joel LaRue Smith.

The service project, coordinated by seniors Eitan Hersh and Morgan Harper, was funded with a grant from the University College of Citizenship and Public Service.

''The scholarship program helps the university create students who think it is important to be thoughtful citizens," Hersh reflected in the Globe.

For the organizers, the cleanup isn't just a one-day deal.

"We're hoping and envisioning that this will be something that Medford will be able to use long after we're gone," Harper told the Globe.

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