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Tufts Reaches Out To Community

Tufts Reaches Out To CommunityAtthe third annual meeting between Tufts and members of the localnon-profit community, both sides hailed the value of university-communitypartnerships. Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.28.05] As part of its continuing dialogue with members ofthe surrounding community, Tufts officials met with communityleaders on Feb. 16 at the third annual Presidential Symposium,entitled "Partnering for Community Impact." While evaluatingthe current success of local partnerships between the Universityand community groups, both sides looked forward to future progress.

"Howcan we do better?" asked Tufts President Lawrence S. Bacow,according to the Medford Transcript. The symposium wasco-sponsored by the UniversityCollege of Citizenship and Public Service (UCCPS) and TuftsCommunity Relations.

The answer,many agreed, was to build upon the strong collaborations betweenthe University and community already in place.

Rusty Russell,director of field-based education in the Departmentof Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, cited projectsinvolving affordable housing, local environmental concerns suchas the Mystic River, and expanded bicycle and pedestrian access.Other programs underway include an anthropology program whereTufts students are exploring the history of West Medford.

By findingnew ways to connect students and faculty with local communityinitiatives, Russell believes much more can be done.

Tufts professorMolly Mead agrees, according to the Transcript.

"We workwith faculty to get them to teach more community-based coursesand conduct more community-based research," Mead said, explainingthe ways in which Tufts’ UCCPS is focused on community partnerships.

Other panelistsincluded child development professor Maryanne Wolf and civil engineeringprofessor Chris Swan.

The communityleaders in attendance spoke warmly of Tufts' activities.

"I heara lot from people in the community, 'Wouldn't it be so wonderfulif,' then Tufts comes forward and says, 'Well, we have this tooffer,'" Diane McLeod, diversity director at Medford'sOffice of Human Diversity and Compliance, told the Transcript.

McLeod, describingthe value of Tufts service at community organizations, said thestudents with whom she had worked were "free-thinking, motivatedand fabulous."

"If itweren't for them, I don't think we would have achieved this much,"Lisa O'Loughlin, president of Medford Health Matters and executivedirector of the Greater Medford Visiting Nurses Association, saidof Tufts students, the Transcript reported.

The Transcriptquoted Rob Hollister, dean of UCCPS, as saying that the symposium'sgoal was to "benchmark progress and improve university-communitypartnerships."

The meetingcomes after last May's agreement between the University and thecities of Medford and Somerville to boost Tufts' investment andinvolvement in its neighboring communities.

This pastfall, Tufts also began putting into motion its 15-year campusplan, developed in cooperation with both Medford and Somervilleto keep the needs of the cities in mind.

“Tuftsvalues its longstanding relationship with the cities of Medfordand Somerville,” President Bacow said during September 2004'sCommunity Day celebration,where local residents came on campus to enjoy lectures, performancesand other events.







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