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Community Building

Community BuildingTeaming up with local residents, Tufts volunteers from around the country built a playground just down the street from the University’s Medford/Somerville campus. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.30.03] With just a day's work, a large group of volunteers from Tufts and the local area turned an empty yard at a Somerville housing development into a brand new community playground. The build - organized through the University College of Citizenship and Public Service - attracted alumni volunteers from around the country, successfully kicking off the first project in what organizers hope will become a national trend.

"It took six hours of hard labor, but by 3 p.m. on May 17, over 100 alumni from Tufts University, alongside local residents, had constructed a new playground at the Clarendon Hill public housing development," reported The Boston Globe.

The event was organized by the University College of Citizenship and Public Service (UCCPS), a university-wide initiative to promote active citizenship as a part of the Tufts experience. UCCPS worked with KaBoom! -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping communities build safe and accessible neighborhood playgrounds -- to arrange the build.

The organizations were joined by a number of trustees and dozens of Tufts graduates, who played a large part in the construction of the playground at Clarendon Hill.

"Tufts graduates, in town for [Alumni Weekend and] the kickoff of the University College of Citizenship and Public Service alumni outreach campaign, also planted trees and installed two benches in the housing development's new recreation area," reported the Globe.

Area residents and city officials - also a major force in the completion of the project -- joined the Tufts community in commemorating the event.

"Somerville Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay marked the achievement with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which officially opened the swing set, seesaw, slide, and climbing structure for public use," reported the Globe.

Members of the Nia project - an all-black organization founded by Tufts students which focuses on youth mentoring - were especially pleased with the location of the new playground. The group has been working with the Claredon Hill community for years.

Greg Propper, Tufts alumni engagement coordinator, was also happy with the outcome. Propper said he hopes the building of the playground will be as a model for activism and citizenship in communities around the nation.

"If we can start to replicate this in cities and towns across the country, we can do amazing things," Propper told the Globe.

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