Outreach Program Joins MIT, YoungstersBy Hyun Soo Kim
Education Outreach, sponsored by the Public Service Center, has initiated partnerships between five MIT fraternities and sororities and five Cambridge elementary schools. The program is a follow-up to the City Days events held in early September.
Kappa Alpha Theta, Zeta Psi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Beta Epsilon, and Chi Phi will each help its partner school through tutoring, after-school sports, trips to the Museum of Science, and other creative activities.
"We are not trying to solve the social problems of Cambridge. We are not trying to stop crime by reaching out to kids at Cambridge. We are trying to get MIT to reach out to the community. Math and science education is important. It makes sense for MIT students to work on it," said Mark Duggan G, an organizer of the program.
A unique feature of Education Outreach is the freedom that participating living groups have in planning activities. Since Cambridge elementary schools don't have a budget for after-school sports, some living groups are planning sports activities. "We want to show kids that people who do well in school can be fun people to hang around with. We can be the ideal role model. Young people can establish more of a bond," Duggan said.
Another focus of the program is promoting science and math education in the elementary schools through tutoring, seminars, and other activities. Students in living groups and other students can set up times during the week in which they go to the schools and help as student teachers or tutors. The program is flexible; the only time requirement is one visit a week to a school.
"[The program] will make people here more well-rounded. It will make students become more involved in the community. It will be beneficial for all involved," said Jee Y. Ahn '93, another program organizer.
Education Outreach coordinators expressed concern about the lack of female students in the program. Ahn said, "The normal social expectation is that men can do math and science and women can't. If kids see only men going to the elementary schools, it reinforces this view."
Program coordinators hope to include 13 living groups in Education Outreach by the spring term.
Interested students can attend an Education Outreach organizational meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 in the West Lounge of the Student Center.