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City Days Activities Promote Outreach

By Orli G. Bahcall

Today at Kresge Oval, MIT students will lead 400 fourth through sixth graders from 14 Cambridge public schools in the fourth annual City Days, said Tracy F. Purinton, the event's coordinator.

The Public Service Center began the City Days program three years ago in order to encourage new community outreach programs, Purinton said.

Forty groups, including fraternities, sororities, independent living groups, and nine dormitories, have volunteered to run activities for the visiting Cambridge students, Purinton said.

City Days offers educational events along with sports and crafts, Purinton said. The educational activities focus on the fun that elementary students can have applying what they learn in school, she said.

In one activity, participants will try to package an egg so it will not break after being dropped, Purinton said. Children will also learn how to build the most aerodynamically sound paper airplane, she said.

Guest speakers include Public Service Center Steering Committee Co-Chair John G. Kassakian '65, Assistant for Community Relations in the President's Office Paul Parravano, and a representative of the City of Cambridge, Purinton said. Cambridge Mayor Kenneth Reeves, who is chair of the Cambridge school committee, may also attend City Days, Parravano said.

City Days is a "tremendous collaborative effort between MIT and schools of Cambridge," Parravano said. The program is a "terrific way for the MIT community to show its concern and willingness to be helpful in increasing educational opportunities for the children of Cambridge," he said.

City Days is particularly important for freshman, Purinton said. "The earlier they realize the importance of community service, the more likely they are to get involved," she said.

Purinton said that many neighboring public school students see MIT as an "untouchable thing," as a place "where they build bombs." City Days allows these students to visit MIT for a day and see what the college really has to offer, she said.

Parravano said that since MIT is so strong in education, City Days provides "an opportunity to share the riches MIT has in its talented student body and faculty with teachers and school children."

The Public Service Center planned today's City Days program as a kickoff event for its yearly programs, Purinton said. Many of the center's programs, are geared towards education, she said.

Interested students are invited to continue the connection with the Cambridge students throughout the year, she said.