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MIT Event Focuses On Racial Awareness

By Sharmin Ghaznavi

On Tuesday, nearly 160 MITstudents representing 23 student living groups, dormitories, and organizations gathered in front of Kresge Auditorium for the SCORE '97 community service event. SCORE stands for Service in the Community Oriented Toward Race Relations Enhancement.

SCORE is one of MIT's largest community service events, second only to City Days.

SCORE was started three years ago by members of the Sigma Chi fraternity. They "recognized that there are many different racial groups on campus, but that they don't do anything together," said Charles C. Wykoff '98, the chair of the event.

The day of community service events was designed to allow students to work together to form bonds that transcend racial and cultural barriers, he said.

This year also marked the first time that the MITchapter of the Order of Omega, the National Greek Leadership Honor Society, organized the event.

Event stresses race relations

The day began with breakfast for the volunteers, followed by a speech from the keynote speaker, Rev. Sam Ward, the outreach representative for the 10 Point Coalition. The 10 Point Coalition has served disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout Boston for the past five years. Ward spoke about the importance of service to the community and encouraged volunteers to make service a lifelong commitment.

Volunteers were then organized into groups randomly to help individuals from different ethnic groups and living groups interact with each other. They began with an icebreaker and then moved on to discussing race relations. Managing the discussion for each group were two group leaders.

A two-hour training session on Monday prepared leaders for managing discussions on the difficult subject of race relations. Leaders were to start and mediate discussions on race, so they were taught how to initiate a discussion and keep it going, as well as on how to keep it on track toward a positive outcome that would bring the group together.

Following the discussion, groups went off to different sites to begin their community service projects. In total, 14 sites were chosen. SCORE organizers chose sites based on their proximity and on the organizations' willingness to have SCOREvolunteers for the day.

The organizations included a number of local food pantries, food banks, homeless shelters, and community service centers. At most sites, volunteers contributed by cleaning and painting.

Support for the project was provided by the MITCommunity Service Fund, the Public Service Center, the Coop, and the Timberland Cooperation.

The day's events concluded at 4:30 p.m., though group leaders were encouraged to invite members of their group to dinner to continue their discussions or just spend time together.

Students enjoy SCORE

SCORE participants were enthusiastic about the project, and said that it had increased interaction between different groups. Many participants spoke of how they appreciated the opportunity to meet new people.

"I have met people I would not have otherwise met," said Kanae Mukai '98.

"It was a really good opportunity to let groups that might not have the opportunity to interact, to get together and interact and help the community," said Lindsay Androski '98.

"[SCORE] has very good goals in mind, and it was very organized," said Robert W. Chan '98.