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Students Help Make Playground Dreams a Reality
Playground construction became a lesson on service, as Bentley students traded laptops and books for wrenches and shovels. On September 17, they worked alongside volunteers from Brandeis University, the Waltham Housing Authority, the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution, UnitedHealthcare, and organizers from national nonprofit KaBOOM! to build the play space at Prospect Hill Terrace low-income housing development in Waltham, Mass. The playground is part of the Bentley Service-Learning Center’s largest community partner initiative: a 5,000-square-foot community center at Prospect Hill Terrace.
“The community center will provide big-picture learning initiatives — afterschool tutoring, computer programming, job skill training, social enterprise skills, and more,” says BSLC Director Jonathan White. “And, of course, kids need a safe and healthy place to play, so this playground will not only provide that but also a place of pride for the community because the kids were the ones who designed it.”
For Bentley, White adds, Prospect Hill will offer a tremendous new community partner site for Service-Learning students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world.
The community center, slated for completion in October, has become a vehicle for community partnerships. Bentley partnered with Brandeis University, the residents of Prospect Hill, and the City of Waltham, which provided a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
“It was truly inspiring to see complete strangers working together so passionately in order to ensure the success of the project and to create one of the coolest playgrounds I’ve ever seen,” says Bentley senior Brian Shea. “This isn’t the end, though. Our hope is that this playground build is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between Bentley, Brandeis and Prospect Hill.”
In addition to providing opportunities for local community members, there is a broader goal: to establish a national model for civic engagement that will encourage universities to partner with each other, with local municipalities, and with local and national agencies to create successful initiatives for social change.
“It was truly inspiring to see complete strangers working together so passionately in order to ensure the success of the project and to create one of the coolest playgrounds I’ve ever seen. This isn’t the end, though. Our hope is that this playground build is just the beginning of a long-term relationship between Bentley, Brandeis and Prospect Hill.”
BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu.
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In this 25th anniversary video, explore what makes the Bentley Service-Learning Center's classroom to community model so special.