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500 MIT students to volunteer for public service at Cambridge, Boston non-profits

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Working in teams of 10, about 500 MIT students will devote four hours apiece Thursday to public service volunteer work at non-profit organizations in Cambridge and Boston.

The Franklin Park Zoo, the Cambridge Community Center and the the Cambridge YMCA are three of more than 20 service sites to be visited.

CityDays, an annual event in its eighth year, is organized by the MIT Public Service Center (PSC), which coordinates community service activities for MIT students throughout the year.

The teams are made up of freshman and upper-class students from fraternities, sororities, and various student groups. The day begins at 9am on Kresge Oval on the MIT Campus. Students will be greeted by State Representative Jarrett Barrios of Cambridgeport, and Paul Parravano, co-director of the MIT Office of Government and Community Relations. Rebecca Onie, founder of Project HEALTH (Helping Empower, Advocate and Lead Through Health), will address the students before sending them out into the community.

CityDays is a part of the Public Service Center's effort to build a sense of community between Cambridge/Boston and MIT. Other PSC programming during the year includes mentoring, science enrichment, and fellowship programs.

Sophomore Trisha McAndrew is the MIT CityDays coordinator. "Our goal is to make sure that both the students and the community benefit from CityDays," said Ms. McAndrew, who worked through the summer with community agencies, MIT staff, and students to arrange the event.

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