Service, Citizenship, and Tisch College
Tufts has a reputation for shaping active citizens who give back to the communities of which they are a part, whether those communities are local, national, global, or virtual. Driven by the ideals of human rights and democratic participation, active citizens take responsibility for improving conditions and addressing social challenges in their world.
Tisch College Programs & Funds
Tufts alumni Pierre and Pam Omidyar (Pierre co-founded eBay) created the Tufts University College of Citizenship and Public Service in 2000 to act as a conduit for students to address community challenges and enhance Tufts’ leadership in the area of active citizenship. In 2006, the school was expanded and renamed the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. In 2016, the school was renamed again to the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. The mission of Tisch College is to prepare Tufts students for lifetimes of active citizenship to build stronger communities and societies. Tisch College pursues this mission by creating, supporting, and encouraging courses and programs that enable students to build and practice civic knowledge, skills, and habits.
Citizenship & Public Service Scholars
More than 20 students each year are accepted into this program, which extends from spring semester first year through senior year. After a fall application process, students take a course titled “Education for Active Citizenship” in the spring. The following fall, they work on local community projects, with advisors and site supervisors. Juniors and seniors develop projects that match their passions, locally, nationally or internationally. All scholars meet weekly for skills workshops, community building and debate over current issues, and they participate in annual retreats to start the year. Undergraduates may apply for this program in the fall of their first or second year.
CIRCLE (Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
Founded in 2001, CIRCLE is the leading source of authoritative research on civic and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25 and serves as a clearinghouse on related information and scholarship. CIRCLE moved to Tisch College in July 2008.
In the fall of 2010, Tufts students helped to bridge the gap between traditional community organizing and online organizing through social networks in a new class, “Facebook, Social Networking, and Community Organizing.” Part of a three-year project on using social media to increase civic participation, the course is supported by the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS).
Tisch College, Tufts University Alumni Association (TUAA), and the Office of Undergraduate Education support a common book program for all incoming students. Recent books have included This I Believe: Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and All Souls, A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick McDonald. It is common for lectures and discussions to occur throughout the semester to examine the themes in the book.
Media & Public Service Program (MPS)
A joint program of Tisch College and Communications & Media Studies, MPS offers a sequence of courses on using the media to effect social change. Courses may be taken in sequence and form a minor within CMS, or as individual courses. Included are Media Literacy & Social Change, Producing Films for Social Change, Social Marketing, and News From the Inside & Out.
Institute for Political Citizenship (IPC)
The Institute for Political Citizenship (IPC) is an undergraduate-run program that seeks to facilitate intellectual policy discussion on campus and engage members of the Tufts community at all levels of the political process. The IPC hosts the Policy Forum, a weekly roundtable dialogue with notable guests, in addition to overseeing an internship program, GOTV efforts, and other special events such as social outings, leadership development workshops, conferences, and research trips.
Lincoln Filene Center for Community Partnerships (LFC)
LFC, a center within Tisch College, facilitates effective university-community partnerships for social change in Tufts host communities of Somerville, Medford, Boston’s Chinatown, and Grafton. Students interested in service, research, or advocacy can draw on LFC resource to identify and develop effective partnerships.
The Student Teacher Outreach and Mentorship Program (STOMP) is sponsored through Tisch College and the Center for Engineering Educational Outreach in the School of Engineering. This program promotes engineering education in K–12 settings by providing undergraduate and graduate engineering students to support classrooms and after-school programs.
Tisch Civic Engagement Fund
Funding is available to student groups, organizations, and individuals for civic engagement projects, programs, and research. Eligible projects must be based on community needs, and can be new or ongoing initiatives.
Tisch Active Citizenship Summer
Students apply for summer stipends of up to $3,500 for summer internships. Opportunities include projects in Somerville, Mass., in mayoral offices across the country through a joint program with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, alumni mentored internships in Washington, D.C., or self-designed projects internationally.
Service Opportunities in Boston's Chinatown
The Tufts Chinatown Partnership works collaboratively with the Chinatown Coalition, community-based organizations, and public agencies and schools to develop projects that address community needs as well as educational goals for Tufts students. Chinatown serves as a cultural, social, and economic hub and is also a social service center for the area’s Chinese and Asian residents.
Home to Tufts’ School of Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy, and the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences, Chinatown presents unique opportunities for collaborative work. Student projects have focused on tutoring, youth development, arts and cultural programs, fundraising assistance, land development, voter education and registration, social justice issues, and more.
Leonard Carmichael Society (LCS)
The Leonard Carmichael Society is a student volunteer organization that encourages participation in, and provides opportunities for, volunteerism in and around the Tufts community. With a volunteer corps of over 1,000 and a student staff of 85, LCS serves as an umbrella organization for 40 different programs.