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Serving as “a pressure multiplier for good”

“At MIT, we consider that public service might be—and ought to be—as intense, significant, and intellectually rigorous as educational work. MIT alumni assist convey this philosophy … that serving others will not be an exercise separate from educational {and professional} pursuits; it’s a very important aspect of a clever, artistic life.” 

Institute president L. Rafael Reif shared these ideas with alumni volunteers throughout a session on the 2021 Alumni Management Convention (ALC), the place the MIT Alumni Affiliation (MITAA) formally launched its MIT Alumni Higher World Service Initiative. Equal elements networking website, workspace, challenge aggregator, and storytelling platform, this initiative connects MIT alumni working to make a greater world via volunteer efforts in local weather and sustainability, human well being, STEM training, social justice and fairness, and extra. 

“MIT individuals are stressed, perpetually trying to make use of our minds and fingers—and hearts—to unravel issues, large and small,” says Annalisa Weigel ’94, ’95, SM ’00, PhD ’02, the Affiliation’s 127th president. “By means of the service initiative, we hope to shine the sunshine on the alumni who’re making tangible impacts of their careers and via volunteering their time and skills in significant service tasks.” 

By means of a digital platform hosted by the MITAA, the initiative permits alumni to speak about their efforts with friends across the globe. There are three principal methods to take part. Alumni are invited to submit tasks they’re engaged on to raise their visibility and enlist others curious about taking part. Alumni who’re searching for to get entangled in a brand new volunteer alternative can search present tasks by kind of trigger to search out methods to share their expertise and information. Lastly, the Affiliation is enlisting “service ambassadors,” or volunteers who can work throughout the community of practically 143,000 alumni to construct extra assist for the tasks. 

Inspiring others to motion 

Whereas the MIT Alumni Higher World Service Initiative is a brand new endeavor, serving the group has been a pillar of the MIT alumni expertise because the Institute’s first lessons. The Affiliation itself was shaped in 1875 “to additional the well-being of the Institute within the college and one another.” Later, in 1896, the Affiliation of Class Secretaries grew to become one of many MITAA’s first volunteer teams, and the efforts to trace the historical past of the lessons and maintain their members united proceed right this moment, within the pages of this publication. 

Whereas the Institute has benefited from a major corps of advocates—throughout the lifetime of the MIT Marketing campaign for a Higher World, greater than 27,000 alumni and mates served as volunteers—the brand new initiative focuses on the world past campus. (See the sidebar at proper for latest examples of alumni in motion.) The custom will probably be additional honored when the Affiliation bestows its inaugural MIT Alumni Higher World Service Award this spring on a person whose service efforts provide inspiration to alumni friends. 

With the launch of the MIT Alumni Higher World Service Initiative, the MITAA hopes that examples of excellence will spur others to share, join, and elevate their particular person contributions, combining forces for a better affect.  

“The Affiliation’s final imaginative and prescient is ‘to interact and encourage the worldwide MIT group to make a greater world,’” says Whitney T. Espich, the Affiliation’s chief government officer. “If we wish to fulfill that promise, we have to be harnessing all of the factors of vitality, and that features factoring within the exponential energy of our alumni in service to others. As they did as college students, MIT alumni working collectively can proceed to be a pressure multiplier for good.” 

Highlight on Service

The custom of service to others runs all through the historical past of the MIT alumni group. Some latest examples:

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