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Business Officer Magazine

Facelifts for Two Schools

On a beautiful sunny day in Boston after weeks of nearly nonstop rain, NACUBO business officers, corporate partners, and Boston College coordinators gave up their opportunity for golf and tourist activities, choosing instead to serve the community. Approximately 80 NACUBO volunteers gathered to help refurbish two local Boston schools, Jackson Mann K–8 School and St. Columbkille Partnership School.

The project planning began early last November when Bill Dillon from NACUBO, Kathryn Hildreth from TIAA-CREF, and Al Travaglini from Boston College had a vision to provide a major facelift to two local elementary schools. During hundreds of hours, they coordinated a plan to repaint public areas, construct new education and recreation spaces, and involve the students from each school in the preparation of two large murals.

One special feature of this year's project was the involvement of Boston College professor and well-known local muralist, Mark Cooper. Coauthor of Making Art Together: How Collaborative Art-Making Can Transform Kids, Classrooms, and Communities (Beacon Press, 2007), Cooper oversaw the creation of a mosaic mural from more than 700 individual tiles prepared in advance by individual students at the Jackson Mann School.

NACUBO volunteers received their team assignments at breakfast, divided into eight teams with color-coded shirts, boarded buses to the schools, and went off to work. Reaching for their artistic side, everyone approached the work with energy and excitement.

Volunteers who chose to participate in the service project had come to NACUBO's annual meeting from as far away as the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and the College of the Marshall Islands. All found satisfaction in their efforts. Charles Tegen from Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, observed, “It's great to be able to help sustain a legacy in this Boston neighborhood. I feel that we are leaving our mark here.” Lynn Coleman from Howard Community College, Columbia, Maryland, added, “I can't think of a better way to spend a day.”

TIAA-CREF provided both oversight and overall funding for this project. ARAMARK Higher Education donated manpower, lunches, and snacks. E&I Cooperative joined with partner Global International to provide the furnishings for the Jackson Mann student learning laboratory. Representatives from ARAMARK and TIAA-CREF joined the NACUBO volunteers, school staff, and students to complete the work.

Perhaps the best indicator of success came in a message from Michael A. McCarthy, head of St. Columbkille's. He wrote in a post-event thank you, “The volunteers were extremely positive and energetic and seemed happy to be there, which is not always the case with a service project. Our students actually thought that 'all those people acted as if they were connected to our school.' All around, it was a very positive and beneficial experience!”

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