The Leaders for Manufacturing and the System Design and Management Programs have a tradition of dedication towards public service and applying leadership, management, and service skills in arenas outside of the classroom. This Pro-Seminar provides one such avenue to achieve this goal through the optional service project.

Community Service Project Descriptions

Here are short descriptions of projects that many Pro-Seminar students have done in the past and are available through the MIT Public Service Center.

MIT Habitat for Humanity

  • MIT Habitat for Humanity, as a campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity International, is a non-denominational student-led group. MIT Habitat seeks to raise awareness in the MIT community about poverty housing issues, and to encourage participation in service events. MIT Habitat supports local HFH affiliates through volunteer labor and fundraising.
  • Habitat for Humanity International, founded in 1976, is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all walks of life to work together in partnership to help build houses with families in need.
  • Habitat has built more than 70,000 houses around the world, providing over 350,000 people in more than 2,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

The Giving Tree

  • The Giving Tree offers the opportunity for MIT students, faculty and staff to provide gifts to needy children in the Cambridge and Boston area. Working with over 15 local agencies that provide them with the names, ages, genders and specific gift requests of over 1500 children, they match each child with a student, faculty or staff member. This method makes the gift-giving process more personalized and rewarding for all those involved.

KEYS (Keys to Empowering Youth)

  • KEYS is a motivational program for 11 to 13 year old girls. It provides them with an opportunity to meet women studying and working in science and other "non-traditional'' fields, women who would like to share their experiences and ideas.
  • KEYS is a project of the Public Service Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It brings together the talents and life experiences of MIT students, staff, and faculty and the developing goals and dreams of girls in the greater Boston area.
  • KEYS is possible through the work of the MIT Public Service Center, MIT women student volunteers, and the support of parents who send their children to our program.


  • LINKS was started in the fall of 1992 as one of the follow-through components of CityDays in an ongoing and cooperative effort bringing MIT students into the schools to supplement Math and Science education. MIT volunteers commit 1-3 hours a week to work in Cambridge elementary school classrooms with children grades K-8. The semester-long program takes place during the fall and spring semesters and is coordinated by MIT students with the support of the Public Service Center.


  • ReachOut - Looking at reading scores across the country, it is clear that kids are struggling with reading. In Boston Public Schools, only 6% of 4th graders were considered "proficient" readers and in Cambridge Public Schools, only 10% of 4th graders were considered "proficient" readers, according to the scores of the 2000 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test. A national AmericaReads program was implemented at over a thousand colleges and universities in 1997.
  • ReachOut is the MIT branch of this program. Co-sponsored by the MIT Public Service Center and the MIT Student Employment Office, ReachOut recruits, trains, and matches tutors with children identified as needing help with reading.


  • CommuniTech is an initiative at MIT that attempts to bridge the Digital Divide -- the perceived gap between those who have access to the latest information technologies and those who do not. When it began, CommuniTech's main focus was gathering old computers, refurbishing them, and giving them to people without access to computers. With that piece in place, CommuniTech found their job only half finished. To truly connect and empower people through technology they found that simply giving people computers was not enough. They also had to make people feel comfortable using their new computers as well.
  • CommuniTech approaches this second issue from three angles through UCF (MIT Used Computer Factory), FACT (Families Accessing Computer Technology) and CONNECT.
    • UCF is a group of volunteers who refurbish computer hardware together for donation to local needy families.
    • FACT shows families the functionality of the computer in their lives. It accomplishes this by walking families through the basics of a computer and mainstream programs, such as Microsoft® Word and Microsoft® Excel. Each family is matched with one MIT student who meets with the family once a week for half a semester. At the end of the sessions, the families receive their own refurbished computer.
    • CONNECT is a program that strives to excite children about computers. MIT students visit three after-school programs to teach classes covering Web Publishing and Graphics. Kids are given the opportunity to make a Web site devoted to whatever they like. By showing kids how to use the computer to express their interests and creativity, CONNECT hopes to nurture a lasting curiosity and love for computers.

MIT Cambridge Science Expo

  • MIT Cambridge Science Expo - The Science Expo is much more than a science fair. It is an opportunity for 7th and 8th grade students from 14 different Cambridge schools to meet, talk to, and have fun with student volunteers from MIT. Each year, between two and three hundred Cambridge School kids visit the campus to showcase their science projects and explore some of MIT's laboratories, museums, and departments.
  • Over 100 MIT students volunteer at the Science Expo each year. These students motivate young scientists in their exploration of science and education by discussing their projects with them and acting as role models throughout the day. Through the Expo, kids discover that the study of science and technology can be interesting and that learning can be fun.

Additional Projects being Investigated

Other Projects are Acceptable too!

  • Walk For Hunger / Race For A Cure Logistics and Operations
  • Etc.

Community Service Project Reports

  • Each student is required to prepare a one-page report on the service project experience ("what the program goals were, what was done, what was learned") at the end of the spring semester with a short interim report at the end of the fall semester.
  • Each student is asked to develop an informal 5 minute presentation on their project. We will use a session in the spring for this.
  • Team projects are encouraged.

The goal should be a document we can pass on to the next class to guide them in valuable areas to do community service. The summary should include what they did, how rewarding was the experience, and contact information for the organization.