The MIT Public Service Center 30+ Years Later

The Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center (PKG Center) has been the epicenter of public service at MIT for over 30 years. Earlier this year, we partnered with the MIT Alumni Association to present how public service initiatives within the PKG Center and across the Institute have evolved over these past three decades, and to showcase the impressive efforts of the students we serve today.

Jill Bassett, Associate Dean and Director of the PKG Center, began the presentation by giving a brief history of public service at MIT. For much of its history, the PKG Public Service Center was housed in the Division of Student Life and much of the work focused on planning “days of service” for students to participate in, which included activities such as cleaning up the Charles River or volunteering at a food bank. As of 2018, the PKG Center moved to the Office of the Vice Chancellor, the academic side of MIT, and evolved its programming to be aligned with MIT academic activities, to create public service opportunities that are both mutually beneficial to community partners and students’ academic and career goals.  

An exemplary representation of the academic alignment of public service initiatives at the PKG Center today is our partnership with the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF). Alex Linkow, CLF’s Senior Associate of Impact Investment, spoke about the decade-long partnership of hosting PKG students, which is now known as our Social Impact Internship program. PKG Social Impact Internships connect MIT undergraduate students with full-time, challenging opportunities working with community partners that yield significant impact and support student career exploration. These opportunities deepen students’ analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills by applying what they learn in the classroom skills to address real-world social or environmental challenges.

Watch the full video below to hear directly from three PKG Social Impact Interns who have made an impact in the climate justice space through their work with CLF.

Interested in making an impact while honing the skills you are learning in the classroom and gaining real-world experience addressing social and environmental challenges? Learn more about our Social Impact Internship opportunities with CLF and many other community partners here!

Tags: Climate Change, Health, Social Impact Internships

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