For over 30 years, the PKG Center has been the epicenter of public service at MIT.
Public service is a springboard to take your learning beyond the classroom into communities around the world through internships, fellowships, and public service projects. Connect with people and organizations working to make social, environmental, and technological changes that are building a better world. We provide guidance—and often funding— to get you out there, working side-by-side with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and social enterprises that are driving these changes locally, nationally, and globally.
Our programs are rigorous, immersive, and designed to fit in with your busy schedule. Stop by our office (W20-549) or check out one of our upcoming events to find out how you can use your skills, your creativity, and your ingenuity to advance the world, one project at a time.
At the PKG Center, we help you to connect with a wide variety of public service projects in local, national, and global communities. We also provide guidance — and often funding — for your project.
While we work with undergraduate and graduate students across all disciplines, we are primarily focused on three areas:
- Climate Change
- Tech for Social Good
In addition, racial justice permeates these themes. Communities of color are consistently and disproportionately negatively impacted by risks of climate change, health inequities, and issues related to tech, such as algorithmic injustices and limited access to technology.
The PKG Center taps and expands MIT students’ unique skills and interests to prepare them to explore and address complex social and environmental challenges. We educate students to collaborate ethically and effectively with community partners to engage in meaningful public service, today and in their lives beyond MIT.
RESPECT AND RECIPROCITY: We recognize and value the knowledge that exists in communities, and strive to treat all of our partners with respect.
Public service projects should be driven by community-identified needs, developed through open communication and shared decisionmaking, and mutually beneficial.
RIGOR AND REFLECTION: Public service should be undertaken with the same careful preparation and critical thinking that MIT students bring to their academic endeavors. Reflection—on one’s motivation to serve, on the communities being served, and on one’s positionality within that community—is essential to ethical and effective service.
DIVERSITY AND DIFFERENCE: Communities are not merely one-dimensional repositories of need or homes to “problems” to be solved by MIT students. They are complex places, full of assets, stories, and knowledge. We practice and encourage openness to new ideas because we see diversity as a strength. We embrace differences where we find them through respectful curiosity, careful listening, and humility.
Racial justice is foundational to our values at the PKG Center. We recognize that people of all identities have lived experiences that are valuable in public service and social and environmental change. We welcome and encourage all students and community stakeholders as partners in our efforts. We as the PKG Center, and as a part of MIT, have much more to do to advance racial justice. This is ongoing work, for expansion and iteration
Read the PKG Center’s Strategic Plan online (released May 2018), or click to download the plan.