We conclude this year’s Spotlight on the Honorees series with an interview with Bentley University’s Service-Learning Center. MHSA will honor the Service-Learning Center, along with Joseph V. Roller II and Linda Wood-Boyle, at our 12th Annual Spring Fundraising Event on May 20, 2015.
Bentley University’s mission is to educate creative, ethical, and socially responsible organizational leaders by creating and disseminating impactful knowledge. The Bentley Service-Learning Center (BSLC) is a nationally recognized thought leader in service-learning, student leadership, applied learning, and civic engagement. BSLC student leaders receive intensive professional development and training, focusing on building civic, leadership, and management skills that provide the solid foundation necessary to deliver effective programming models to over 60 community sites throughout the Greater Boston area. With over 100 service-learning courses across disciplines, BSLC provides opportunities for students to address the structural issues captured within the center’s five main focus areas of diversity, elders, poverty, sustainability, and youth.
What motivates the Service-Learning Center’s work to end homelessness?
We are deeply concerned with the structural inequalities in the United States today, the deep chasms between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” and the social outcomes – including homelessness – these inequalities create. It is our focus to work toward the elimination of homelessness by better educating the next generation of civic business leaders, while also doing our part to build strong programs for those who are currently homeless in our community. Working on the challenges our society faces with homelessness is at the very core of Bentley University’s mission “to educate creative, ethical, and socially responsible organizational leaders by creating and disseminating impactful knowledge.”
What role should business principles play in the nonprofit sector?
Business principles, properly and respectfully applied, can indeed have a strong role to play in the nonprofit sector. It is important for business leaders to understand that business models can’t bring the answers, but that business leaders, partnering with civic and activist leaders, can together work toward better understandings of the dynamics of homelessness and, thus, the potential to create better solutions. We hope our students will be this generation’s social entrepreneurs, applying their combined business and liberal studies skills to develop creative and impactful solutions to homelessness, poverty and other pressing problems.
What does this award mean to Bentley University?
We are fully humbled to be receiving this award, and our students, alumni and campus are simply thrilled to have our work acknowledged in such a prestigious manner. For us, it provides a moment of deep reflection on how we can re-up our efforts to create further and deeper programs on homelessness and other deep poverty issues. Words won’t do justice, but we are sincerely honored and appreciative.