Mike Stone, A07, is leading the way in providing service opportunities and social occasions for Tufts alumni to carry their civic and Jumbo spirit beyond the gates of campus. A co-chair of the Active Citizens of Tufts (ACT) Boston, Stone is helping find new opportunities for graduates to build relationships with community organizations, and is looking for ways to connect alumni with the civic work of current students and faculty.
Each year, the group selects a theme around which to organize events and service opportunities. This year’s theme is education and literacy, and the planning committee is working with the Elliot-Pearson Department of Child Development in the School of Arts and Sciences to identify and partner with community organizations. Elliot-Pearson Professor and Tisch College faculty member Maryanne Wolf will deliver the keynote address at ACT Boston’s second annual charity gala on Saturday, February 2.
“The gala is fancy yet affordable,” said Stone. “Last year we had great success getting donations from some of Tufts’ favorite restaurants like Redbones, as well as Basil Tree Catering, which was started by an alumna. The silent auction will feature tickets to upcoming shows and events in the Boston area, and meals at great places. Social events and active citizenship are not mutually exclusive, they’re both more powerful and more fun when you can bring them together.”
During his time as an undergraduate, Stone worked on a number of media literacy and education projects, many as a Tisch Scholar for Citizenship and Public Service. Working with a Medford after school program, he developed a curriculum and taught students to develop media literacy by learning news production. That experience led him to the Experimental College’s course Producing Films for Social Change, a course supported by Tisch College and one of the many courses on Tisch College’s Active Citizenship in the Curriculum guide.
“My film was about a bill that was then before the Massachusetts legislature that would have allowed undocumented students to pay the in-state rate at public colleges,” said Stone. “That issue became a way to explore what it means to be an American post-9/11. I included immigration reform groups, the backlash against immigrants, and the voices of high-school valedictorians who couldn’t access higher-education without the in-state rate. The skills I learned – pitching, telling a story, editing – have all proved essential to my work today, and the course really connected the classroom to the community.”
“Tufts teaches you to think about social implications, how to take what you learn in the classroom into practice and think through impacts,” Stone continued. “Tisch College and the Scholar’s program were incredibly formative, and active citizenship is intrinsic to my personal and professional life.”
ACT Boston is devoted to helping alumni be involved in their communities, and with one another. Last year the theme was nutrition, and members worked with Future Chefs, a non-profit that provides culinary education for urban youth in greater Boston. More recent activities have included a book donation drive for area schools, and a holiday party for foster children. Stone aims to build on these relationships, and forge new ones between alumni and current students.
“On the hill, Tufts students work with a diverse array of community organizations,” he said. “We want to have more alumni volunteers working with current undergraduates, and add a new layer of interaction that forms meaningful relationships, threading together pre-professional preparation, mentorship, and active citizenship. Alumni want to be involved, and we want to provide ample programming.”
For more information about ACT Boston and the gala, visitACTBoston.com or email Mike directly at Michael.Stone@alumni.tufts.edu