Chinatown gate Chinatown is situated in the heart of Boston and is one of the most densely populated sections of the city, with residents and business coexisting in its brick buildings. Home to the Tufts School of Medicine, Tufts School of Dental Medicine, and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Chinatown presents unique opportunities for collaborative work between these graduate schools and the community. Student projects have focused on tutoring, youth development, arts and cultural programs, fundraising assistance, land development, voter education and registration, social justice issues, and more.

Students Build Bridges between Tufts and the Chinatown Community: On Thursday May 5, Tufts students in the Building Bridges Program shared lessons they had learned from a year of immersion in the Chinatown community. Students performed skits, reflected on newly found knowledge, and recounted their experiences through a slide show to members of both the Tufts and Chinatown community.

Tisch College Partners with K-12 Schools: The Tisch College and the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Chinatown presented the lessons learned through their partnership at the Emerson College Community Partnership Summit: Re-Imagining the Village.

Citizenship and Public Service Scholars

Tisch College Citizenship and Public Service Scholars have been working on several projects in Chinatown, each student contributing 8 hours a week to citizenship projects identified by community organizations. Learn more.

Power of Photos (POP): Scholars My Phan and Annie Ross are implementing a new after-school program at the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Chinatown. They are teaching photography to inner-city youth and showing them how photographs can represent their experiences and their culture. The program will promote social/cultural awareness, encourage personal and intellectual growth, and strengthen the arts programs at the school.

Scholar Lilly Schofield is organizing educational seminars at the South Cove Community Health Center—New England’s premier primary and preventive health center for Asian Americans. The goal of the seminars is to educate people in the Chinatown area about women’s social justice issues and encourage them to get involved with local policy development.

Working with the Greater Boston Legal Services Asian Outreach Unit, Scholar Angela Lee is helping low-income Chinese immigrants gain access to legal services. She is assisting with client intake, case research, and case follow-ups. She is also working to revive and develop the Campaign to Protect Chinatown news bulletin, which helps residents stay up to date on development issues.

Operating as a team, Scholars Daniel Grant and Kayt Norris are raising political awareness and participation in the Josiah Quincy Upper School in Chinatown. Their goal is to provide resources for interested students in grades 9-11 and encourage them to learn more about politics, civic education, and public service.

Learn more about current Scholar projects.

Tisch Active Citizen Summer Fellows Program (ACS)

Chinatown STOMP ACS provides support to students who are taking an active role as committed public citizens to build stronger communities. To be considered for funding, a student must submit an application and a proposal detailing a partnership with a local organization. Learn more.

Last summer, senior Alex Sherman worked with the Friends of the Mystic River on their invasive plant management program to remove Japanese Knotweed from the banks of the river in Medford. For more information about Mystic River projects, please see our Mystic Watershed Collaborative page.

Tisch Civic Engagement Fund

This Fund was established to encourage greater student participation in active citizenship, expand community support beyond existing Tisch College programs, and foster new ideas for positive change. Learn more.

Working with the Asian American Resource Workshop in Chinatown, junior Lisette Le is helping to organize a spoken word night at Tufts. The goal of the event is to raise awareness about hate crimes and foster discussion.


The Student Teacher Outreach and Mentoring Program (STOMP) brings Tufts engineering students together with students and teachers at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown. The Tufts students, who receive a stipend, help teachers learn about engineering and incorporate it in their classroom and after-school curriculum.

Community Organizations and Public Schools in Chinatown

The following organizations and schools host Tufts students working on citizenship projects:

  • Asian American Civic Association (direct services and ESL programs)
  • Asian American Resource Workshop (arts/culture/education)
  • Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (advocacy organization and women’s shelter)
  • Chinese Progressive Association (immigrant rights, public library campaign)
  • Chinatown Residents Association (residents advocacy organization)
  • Greater Boston Legal Services/Asian Outreach Program (legal intake, interpretation for Chinese clients)
  • Josiah Quincy Lower School (K-5)
  • Josiah Quincy Upper School (middle and high school)
  • South Cove Community Health Center (women’s health project)
  • Wang YMCA

Academic Courses and Internship Opportunities

Internships and professional training requirements frequently place students into Chinatown settings through a variety of Tufts programs. In some departments, courses with strong education for active citizenship goals build positive links between academic learning and the work of community organizations, often providing students with experiential learning opportunities in Chinatown.

View the Resource Guide.

Chinatown Building Bridges Building Bridges: An innovative program in Chinatown, Building Bridges enables Tufts undergraduate students to make significant contributions to the community while learning about active citizenship. Students participate in an American Studies course taught by Dr. Jean Wu—Active Citizenship in an Urban Community: Race, Class, Power, and Politics course (AS 131-U)—while working three hours each week in a Chinatown organization. The strong connections between academics and active citizenship are reinforced by speakers from Chinatown and group projects.

Additional Student Work: Tufts Medical School students are required to spend at least one 8-week cycle working on community service projects, and many students choose to work in Chinatown.

Graduate Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) students are required to spend 10 hours per week in the spring semester working in teams of four on a project designed by a community organization. Some of these UEP Fieldwork projects are based in Chinatown.

For information, contact Shirley Mark at 617-627-3656 or email to