Bloustein Public Service Association aims to network, improve community ties
The Bloustein Public Service Association (BPSA) was established in the fall of 2006 to honor former Rutgers University President, scholar, and active citizen Edward J. Bloustein. The organization seeks to provide a network for students interested in public service initiatives and career networking opportunities. It is open to all undergraduate students on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus, and is committed to actively supporting their interests through networking opportunities, career development and service.
“I became a public health major after taking Professor Michael Greenberg’s Intro to Planning, Policy, and Public Health class,” said Michael Wong, current BPSA president. “I joined BPSA as its goals of providing professional development, networking, and community service opportunities were completely in line with what I was looking for.”
BPSA endeavors may involve local government, and community-based and non-profit organizations in areas of interest that include community development, health, housing and transportation. Undergraduate students benefit by participating in the BPSA and gaining access to academic and career development activities, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities.
This year, BPSA is running a speaker series, hosting a student/faculty networking social, as well as a variety of community service events.
The BPSA Speaker Series was developed to provide its members with ideas on possible career paths as well as the inspiration to take action and move forward with professional development. On October 11 Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, Assistant Director of the Center of Urban Entrepreneurship, spoke about the importance of planning and policy as related to new corporate establishments, and the recent restructuring of small businesses and growing corporations to a more eco-friendly platform. On November 8 Bloustein professor Tony Nelessen will be the speaker and will discuss “Your Future and the Future of Cities.”
In order to bring additional on-campus awareness to the organization, BPSA will be hosting a Student/Faculty Social event on Wednesday, November 16 from 3-5 p.m. in the main lobby of the Civic Square Building. All members of the campus community are invited to attend.
Community service plays perhaps the largest role in the BPSA’s activities. The group hosted a table at the Rutgers University Residence Life’s annual Monster Mash event on October 28 at the Cook/Douglass Recreation Center, which is a free and safe alternative to trick-or-treating for New Brunswick elementary school children and included activities such as pumpkin painting, crafts, costume contest, and relay races. BPSA members will also participate in the Elijah’s Promise Turkey Trot on November 6 to help raise funds for meals at the soup kitchen. It will take place from 1 – 3 p.m. at Buccleuch Park in New Brunswick.
On November 9 the group will host the Central Jersey Blood Bank Blood Drive from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Rutgers Student Center, Room 411.
Ongoing, yearlong volunteer events at Ronald McDonald House in New Brunswick and Meals on Wheels, Greater New Brunswick will also be part of the BPSA agenda. In addition to helping with planting and garden cleanup on an as-needed basis at the Ronald McDonald house, BPSA members will help prepare meals for visiting families and help with holidays and celebrations by assisting with decorating and cooking. Volunteers will also be assisting with the meal delivery program for the Meals on Wheels program.
Through in-class recruitment presentations and holding information sessions this semester, the BPSA has seen a threefold increase in membership and a great deal of dedication from those involved. “One of my goals as president of BPSA is to promote a sense of camaraderie within the Bloustein School while helping BPSA members gain the experience and resources necessary to succeed at Rutgers,” said Wong. “The BPSA board has worked hard to create an open environment in which our members are networking with each other and working together to improve themselves and the community.”
Visit the Bloustein Public Service Association website to find out more about the group and when informational meetings are held.