Meet David Draper

Being the newest staff member to join Service-Learning at Northeastern, it only made sense for David to take on the most recent addition to the program: the Street Team.

By Lisa Randall

David joins the team as a graduate student in the College Student Development & Counseling Master’s program and will complete his second-year practicum requirement during his time with the Service-Learning Program.

Before coming to Northeastern, David received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration on substance abuse & addictions from Keene State College in 2014.David Draper

In March 2014, David spent an alternative spring break in
New Orleans working with the United Saints Recovery Project, an organization that aims to restore and revitalize communities affected by natural disasters.

“That’s really what sparked my interest in community service,” David said.

In keeping with what he described as a “life-altering experience,” he sought a community service-oriented position for his practicum. Familiar with the concept of service-learning after having written a paper on it for his Student Affairs Administration class, David met with Becca Berkey, director of Service-Learning at Northeastern and the former Coordinator of Experiential Education in the Center for Engagement, Learning, and Teaching at his alma mater.

“I had an informational meeting with Becca to talk about what I could do,” David said, which was at a time when the Street Team was still just an idea.

“[Becca] said, ‘I have this idea and it’s not really a thing yet but we’re working on it,’” David recalls.

Fast forward almost six months, and the Street Team is now a group of sixteen trail-blazers led by David.

“I’m really there as a point person,” David said of his role. “I’d say adviser, but they’re really making this what they want it to be.”

Also employed as a Graduate Assistant for Northeastern’s Residential Life, David said that his ideal job would be a “community service, res. life hybrid.”

David facilitates small group sessions with the Street Team as part of the Service-Learning Student Leader meeting series, where leaders team-build, receive professional development training, and participate in workshops related to topics like civic engagement, social justice, and preparing students for service.

“I definitely think [the street team members] all have a passion for working with students,” David said. “I think what their goal is is to help students to love service-learning as much as they do. They understand the benefits of service-learning on the community.”

While the group is still in the process of honing in on the many assets it has to offer, David said that its members have already added value to the program– and it’s a reciprocal exchange. “They feel that they have gotten value out of helping students navigate the area surrounding Northeastern,” David said, referring to the Street Team’s role of leading service-learning students to their orientations and service sites at the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester.

Other responsibilities and opportunities for the Street Team this semester will include developing tour packets for future neighborhood tours, helping to foster additional relationships with Northeastern colleges, and meeting with new community partners.

David will continue to help the Street Team evolve into the Spring semester, and is confident that the team’s inaugural members will pave the way for future leaders.

“To see their passion is incredible,” he said.

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