University Impact

WPI’s mission is to transform lives, turn knowledge into action to confront global challenges, and revolutionize STEM through distinctive and inclusive education, projects, and research. The university is committed to pursuing this mission right here in Worcester, through activities and initiatives like these.

Worcester Community Project Center: 20 years of community impact

Established in 2000, the Worcester Community Project Center (WCPC) has hosted projects focused on a mobile website for the Worcester Art Museum, created an adaptive bicycle with Worcester Earn-a-Bike, and developed a STEM program for the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester—all right here in WPI’s backyard.

Thanks to the combined efforts of WCPC director Laura Roberts and Associate Professor of Spanish and International Studies Aarti Smith Madan, WPI students who complete project work through the WCPC have the opportunity for a global experience without leaving Worcester County. To date, hundreds of projects have been completed through the WCPC, addressing a broad range of community challenges and opportunities.

Preview Volunteers working with food at El Buen Samaritano
Preview Opening of Thrive Food Pantry, cutting the ribbon

Addressing Food Insecurity

Many students, faculty, and staff are involved in activities that address food insecurity in the greater Worcester community. Working in collaboration with the Worcester Community Project Center and the Latin American & Caribbean Studies group, a WPI student project team worked with El Buen Samaritano (EBS) to design a digital system to improve its inventory system with the goal of reducing redundancy and eventually expanding the services it offers. EBS is a nonprofit food pantry on Piedmont Street that also provides clothing, housing support, translation services, immigration assistance, and other services since its inception in 1991.

Another student team worked on a project, also through the Worcester Community Project Center, to develop long-term sustainable plans for a Thrive Food Pantry in Worcester that will fight food insecurity and assist the ASD, ID, DD population in the region. Thrive Support & Advocacy, founded in Marlborough, Mass., during the 1970s, is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering, advocating for, and assisting youth and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), developmental disabilities (DD), and intellectual disabilities (ID).

Preview A lot of gifts under a Christmas tree

Spreading the Spirit of Giving

For more than 15 years, WPI has partnered with Worcester's Friendly House to run the Spirit of

the Giving Tree program, which gives students, faculty, and staff the chance to buy gifts for

children who might otherwise not receive any during the holiday season. Students, faculty, and staff donate hundreds of gifts to children to open on Christmas. This past year WPI also supported Ascentria, through this program.