UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Students collect used keys to find ways to support homelessness and hunger

The classes donated thousands of keys for the fundraiser

Three sociology classes at the University of Massachusetts Boston have come together to collaborate with the Keys of Hope Foundation to collect used keys. The project’s mission is to melt the keys in a lucrative purpose and utilize the funds from the process to support U-ACCESS Food Pantry on campus.

The U-ACCESS Food Pantry’s mission is to supplement the food supply for any UMass Boston student who may be experiencing hunger due to a lack of financial stability. U-ACCESS is one of several programs sponsored by the Office of Urban and Off Campus Support Services.
The three classes gathered over 270 pounds of keys. The keys collected are going to be sent to the foundation which will bring them to a scrap metal business to melt them. The money accumulated from the scrap metal will be donated to the office of U-ACCESS Food Pantry to support the amelioration of homelessness and hunger on campus.

Professor Jacqueline Lageson of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, who teaches those three classes, explained the significance of having students participate in such a community driven project. She mentioned that this kind of project make up those small steps that are important to enhance civic engagement. “[Sometimes] we don’t have to invest a lot of time and money, we simply need to start where we are at, work with what we have, to positively impact our community,” she said. 

Professor Lageson went on to express the satisfaction of realizing how her students were committed to collect as many keys as possible. She noted that students were driven by something deeper and greater than the project itself, stating that there was a sense of “caring for their community, giving back, and supporting others.”

Shirley Fan-Chan, director of U-ACCESS, echoed Professor Lageson sentiments after learning about the students’ dedication on working on such a project. “I was so thrilled to have UMass Boston students who are committed and dedicated to support [U-ACCESS] and their fellow students,” said Fan-Chan.

The U-ACCESS Food Pantry hopes to minimize food insecurity while UMass Boston students work toward completing their education.

Fan-Chan also mentioned that it is the first time there is a fundraiser collaboration between a faculty member and the office of U-ACCESS. She says that she would like to see more projects of this kind in the future.
Fan-Chan invites UMass Boston community members to look at this project as a way to understand that people can always contribute meaningfully to their community and society with whatever they have. “I want the students, staff, and faculty to know that the spirit of [the] UMB community is strong and powerful once they identify a cause and a plan,” said Fan-Chan.