Empty vintage congress hall with seats and microphones.

Get Involved

The Activist Lab is a vehicle to practice real world activism. We cultivate a variety of opportunities for you to roll up your sleeves and dive into the issues that matter most to you. To help you find the right activity, we’ve organized these opportunities by topic. Have an idea that’s not on this list? We can help! Apply for a one-time micro grant to fund your activism project. For more details, email activist@bu.edu with a brief outline of your idea for review.


Within the Activist Lab, we recognize that reducing gun violence will require the work of many. Our preliminary partners include four academic researchers within the BU School of Public Health who bring their research expertise as it relates to gun violence. Branching out from this base, we have an additional partner from the BU School of Medicine and intend to identify additional research partners with gun violence experience and insights from several Schools at Boston University (i.e., Medicine, Public Health, Social Work) to join our collaboration.

Mother’s Day Walk for Peace: Organized by the Louis D Brown Peace Institute, the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace was started in 1996 so mothers of murdered children could receive support and love from their neighbors. Twenty-one years later, the Mother’s Day Walk continues to be a powerful way to honor our loved ones who have been murdered and embrace our partners in peacemaking. Join the Activist Lab, members of the SPH community, families from across the city, and across the state of Massachusetts on Mother’s Day to walk together toward peace because, in unity, there is healing. 

Tell Congress to pass common-sense measures to reduce gun violenceAPHA continues to urge Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to reduce gun violence. It is critical that public health advocates keep up the pressure on both the Senate and the House to act to address this public health epidemic without further delay.

These national organizations are lobbying Congress and organizing in communities to reduce gun deaths in America:

Americans for Responsible Solutions: Gabrielle Gifford’s organization, founded to persuade leaders to stand up for responsible gun laws. Offers scripts for calling Congress, and spreading the word to your friends and family.

American Public Health Association: The APHA has a variety of resources and research on the gun violence epidemic. Participate in the APHA Action Alert: “Tell Congress to pass common-sense measures to reduce gun violence.”

Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: Learn how your state scores on gun laws and gun death rates. Support their campaigns to expand background checks for gun sales and hold gun manufacturers and sellers accountable.

Everytown for Gun Safety: Everytown’s list of 7 actions you can take to tell Congress that enough is #enough. Check to see if your town’s mayor supports the initiative for common-sense gun laws – call to thank them if they do, or ask them “why not?”

Stop Handgun Violence: Features common-sense measures to limit injury and death from firearms, particularly for gun owners. Gun owners can be part of the solution – check out “Actions at Home.”

Learn more about the work the Activist Lab does around guns and gun violence.

Urban Solutions

The Activist Lab works with community stakeholders to develop innovative programs and services that address challenging urban public health issues. These activities fill service gaps in the community, provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to integrate into the community in a meaningful and productive way, and serve as a model for future program or policy development.

Life on Albany Committee: Meet monthly to discuss the issues of homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness on Albany Street with other representatives from SPH and the local community. We will discuss our institutional response to these issues as the BUSPH community. Our meetings typically take place on the first Wednesday of the month.
To learn more, email activist@bu.edu or register here.

Rosie’s Place: Founded in 1974 as the first women’s shelter in the United States, the mission of Rosie’s Place is to provide a safe and nurturing environment that helps poor and homeless women maintain their dignity, seek opportunity and find security in their lives. We are proud to coordinate volunteer efforts that meet the growing and evolving needs of this critical service.
To learn more and get involved, email activist@bu.edu

Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB): The GBFB was founded with a bold and compassionate vision to end hunger here, creating a hunger-free Eastern Massachusetts within its 190 cities and towns. We are proud to coordinate volunteer efforts that meet the growing and evolving needs of this critical service.
To learn more and get involved, email activist@bu.edu

Barkley Apartments Holiday Party: A wonderful way for our school community to be involved in our local community, staff from Student Services and the Activist Lab join the Students of Color for Public Health to organize, wrap gifts, and put on a party for the children from the Ruth Lillian Barkley Apartments. Last year, the fundraiser raised $2,590—more than $800 over 2015—for 200 children and 80 teens.
To learn more and get involved, email activist@bu.edu

Water Squad: Be a part of our mission to be a good neighbor on Albany Street. From June through September, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can volunteer to hand out water to our neighbors on Albany Street. 2 volunteers are required for each time slot. If it’s your first time handing out water, you will be trained by a member of the Activist Lab team. You will be given 100 bottles of water to hand out, which generally takes about 30 minutes total.
To learn more and get involved, email activist@bu.edu or RSVP here.

Boston Housing Authority Unity Days: This event began in the 1980s as a way to bring residents together and ease neighborhood tensions.  The first Unity Day was held at the Washington Beach development in Roslindale and grew to become an annual tradition for public housing residents in BHA’s family developments.  Events typically include a cookout, often with food made by residents with varied cultural histories, games, and activities for children, music, performances, and information tables. We are proud to coordinate volunteer efforts that meet the growing and evolving needs of this critical service.
To learn more and get involved, email activist@bu.edu.

Learn more about the work the Activist Lab does around public health and housing,  life on Albany street, and other Urban Issues.


The Activist Lab creates university learning and workforce training programs to develop and maintain a skilled public health workforce. In the university setting, we empower students, faculty, and staff to explore contemporary public health issues and understand how classroom learning translates in the real world. Within the broader public health community, The Activist Lab provides a strong continuing education program, building upon existing training programs for local and state governmental public health workers in Massachusetts and across New England.

Spring Break Challenge: Step into the role of Public Health Consultant with other students from SPH, Social Work, and Sargent College to design a project that will increase engagement in neighborhood health and wellness programs for the Blackstone Community Center and Lenox-Camden Housing Development. You’ll have the opportunity to seek input from public housing residents and other community members on the best ways to remove barriers to using the services at the Blackstone Community Center. The next Spring Break Challenge will take place during the 2018/2019 academic year.
To learn more, contact Kerry Dunnell: kdunnell@bu.edu

Advocacy Bootcamp: This robust, day-long workshop is designed to teach strategies and tactics to influence public policy and decisions about resource allocation. Students learn from expert health policy advocates and participate in interactive skills-training sessions. The next Bootcamp will take place on September 23, 2017. Registration and details will be available soon.  
To learn more, contact Anne Fidler: afidler@bu.edu

Public Health Workforce Training Programs: Our three training center, SHIELD, LPHI, and NEPHTC provide training for public health practitioners in governmental organizations, primary and secondary schools, and community-based organizations. As a public health professional in training, resources are available for you within these organizations.
To learn more and get involved, email activist@bu.edu

Fellowships: The Activist Lab sponsors the Activist Fellowship Program, an opportunity for up to 2 students per semester to engage in advocacy-related activities on a public health topic. Fellows will work on (1) improving the public health infrastructure in Massachusetts and (2) furthering our advocacy efforts in the BUSPH’s neighborhood, including activities with Life on Albany, which focuses on issues of addiction and homelessness among our neighbors.
Fall 2017 Activist Fellow: Eddy A., Regionalization
Spring 2018 Activist Fellow: TBD, Transgender Rights Initiative
To learn more and apply, contact Anne Fidler: afidler@bu.edu

Dean’s level events: Learn about new research, fast-breaking news, and diverse perspectives in the world of public health from the professors, researchers, and other professionals at the forefront of the field.

Learn more about the work the Activist Lab does around public health workforce development and training.


The Activist Lab champions smart, enduring policies that improve public health. We work with community stakeholders to identify and understand public health problems and possible solutions, then effect change through program and policy development and implementation.

Call your representatives: Not sure who represents your voice in the government? Look up your U.S. Senators and Representative, as well as your local legislators. Not sure what to say? Here is a basic script you can use when informing your representatives of your commitment to a cause:  
“Hello, my name is ________. I’m a constituent from [City], zip code [4 digit zip code]. I don’t need a response. I support/I am opposed to [Name of bill or act]  and I am calling to strongly encourage [name of representative] to please [action you want your representative to take]. Thank you for your hard work!”

Goods Drive: Local service providers, such as our neighbors at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, are in need of the essentials; socks, undergarments, and toiletries. During your next run to Target or visit to a hotel, pick up a few of these items and drop them off at the Activist Lab. We will make sure they get to those in need! (We are not accepting food donations at this time.)

Volunteer through the BU Community Service Center. The CSC is a welcoming space that provides direct service, education, and reflection initiated by students in solidarity with our neighbors and community partners. CSC aims to provide the Boston University community with opportunities to address and improve the critical concerns of Greater Boston, encourage students to be active and responsible citizens in neighboring communities, and serve Greater Boston in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way.

Narcan Training: Since 2007, more than 9,500 individuals in Boston have received training on how to administer Narcan, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, and thousands more people have been educated on overdose prevention techniques. Narcan has been credited with reversing nearly 1,124 overdoses in Boston from October 2016 to May 2017. BPHC offers education and training to opioid users, their families and community partners that work with people at risk of overdosing. Participants learn about the importance of calling 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose, how to perform rescue breathing and administer nasal Narcan, and treatment options for opioid users.

StAMP: The SPH Student Alumni Mentoring Program (StAMP) seeks to connect MPH students with SPH alumni and create successful mentoring relationships. We invite you to join StAMP and become an Advocacy Mentor to MPH students, sharing how your professional and personal experiences have informed your work as a public health advocate.
For more information contact Mahogany Price 

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless: The mission of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless is to eradicate homelessness from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As an action-driven organization, they actively advocate for people experiencing homelessness or those at risk of homelessness in areas of public policy, including but not limited to: the availability of decent, accessible, affordable housing; adequate income maintenance programs; medical care; mental health services; social services; job training and employment.

We are constantly adding new ways to get involved! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and opportunities.