FOCUS is a five-day Pre-Orientation for incoming first-years focused on critical service learning. During FOCUS, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know Tufts, the Greater Boston Area, and your fellow Jumbos all the while creating meaningful relationships with the communities around us.
During FOCUS, you’ll commit to engaging responsibly and actively to support the needs identified by Tufts' host communities and its representatives. You’ll work in an area of your interest along with a group with other incoming students and two upperclassmen leaders.
If you have any questions please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Instagram, @tuftsfocus. We hope to see some of you in August!
We work with soup kitchens, food banks, and community kitchens to feed and distribute food to those who need it. Past sites have included the Boston Rescue Mission, the Greater Boston Food Bank, and Community Servings.
We work in homeless shelters and help out with the day-to-day work. This may include sorting clothes, making beds, and preparing for meals. Past sites have included halfway houses, food pantries, the St. Francis house, and the Pine Street Inn.
We do hands-on work to help keep Boston green and beautiful. Often, these groups work in parks such as the Boston Esplanade and on the Mystic Watershed. Weather permitting, your group will spend much of its time outdoors.
We work with organizations that benefit children throughout Boston through community and educational development. Past groups have worked with organizations like Cradles to Crayons, which helps Boston-area children get the school supplies they need.
Disability Justice Advocacy
Our special needs group, Giving Camp, runs special programming for people with special needs for five days. This intensive experience includes training and has been described as exceptionally rewarding by past participants.
We do the hands-on work of sprucing up the built environment throughout Boston as well as work to support local communities. Projects include community service at local schools and community organizations and the work varies from light construction and environmental maintenance to helping local Somerville teachers prepare for the upcoming school year. Previous organizations have included Youth Build Boston and the Stone Zoo.
We work with organizations that focus on the wellbeing of elderly citizens in locations like the Somerville Home. Past sites include Medford Council on Aging and The Community Family. If you’re a people-person, you have the skills we’re looking for.
We work with local artists and arts organizations that strive to build community through the arts and social justice. Past sites include Boston Children's Theatre, Ethnic Arts Center, and the Cambridge Art Association.
Racial Justice Advocacy
The Racial Justice Advocacy group works with community organizations in the Boston area working to provide people of color with dedicated services such as youth groups and senior centers. Past sites have included the Medford Diversity Office, The City School, and The Welcome Project.
2023 Student Coordinators
Ryan Cannistraro, 2025
Ryan is from Wellesley, MA, and he is currently a sophomore studying biology. He participated in FOCUS as a freshman, returned as a member of the support staff this past year, and is so excited to help coordinate this amazing program for the incoming first-years! When he is not in the library procrastinating doing a lab report, you can find him as a member of Tufts Best Buddies and Project Linus. In his free time, he loves playing, listening to, and dancing to all kinds of music!
Ashley Djousse, 2025
Ashley is a sophomore from Kingston, MA, majoring in biopsychology and minoring in philosophy. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, and road trips with friends. She participated in FOCUS as both a first-year student and support staff and is so excited to welcome new Jumbos as a FOCUS coordinator!
Kathleen Landis, 2025
Kathleen is a sophomore from New Jersey majoring in History. On campus she is part of Tufts Tap Ensemble, Women's Ultimate frisbee, Tufts Burlesque and TFL, Tufts comedy group for gender minorities.
Student Programs Administrator- Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life
Calvin is the Student Programs Administrator at Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life. In his role, he directs the Leadership for Social Change program, advises FOCUS and Tisch-affiliated student groups, and manages the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement among other responsibilities. Prior to assuming this role, Calvin coordinated the Tufts 1+4 and Tufts Civic Semester global programs at Tisch, supporting students as they engaged in community-based work abroad. Calvin also worked for 3 years at NYU Shanghai, a sino-US joint venture university in Shanghai, China, involved in various student support and community engagement roles. Outside of work, Calvin is busy pursuing his MA in Diversity and Inclusion Leadership at Tufts and spending time outdoors, when he can!
Program Dates: August 24 - August 28
A Typical Day of FOCUS
An example on what we might do on any given day based on past years’ programs
|7 a.m. - 8 a.m.
|Wake up, have breakfast, pack lunch
|8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
|Travel to first site
|9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
|First volunteering site
|12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
|1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
|Second volunteering site
|4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
|Travel back to Tufts
|5 p.m. - 6 p.m.
|Shower in residence halls
|6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
|Dinner with community
|8 p.m. - 11 p.m.
email@example.com | 617-627-0589
The transition to college was something I very anxiously awaited and I had anticipated a lot of struggle. The peers and friends that I had met during FOCUS allowed me to have the most positive transition. It was such an amazing opportunity to meet future classmates, friends, and upperclassmen. FOCUS being a civic-engagement based Pre-Orientation program teaches incoming students the importance of giving to our community. Life is all about balance and FOCUS reminds us that in order to keep our balance here in our community, we owe it to others to reflect, help out where we can and spread love. I really enjoyed every second of it and recommend FOCUS for all incoming freshmen!
Michael Cox - Class of 2025
FOCUS was such a lovely introduction to civic engagement and the student community at Tufts. My FOCUS dinners my first year were a core part of my experience. The Tisch College community has really pushed me to explore my identity and how I can engage meaningfully with Tufts’ host communities and the greater Boston community.”
Kyrielle Lord, Class of 2024
FOCUS was one of the best ways to start off my college experience, and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to stay involved throughout my time at Tufts! Not only do you get to make amazing new friends and memories as well as become more familiar with the Boston area, you’re able to gain a greater awareness for and start getting engaged in the Medford/Somerville community where we spend so much of our college years.