UMass CESL promotes learning for life-long, engaged citizenship, partnering with communities on and off campus to work collectively for a more just society.

The Boltwood Project

The Boltwood Project, is a student facilitated Civic Engagement program that partners with organizations serving community members with disabilities. It has been part of UMass for 44 years and is overseen by UMass CESL.

Boltwood students enroll in a Civic Engagement seminar course and engage with local community members weekly, at community partner sites.

To apply for the Fall 2015 semester of Boltwood you must attend one of the Info & Interview Sessions

     Monday, September 14, 6-8 PM, Campus Center Auditorium, or
     Second session: TBA
      (you must attend one full 6-8PM session!), 

If accepted you must:
1. attend the the Orientation Session on Monday evening, September, 21
2. attend all 3 of the Fall 2015 Boltwood sessions, 10:30AM to 2:30PM on:

Saturday, October 17
Saturday, November 14 
Saturday, December 5 

4. participate with your group, one afternoon or evening each week, in community service at one of Boltwood's community partner service sites. The day and time varies for each site. More details about the site options will be provided at the Info and Interview Sessions.

Questions? Come to the Info & Interview Session, or contact one of the Program Coordinators
Shelby Ripa 

Student Leadership in Boltwood

Site SupervisorsReturning Boltwood students can apply to be one of the Site Supervisors who organize and oversee the weekly site visits, help plan the Saturday seminar sessions, and enroll in the Boltwood Leadership course 

Program CoordinatorsEach year two students, who have previously served as Site Supervisors, are selected to be Program Coordinators. They work with the Faculty Director to oversee the program, oversee the Site Supervisors, and work with the Site Supervisors to plan and lead the seminar sessions. 

Graduate Teaching Asssitant: Boltwood employes a graduate student to work the the Faculty Director to support the Boltwood student leaders, teach the Boltwood Leadership course (Fall) and oversee the Boltwood Leaders' Team Project Independent Studies (Spring).

Over 200 UMass students participate in The Boltwood Project each year!

Over 11,000 students have been a part of this program over 4 decades!  Check here to read about the  

Click here for information about the Boltwood Community Partners


History of The Boltwood Project

For over 40 years UMass has been home to The Boltwood Project, a Service-Learning course that partners with 14 community programs for people with disabilities. 

Since its inception, the project has been directed by the now retired Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning (LARP) professor, Merle Willmann.  Dr. Willmann initiated the program when he was a young professor who could often be found with students at the café on Boltwood Walk (near the current Rao’s). The first 6 participants in the program were students with whom Merle drank coffee and talked about world affairs, such as the Vietnam War and the student led events surrounding it. In honor of their café association, they named their initiative The Boltwood Project and began their service at the now closed Belchertown State Hospital.  

In May 2012, Professor Willmann, long since retired from LARP, retired from directorship of The Boltwood Project.  UMass CESL is proud to be taking up the mantle from Professor Willmann.  Along with the 16 student leaders of this program we look forward to many more years of continued partnership between The Boltwood Project and the local community.