Last week, the University celebrated the Waltham Group’s 50th anniversary with a well-deserved gala for the organization’s affiliates. This board congratulates the Waltham Group for its work throughout the last five decades, and we encourage its continued service.

With a largely political founding, the Waltham Group began as a small activism group as students became inspired to give back to the community.

The values of community service are especially important at Brandeis, an institution that prides itself on enacting social justice and advocating for individuals and groups that need assistance. The Waltham Group helps uphold these goals everywhere from the University campus to the greater Boston area. From tutoring and companionship to life-saving resources like food, blood donations and shelter, the 20 programs within the Waltham Group strive to meet the needs of everyone within their reach, and the last 50 years prove that they have been successful. Each year, members of the Waltham Group devote a total of 40,000 hours to their causes, which has amounted to “15,000 granola bars … 6,250 shoelaces [tied] … 93,000 cans of food … 75,000 math problems [solved] … and enough blood to save 37,000 lives” over the past 50 years, according to University President Ronald Liebowitz.

The Waltham Group’s commitment to community service benefits not only the people of the city but also enriches the lives of students at the University. Their numerous initiatives on campus have helped make for a true Brandeis experience and has created student changemakers devoted to a myriad of causes.

In honor of the semicentennial, the Waltham Group organized a crowdsourced funding page to raise $50,000 ― $1,000 for each year of service. Thus far, the Waltham Group has raised 15 percent of their goal, and it has 74 days left to go. This board urges the community to support the Waltham Group in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

We also implore the Brandeis community to follow the Waltham Group’s lead and get involved in service on campus and in the greater Boston area, especially Waltham. According to the United States Census Bureau, 10 percent of Waltham residents are defined as “persons in poverty.” However, students within the community work their hardest to give back. In 2015, the Princeton Review ranked the University as No. 1 in the country for student involvement in community service. As students of Brandeis, we have a responsibility to take advantage of our four short years to foster growth and development of the wider community we are part of, and the Waltham Group has done well to achieve this.