Huskies with Heart

Huskies with Heart

By Cynthia Retamozo

Correction: The co-president of NUTELLS is Sharon Long.

Preparing students’ food and cleaning their messes, the janitorial and Chartwells cafeteria staff help students get through the everyday hassles of college life. Sophomore economics major Carolina Morgan is now returning the favor.

Morgan is co-president, with junior international business major Olga Shapiro, of the recently founded Northeastern University Teaching English Language and Literacy Skills (NUTELLS) student group. The group provides tutoring sessions in English to Northeastern’s janitorial and Chartwells staffs.

Morgan said a study session usually has six to eight student tutors and one to two dozen members of the janitorial and Chartwells staffs. Sessions usually last an hour with group activities then break off into separate basic and advanced groups. Just as Northeastern students have homework assignments to complete for their classes, NUTELLS English as a second language (ESL) students are assigned homework as well.

For many of the student tutors, teaching English strikes a personal chord. Morgan, who is also in the Northeastern Honors Program, immigrated to the United States from Argentina when she was 14 years old and struggled to learn English, she said.

“I can identify with these people,” she said. “I understand what it’s like, feeling out of place, where you don’t understand what the people around you are saying.”

Being half-Mexican and aware of the situation most non-English speakers face, sophomore nursing major and member of NUTELLS Carlotta Starks said the satisfaction of teaching English is unmatched.

“I feel that by helping other Latinos, I’m giving back to the people who influence me and make me who I am,” she said. “By teaching them English, we’re helping them adjust to a new life so they can provide better for themselves and for their families.”

Most of the current tutors heard about and became involved with the group through word of mouth, said Morgan. Starks heard of it through a friend in the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), which has several members involved in NUTELLS.

“It’s a great organization,” Starks said. “It gives back to the people who work so hard everyday behind the scenes at NU.”

NUTELLS is now in the process of beginning this year’ programming, Morgan said. The group is planning to hold two sessions a week and is hoping to obtain more student tutors. NUTELLS has high hopes for the rest of the school year.

“We’re working on getting more of the maintenance staff involved,” Morgan said. “We also hope to be supported by the school.”

However, NUTELLS has had a hard time starting up this year due to employees not being able to find time for learning sessions between breakfast, lunch and dinner rushes, or during personal time, Starks said.

Leave a Reply