NEC Student Connect

Your source for in person and virtual engagement within our community and beyond. Check here for online events, wellness tips, and other ways to stay healthy, entertained, and connected to your fellow students.

NEC College Campus Events

Check out our various involvement and engagement opportunities for the upcoming months! Have a great idea to add? Email


September 15-October 15 - LatinX/Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 to October 15 is celebrated nationwide as National Hispanic Heritage Month. It traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and LatinX Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin-American countries. Hispanic refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a Spanish-speaking country. Whereas, Latino/a or LatinX refers to a person who is from, or a descendant of someone who is from, a country in Latin America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for the Latin-American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day (now Indigenous Peoples’ Day) or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.


Educational Resources:


September 18-20 - Rosh Hashanah


September 22 - National Voter Registration Day


September 23 - Virtual Fall Involvement Fair


Septemebr 27-28 - Yom Kippur


October 1-31 - Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection, and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. In low- and middle-income countries the incidence has been rising up steadily in the last years due to increase in life expectancy, increase urbanization, and adoption of western lifestyles. Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer; therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control.


Educational Resources:


October 1-31 - LGBTQ+ History Month

In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. They selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (October 11), occur that month. The LGBT community is the only community worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community, and makes the civil rights statement about our extraordinary national and international contributions.

This month was originally endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations. In 2006, Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion, and resources for LGBT History Month. Equality Forum is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives, and presents the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit. For more information, visit


Educational Resources:


October 1 - Chinese Moon Festival


October 11 - National Coming Out Day


October 15 - GLAAD Spirit Day


November 1-30 - Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, also known as, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. This month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and acknowledge the important contributions of Native peoples. It is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges Native peoples have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.


Educational Resources:


November 3 - National Election Day


November 13-19 - Trans* Awareness Week

Each year between November 13-19, people and organizations around the country participate in Trans* Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about trans* people and address issues members of the community face. Known as the week before Trans* Day of Remembrance on November 20, this week is when trans* people and their allies take action to bring attention to the community by educating the public about who trans* people are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the trans* community.

What does Trans* mean, you ask? Transgender, or Trans*, is “an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.” Trans* recently made the scene as an all-inclusive term for all gender-variant identities.

Sometimes folx misunderstand the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Here’s a quick synopsis.... Sexual orientation refers toan inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to other people. It is independent of their gender identity.” Gender identity, on the other hand, refers to “one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither; how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One's gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.”


Educational Resources:

  • GLAAD’s Trans* FAQ Webpage
  • GLAAD’s Tips for Allies of Trans* People
  • GLAAD’s Trans* Resources Lists
  • DISCLOSURE Netflix Documentary Intro


November 20 - Transgender Day of Remembrance

Trans* Day of Remembrance (or TDOR) was started in 1999 by trans* advocate, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Trans* Day of Remembrance.

How to Observe #TDOR...

  1. Attend candlelight vigils, food drives, and film screenings.
    • A vigil enables you and your peers to honor those who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence. You can also start up a food drive to raise money and awareness for the transgender community.
  2. March on.
    • One of the best ways to raise money and show support is to participate in a marathon or walk-a-thon that contributes to the transgender cause.
  3. Support trans* rights groups.
    • They include The Audre Lorde Project, Casa Ruby, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and more. Research groups in your area that support the LGBTQ+ community, and encourage others to donate as well.



December 1 - World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, observed each year on December 1st, is “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. The theme for the 2020 observance is ‘Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact’ (‘Erradicar la epidemia del VIH/SIDA: Resiliencia e Impacto’).”


 Educational Resources:


December 10-18 - Hanukkah

Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for “dedication,” is the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army, and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah, or lamp. The miracle of Hanukkah is that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days. Those who celebrate these eight days do so at home by lighting the menorah (where each night a person lights one additional candle to the number from the previous night), playing dreidel, and eating special foods unique to Hanukkah. Some people also sing Hanukkah songs or exchange gifts after lighting the menorah, which is also called a hanukkiah.

The defining act of Hanukkah is to kindle the lights of the hanukkiyah, the eight-branched candelabrum (commonly referred to as the menorah). These lights, which can either be candles or tiny oil cups with floating wicks, grow in strength during the eight days of Hanukkah, with the addition of one candle or lighted wick each night. One light is added each night to fulfill the concept of lo moridim ba-kodesh (one does not decrease in holiness). Because the purpose of these Hanukkah lights is the public proclamation of the Hanukkah miracle, the menorah is traditionally lit in a place where the candles can be seen from out of doors, near a window, or a doorway. Note: Using flammable products can be dangerous. If you’re not comfortable using open flames or flammable liquids or if they are not permitted in your living space, many have purchased electrical menorah light fixtures and perform the lighting by turning on the appropriate candles in the correct manner.


Educational Resources:


December 25 - Christmas


December 26-January 1 - Kwanzaa

What is Kwanzaa? Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African-Americans together as a community.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture.

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba:

  1. Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah) - To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  2. Self-Determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah) - To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  3. Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah) - To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
  4. Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah) - To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  5. Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH) - To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  6. Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah) - To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  7. Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee) - To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

The Seven Symbols of Kwanzaa:

  1. Mazao: Crops - Mazao symbolizes the fruits of collective planning and work, as well as the resulting joy, sharing, unity, and thanksgiving part of African harvest festivals. To demonstrate mazao, people place nuts, fruits, and vegetables, representing work on the mkeka.
  2. Mkeka: Place Mat - Just as the crops stand on the mkeka, the present day stands on the past. The mkeka symbolizes the historical and traditional foundation for people to stand on and build their lives.
  3. Vibunzi (Muhindi, plural): Ear of Corn - The stalk of corn represents fertility and the idea that through children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life. One vibunzi is placed on the mat for every child in the family.
  4. Mishumaa Saba: The Seven Candles - Candles are ceremonial objects that serve to symbolically re-create the sun’s power, as well as to provide light. There are three red candles, three green candles, and one black candle that are placed on the kinara. Mishumaa saba’s symbolic colors are from the red, black, and green flag (bendara) created by Marcus Garvey.
  5. Kinara: The Candleholder - The kinara represents our ancestry, and the original stalk from which we came.
  6. Kikombe Cha Umoja: The Unity Cup - On the sixth day of Kwanzaa, the libation ritual is performed to honor the ancestors. Every family member and guest will take a drink together as a sign of unity and remembrance.
  7. Zawadi: Gifts - On the seventh day of Kwanzaa, gifts are given to encourage growth, achievement, and success. Handmade gifts are encouraged to promote self-determination, purpose, and creativity.


Educational Resources:

  • Introduction to Kwanzaa from
  • CNN’s Non-Black Person’s Guide to Kwanzaa
  • "How to Kwanzaa" YouTube Video


Janaury 18 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration (Check out our collaborative virtual celebration stream here!)


February 1-28 - Black History Month

“Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African-Americans, and a time for recognizing the central role of Blacks in U.S. history. Also known as African-American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African-Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.”

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (or ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the Civil Rights Movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

To learn more about Black History and the issues impacting the Black/African-American community, check out the following associations:



February 12 - Chinese Lunar New Year (Check out our collaborative virtual celebration stream here!)


February 17-March 29 - Lent


March 1-31 - WomXn's History Month

Every year, March is designated WomXn’s History Month by Presidential proclamation! The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history. WomXn’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of WomXn planned and executed a “WomXn’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International WomXn’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own WomXn’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of womXn’s groups and historians, led by the National WomXn’s History Project (now the National WomXn's History Alliance), successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8, 1980 as National WomXn’s History Week. Subsequent Presidents continued to proclaim a National WomXn’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as “WomXn’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as WomXn’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamations designating the month of March as “WomXn’s History Month.”



March 1-31 - Music in Our Schools Month


March 28-29 - Holi


March 31 - Transgender Day of Visibility


April 1-30 - Arab-American Heritage Month


April 1-30 - Autism Awareness Month


April 1-30 - Sexual Assault Awareness Month


April 4 - Easter


April 23 - GLSEN Day of Silence

The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ students and allies all around the country—and the world—take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools.

Started in the mid 90’s by two college students, the Day of Silence has expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. Every April, students go through the school day without speaking, ending the day with Breaking the Silence rallies and events to share their experiences during the protest and bring attention to ways their schools and communities can become more inclusive.



May 1-31 - Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The month of May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), also known as Asian-American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM), and is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia), and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress. It took a rather long time but, in In 1978 Rep. Frank Horton of New York introduced House Joint Resolution 1007. This resolution proposed that the President should “proclaim a week, which is to include the seventh and tenth of the month, during the first ten days in May of 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’” This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978 to become Public Law. This law amended the original language of the bill and directed the President to issue a proclamation for the “7 day period beginning on May 4, 1979 as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’”

During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, Congress passed a law which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Educational Resources:

  • PBS Presents' Asian AmericansAsian Americans is a five-hour film series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided, while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate and personal lives, the series casts a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian-Americans have played in shaping the nation’s story.



May 1-31 - Jewish-American Heritage Month

May also happens to be Jewish-American Heritage Month (JAHM) in recognition of the contributions American Jews have made to U.S. history, culture, and society. The National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) in Philadelphia, PA leads this recognition that features a series of events each year.

This year, Jewish-American Heritage Month takes its theme from the ancient sage Rabbi Hillel’s most well-known saying, “If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?,” and the work of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. JAHM will highlight historical moments in which American Jewish communities demonstrated resilience and care for communities outside of their own, and also how diverse communities stood up for Jews in the face of antisemitism.



May 1-31 - Mental Health Awareness Month


June 19 - Juneteenth



Student Engagement Resources

Confronting Racial Injustice, resources, & Practicing Self-Care

The senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and others before them did not have to happen. The Office of Student Services is committed to partnering with others, both inside and outside the Conservatory, to dismantle systemic racism. We hear and support the demands for leadership and accountability. We also hear the questions about what each of us can do while we work on longer-term efforts. As a start, consider the following actions: 

  • Listen: Listen to members of our Black communities and communities of color who continue to experience the effects of oppression and systemic racism. Silence the tape of assumptions and biases that is playing in your head so that you can hear and learn from the experiences of others. 
  • Learn: Learn about racism and its pervasive and harmful impact on Black communities and communities of color. Learn from others about how you can facilitate change in dismantling systemic racism. 
  • Support: Support our Black communities and communities of color by being active and engaging. Donate. Volunteer. Create intentional spaces to process anger, sadness, and grief.
  • Advocate: Make your voice heard. Get involved in efforts to create change within and beyond. Systemic change cannot happen without direct action and advocacy. 

As we navigate through uncertain times, it's more important than ever to focus on our own well-being. Take time to take care of yourself. Practice self-care. We've assembled virtual well-being tips and information, so that no matter where you are in the world, you have the resources you need right at your fingertips.

Resources for healing from racialized trauma

In-person appointments and Assist@NEC

Virtual resources and Self-Care Podcasts

Opportunities for furthering the conversation

Articles, books, and additional resources:


Wellness & Self-Care!

Wellness Icons

During times of stress and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to give our bodies the essential things it needs to feel good — both mentally and physically. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition all play integral roles in helping our immune systems to function at their best and in helping our bodies and minds stay well. Here are some links to a variety of websites and apps that provide essential information and services for overall health and wellness.

Exercise and Meditation

Exercise is an excellent form of stress release that also helps with physical well-being and sleep. Check out links below for online gym classes, yoga YouTube channels and apps!


  • The YMCA also offers a range of free classes including yoga, bootcamp, barre and Tai Chi on their website



  • Our own DanceComplex in Cambridge hosts virtual dance classes and meetings. Check out their lives on Instagram and their weekly schedule.
  • The Alvin Ailey Dance Extension school posts free dance classes on website, Instagram, and Youtube.

Yoga and Meditation

  • Boston Yoga Online hosts many free courses with a variety of teachers. Some may ask for a donation or payment. Just check the links!
  • South Boston Yoga has online videos ranging from beginner to advanced.
  • Yoga with Adriene is a great YouTube source for free, all-level videos.
  • SarahBethYoga is a very detailed, all-level YouTube channel for your at home needs.
  • Yoga with Kassandra is a nice resource for quick yoga sessions.
  • Check out the following apps for meditation practices. These can be accessed on your laptop or phone. Some apps may need payments. YouTube has many great meditation music channels and guided practices!


Making sure your diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats and lots and lots of water will help you feel good, reduce anxiety, and boost your immune system. See these links for information and recipes: 


Good, quality sleep is also vital to physical and mental health as well as optimal immune system functioning. See these links for tips for better sleep.


Local Happenings

Boston Skyline

Check out events happening in our local community — including comedy, art, trivia, and more.


Cultural Offerings from Around the World


Check out virtual cultural offerings that give you access to world-class performances and artists, museum tours—even livestreams of the natural world.


NEC College Student Benefits

Below are a variety of benefits that College students at NEC can take advantage of throughout the year. (Please note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some of the following benefits may be modified until further notice.)

Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) College Card

The Office of Student Services provides a limited number of free BSO College Cards to NEC College Students. BSO College Cards are on a first come, first serve basis and are available at the beginning of the fall semester.


T Passes

Semester Pass Program: Students can purchase an unlimited-use LinkPass or Commuter Rail Pass for the entire semester through NEC and receive an 11% discount off the regular monthly rate. Passes are ordered through the Business Office and are available for pickup at the NEC Mailroom inside the 33 Gainsborough Building (33G). 

Tufts–NEC Shuttle

Shuttle service is available 8 times daily to and from Tufts University during the academic year. 



Membership is open to everyone within the NEC community who is 21 or older for an annual fee of $25 with no application fee. Register with your NEC e-mail address to receive the discounted rate. For more information, go to

Health and Wellness


The YMCA is our next-door neighbor and offers a variety of health and wellness benefits. We are currently working on establishing a discount for students for a discounted membership. Please check back in the coming weeks for updated information! 


    Local Museums

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    ISGM General Admission: Admission is FREE with a valid NEC student ID!

    Museum of Fine Arts

    MFA General Admission: NEC students gain free admission to the MFA by showing their current student ID. 
    MFA Special Exhibitions: With a valid NEC student ID and Blumenthal Library admission pass, $6 tickets for special exhibitions are available Monday through Friday, from noon to close. These tickets are same-day only and are subject to availability. Go to the Blumenthal Library to check out an admission pass. All admission passes may be borrowed for 24 hours; they may not be reserved in advance.