Student Club Spotlight: Community Palette

Looking for a creative way to give back? 

Community Palette is a new club on campus that aims to serve individuals in underprivileged, clinical, and community settings in Boston through creative and visual arts initiatives. To learn more about this organization, I interviewed the founder and president, Seher Abbasi. 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you’re studying at Northeastern? 

I’m a third-year pre-med student majoring in behavioral neuroscience. I found my passion for neuroscience in high school when I did my first research project and since then it’s continued to grow as I learnt more about the human brain and relative behaviors. I love being the reason for someone’s smile so during my free time I work at various hospitals and volunteer where I can. My goal is to ease the journey of patients impacted by mental health and diseases of the brain.  

What is Community Palette and how did you come up with this idea? 

When I was younger, arts and science were my thing. I used to make polymer clay figurines and paintings with Arabic calligraphy all the time to express myself and still use it as a creative outlet to this day. When I was working at Mass Eye and Ear for my co-op, I could visibly see patients’ mood shift the longer they stayed there. Boredom and lack of motivation from being in a hospital setting, specifically a surgical in-patient unit, can be stressful and impact healing in some ways.  

To give an example, I had a patient who was incredibly bored and agitated from having to stay in his room all the time. He wasn’t allowed to get up or walk around because he’d risk falling or accidentally hurt himself. So, I made paper airplanes with him and we raced it down the hallways which he really enjoyed. Although the activity was only 10 minutes long, it boosted his mood for the rest of the day and he cooperated with the nurses and doctors slightly better.  

These experiences led me to creating a visual arts program at Mass Eye and Ear and volunteering around the Boston community. I volunteered at elementary schools and adult centers where we did arts and crafts together and socialized. When I’d tell my friends stories of my volunteering, they would show eagerness to help saying things like “This sounds really cool, I would do that!”   

So, then I created a club for Northeastern students who, like me, enjoy arts and would like to use it as a therapeutic exercise but also share using art as a coping mechanism in various communities in Boston 

What are your goals for Community Palette this semester? 

This semester, our goal is to introduce art therapy within Northeastern and diverse populations around Boston. We work with 3 main demographics: adults, kids, and clinical setting. We’d love to get more volunteers and continue to build more community partners.  

Who can join and when do you meet? 

Any Northeastern student, undergraduate and graduate, and we meet every other Tuesday! 


Learn more about Community Palette by checking out their Instagram @nupalette and if you have any questions feel free to email [email protected]. 

Behavioral Neuroscience