Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to dine in or order takeout from the diverse array of neighborhood eateries in Boston’s Chinatown
Dining out and doing good by supporting local businesses—what could be a better combination?
The entire university community has the opportunity to do exactly that by participating in the third annual Tufts Cherish Chinatown Restaurant Challenge from now through December 15. The goal of the challenge is to support the many locally owned restaurants and bakeries in Boston’s Chinatown, home to Tufts’ Boston Health Sciences campus.
Launched in 2021, the challenge was designed to aid in the recovery of Chinatown businesses that were negatively impacted by the combined effects of COVID-19 and anti-Asian sentiment. Today, the initiative continues as a reminder that small businesses are not immune to economic downturns and the Tufts community can make a positive impact by eating and shopping locally.
“We are happy that crowds have returned to Chinatown and that people are once again taking full advantage of the many delicious offerings in our neighborhood,” says Debbie Ho, executive director of Chinatown Main Street. “Our small business owners rely on a steady stream of customers, and they love to see Tufts students and employees in their restaurants and shops at all times of the day. We appreciate this annual reminder to the Tufts community that some of the best food options in the city are right next door.”
To participate in this year’s challenge, from now through December 15, Tufts University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to dine in or order takeout from the diverse array of neighborhood eateries in Boston’s Chinatown.
After making a purchase, Tufts community members can enter a raffle by filling out a brief form. There is no limit to how many times a participant can enter, as long as a new purchase is made. Each week, four raffle winners receive $25 gift cards to neighborhood restaurants. In addition, all participants are automatically eligible to receive one of two grand prizes: a $250 gift card to Shojo or $250 to spend at a Chinatown restaurant or bakery of their choice for a Tufts office or club/class gathering.
As of November 30, over 200 entries have already been submitted.
"Participating in the Cherish Chinatown Challenge—and the Cherish Chinatown cleanups each spring—was really a no-brainer for me,” says Brittany Chloe Tope-Ojo, Cherish Chinatown student leader and current Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy student.
“With our Health Sciences campus in the Chinatown community, it just makes sense that we would relate with, and support our neighbors, and express our gratitude for their sharing their space with us,” says Tope-Ojo. “Plus, the food is so good and there are options for different dishes and cuisines, whatever you are in the mood for and in varying price ranges.”
Throughout the challenge, Tufts community members are invited to use the Chinatown Main Streets’ website for inspiration about local neighborhood dining options. Challenge participants are also encouraged to learn more about the neighborhood on their way to a restaurant of choice by visiting Endurance Streets 堅韌的街道: Resilience and Response in Boston’s Chinese Community, a collaboration between Tisch College for Civic Life and the Chinese Historical Society of New England on Harrison and Boylston Streets.
“As a university community, we want to continue to patronize small businesses that surround our campus so they can continue to serve amazing food, beverages, and pastries for years to come,” says Liza Perry, deputy director for the university’s Office of Government and Community Relations. “This challenge is just one way we can both enjoy some of the city’s most delicious and culturally diverse local restaurants and continue to show up and provide support for the Chinatown neighborhood.”
Students from the schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine started the Cherish Chinatown initiative in Spring 2021 with support from the Office of Government and Community Relations and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. Cherish Chinatown aims to educate students, faculty, and staff about the history and cultural importance of Boston’s Chinatown and to organize community engagement opportunities that support Chinatown residents, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations in conjunction with Chinatown leaders.
In the past year, the group has also helped to organize the annual Cherish Chinatown Spring Cleanup and has provided health and dental educational outreach at many local festivals and events, such as August Moon and Chinatown’s National Night Out.
Community members with questions are invited to email the Office of Government and Community Relations at email@example.com.