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What is SOC 225: Project Community?

Project Community (SOC 225) is the Sociology Department's credit-bearing community service learning opportunity that is available to all students. 

By engaging in service and active learning, students grow in social responsibility, develop critical thinking skills, assess personal values, and come to better understand themselves. Students are primarily involved with individuals in the community who experience social inequalities, and learn with, from, and about them.

Mission

Project Community is committed to student involvement in community service and social action, both to improve the lives of those in the community, as well as to enhance student learning and development.  By engaging in service and complementary active learning, students grow in social responsibility, develop critical thinking skills, assess personal values, and come to better understand themselves.  Students are primarily involved with individuals in the community who experience social inequalities, and learn with, from, and about them.

Program History

Project Community was founded on the U-M campus by the student activists of the 1960s, responding to John F. Kennedy's call to "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Early members of this student organization traveled to the Deep South to participate in the Civil Rights Movement and were challenged by the Movement's leaders to work for social justice in their home communities. Initially volunteering at schools, prisons, and hospitals in the Ann Arbor area, these students sought out faculty who could support their community practice with academic theory through independent study. In the 1970s Project Community became a formal course- a partnership between the Department of Sociology and the Division of Student Affairs' Ginsberg Center. Currently, Project Community is housed and executed exclusively within the Department of Sociology. 

Why Should I Participate in Project Community?

Students who participate in Project Community register for SOC 225. This course is an ideal experiential complement to the regular academic instruction provided by Department of Sociology faculty. It can be a useful tool for getting acquainted with the “real-life” applications of sociology or a meaningful capstone for an upper-level student who has already completed several SOC courses. Participants develop and hone communication skills and make meaningful connections and contributions to Ann Arbor and metro-Detroit communities.

SOC 225

Participating students earn academic credit for SOC 225 by reflecting with a sociological lens on service-learning experiences. Students gain skills and perspective through a variety of experiences within these settings, including tutoring in a public elementary school, facilitating weekly debates, or creative writing groups with jail inmates or prisoners, being a "fem-tor" for a teenage girl, or volunteering in a hospital. Project Community's unique design provides many opportunities for learning in the community and in the classroom.

Students may choose from a SOC 225 section in one of three program areas:

  • Education
  • Public Health
  • Criminal Justice

Sociology 225 (graded, experiential) is offered in Fall and Winter terms. Each section is a different community service site with unique needs and possible service times. Each section has a determined number of credits, which cannot be modified by the student. (Most sections are 3 credits)

Requirements include attending a 60-minute weekly seminar, participating in relevant community service at a designated site for approximately 4 hours each week, and completing all reading and writing assignments and/or projects. 

SOC 225 is repeatable up to 8 credits, however only one election of SOC 225 can be applied to the Sociology major, LJSC minor, or SHM minor. Regular credit exclusions and limitations (i.e. experiential credit limits) apply for Sociology majors, LJSC minors, and SHM minors.

In need of a vehicle or a ride?

Students enrolled in SOC 225: Project Community who have a valid driver's license are able to work with the Center for Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL) to use a vehicle. Carpooling among students in the same section is encouraged. Transportation is coordinated through the section facilitator and CEAL staff.

Visit the CEAL-RIDE website for more information.