As one of the University's Michigan Learning Communities, MCSP combines the personal attention of a small school with the extensive opportunities of a large research institution. Our program attracts students with a variety of academic interests who share a commitment to community service. MCSP helps students transition smoothly from high school to college and prepares them for leadership roles on campus and in their future careers. Students and faculty members meet for classes and office hours and participate in student-organized events in West Quad -- where MCSP students live. Our living-learning environment creates a comfortable sense of community within the University. MCSP is sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and University Housing.
What do we do?
- Bridge the living and learning aspects of university life
- Share a commitment to social justice, democracy, and a diverse community
- Lead local, national and international community service initiatives
High Impact Educational Practices
MCSP offers unique educational opportunities for undergraduates, which have been widely recognized for their positive impact on student learning, academic achievement, and student satisfaction with college. These include:
- Learning communities
- Collaborative projects
- Close faculty-student interaction
- First-year seminars
- Writing-intensive courses
- Common intellectual experiences (G. Kuh. 2008. High-Impact Educational Practices. Washington, D.C.: AACU)
- Community service-learning and civic engagement activities
- ALA 102, The “common intellectual experience” course for MCSP
- First Year Seminars
- “Learning in Community” Courses (community service learning & intergroup dialogue)
- English Composition Courses
- Academic Support
- Student-run Programming Board
- Community Service Action Teams
- Leadership Opportunities: Resident Advisors, Peer Advisors for Programming, Peer Advisors for Community Service, Peer Mentors, Action Team Coordinators, Webmaster
- Community and a "home" at the U-M
Community Service Opportunities
Community Service Clubs: The PACS team organizes its work of community engagement and service-learning with community partners primarily through three Community Engagement Clubs. These clubs empower first-year students through direct service initiatives, justice education, and reflection while fostering mutual growth and understanding in MCSP, UM, and the wider community. It is a unique experience in which first year students gain leadership experience by planning and participating in reflective service and educational events. The PACS team currently focuses its engagement on these issues:
- Sustainability and Food Security – We partner with Growing Hope, Natural Area Preservation, Food Gatherers, and Earthworks Urban Farm to explore the intersection between sustainability, environmental justice, healthy communities, and food security. Potential partnerships include Huron River Watershed Council, Farm at St. Joe’s, and the Greening of Detroit.
- Women, Children, and Education – We work with Alpha House, Scarlett Middle School, and Ronald McDonald House as we look to support women and children. Potential partnerships include American Indian Health and Family Services, Community Action Network, and SafeHouse Center.
- Civil Rights, Borders, and Immigration – We focus on justice for refugees, immigrants, and marginalized communities through our partnerships with Freedom House and Mercy House. Potential partnerships include Michigan Refugee Assistance Program, Breakfast at St. Andrew’s, and Therapeutic Riding.
IRC: MCSP’s Intergroup Relations Council is a student organization sponsored by MCSP to encourage intentional efforts to build upon its proven track record in serving a community that embraces the diversity and engagement of its students, staff, and faculty and gives strong support to its underrepresented students. The IRC organizes dialogue-style conversations with students on a range of topics both within MCSP and in collaboration with other campus units, educates and supportsstudents from various social identity groups within MCSP, and works to build a strong positive climate for diversity and learning. The IRC also develops programs for MCSP and campus community that focus and educate on diversity, including issues of power and privilege, collaborates in planning such programs with a variety of units on campus, assists in training students for community service and civic engagement by emphasizing boundary-crossing and bridging in order to work effectively and constructively with populations across diverse backgrounds, and helps in planning for MCSP’s MLK Day events (Circle of Unity and others), MCSP’s social justice film series, and coordinating outside speakers.
PB&U: Our Programming Board (PB&U) takes a grassroots approach by giving first-year students the chance to create social and service events for their learning community. In the process of planning engaging programs, they develop lifelong leadership and community-building skills. Past PB&U events have included a canoe trip to clean-up the Huron River, a Diabetes Awareness Dinner to demystify this commonly misunderstood disease, and a pumpkin-painting party to make Halloween decorations for local families in need.
SHOCK: An entirely student-run program, Students Helping Others Choose Knowledgeably (SHOCK) began under the name of the MCSP Drama Troupe during the 2001-2002 year as a way to get MCSP students involved in the greater Ann Arbor community. Using original skits focusing on substance abuse, SHOCK travels to Ann Arbor fifth grade classrooms encouraging students to remain drug free.
Smile Bringer Singers: The Smile Bringer Singers was founded at MCSP with the sole purpose of SPREADING HAPPINESS THROUGH HARMONIES! The group was started in 2010, and since its creation, has continued to grow throughout University of Michigan and Ann Arbor communities. They are dedicated to making a positive difference in our community by traveling to places often overlooked in the Ann Arbor area such as nursing homes, retirement homes, family centers, orphanages and homeless shelters.
University-Community Social & Environmental Justice Film & Discussion Series: MCSP partners with the Ann Arbor District Library to show films on a monthly basis at the public library highlighting social issues. Film directors, faculty, students, and community leaders lead discussions following the films. Past films have included Bilal’s Stand, Asparagus, Fremont, USA, The Waterfront, Of Civil Rights and Wrongs, Prom Night in Mississippi, Grown in Detroit, Philosopher Kings, An Untold Triumph, Finding the Gold Within, and The Human Experiment.
Upcoming films for Fall 2016 are: The Hunting Ground, Never a Bystander, and Black & Blue.
Wolvereaders: WolveReaders was founded in 2015. The group works to improve literacy and instill a love of reading by connecting MCSP students and second-graders at Estabrook Elementary School in Ypsilanti Michigan through a pen-pal relationship. A small group of MCSP students visit the classroom twice a month to work with the students and the classroom teacher.
Hack Blue: Founded by MCSP first-year students in 2018, Hack Blue works with the Peace Neighborhood Center in Ann Arbor to introduce middle and high-school students to the fun and excitement of coding.
MCSP International: Having participated in a pen-pal relationship with an orphanage in Uganda, a group of MCSP students hope to establish an organization that promotes intercultural understanding. They have been exploring a relationship with students in Ann Arbor’s sister city of Tübingen, Germany.