ALA 102 Service Projects
MCSP first year students are required to participate in at least one community engagement opportunity as part of their ALA 102 Course. We currently partner with the following community organizations:
- Campus Farm: Part of the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Food Program, the Campus Farm at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens provides Michigan students with a tangible way to connect to the natural world and the issue of food security. MCSP students participate in farm chores such as harvesting, weeding and preparing beds for the winter.
- Earthworks Urban Farm: Earthworks Urban Farm is a 2.5 acre certified organic farm located in the City of Detroit seeking to build a just, beautiful food system through education, inspiration, and community development. MCSP students help with farm chores and learn about how Earthworks fits in the network of urban agriculture in Detroit and the work for equity in food access and racial justice.
- Food Gatherers Warehouse: Food Gatherers is the food rescue and assistance program serving Washtenaw County. Through its programs and advocacy, Food Gatherers works to alleviate hunger in our community and establish a more just food system. MCSP students work in the warehouse sorting cans, restocking the pantry, salvaging products, packing food boxes, cleaning out coolers, etc.
- Freedom House: Freedom House Detroit is a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution from around the world who are seeking asylum in the United States and Canada. With care and compassion, they provide services to residents and other refugees seeking need as well as advocating for the rights of asylum seekers. MCSP students build relationships with the residents of Freedom House through games/activities and conversation that highlight life in the United States and American culture.
- Growing Hope: Growing Hope works to educate, inspire, and empower the community through urban gardening and advocacy for local and healthy food access. MCSP students work on their urban farm in Ypsilanti and/or in their farmer's markets.
- Habitat for Humanity Re-Store: The ReStore provides financial support to our local Habitat for Humanity helping them to provide homes to low income families in Washtenaw County. The ReStore sells furniture, tools, appliances, windows, doors, cabinets, housewares, flooring, tile, garden supplies, paint, plumbing and more! MCSP students work in the store moving materials and helping customers.
- Natural Area Preservation: Natural Area Preservation (NAP) works to protect and restore Ann Arbor’s natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic among its citizens. MCSP students work with NAP on stewardship projects in Ann Arbor parks and wildlife areas.
- Ronald McDonald House: Ronald McDonald House provides a supportive “home away from home” for families of children receiving care at local health facilities. The goal of RMDH is to care for families and keep them together during a difficult time. MCSP students prepare and serve a “home-cooked” meal for families.
MCSP Community Engagement and Affiliated Initiatives
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 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 partnership with Freedom House. Potential partnerships include Michigan Refugee Assistance Program and Therapeutic Riding.
In addition to the Community Engagement Clubs, MCSP also sponsors Affiliated Community Engagement groups including Hack Blue, S.H.O.C.K., Smile Bringer Singers, WolveReaders, MCSP International, and Alternative Spring Break.
- 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.
- S.H.O.C.K. – Students Helping Others Choose Knowledgeably, or S.H.O.C.K., has been a fixture of MCSP since 1999. Create and perform original skits focusing on substance abuse to educate elementary school students and encourage them to remain drug free. The skits feature characters and situations relatable to fifth graders and in the past have included Spider Man, Harry Potter, Spongebob, and many more fun and exciting characters! S.H.O.C.K. needs energetic students to act, direct, create new skits, and handle behind-the-scenes tasks. No acting experience is required to join.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Intergroup Relations Council
Get involved with MCSP's intergroup relations council!
- Lead and coordinate dialogue-style conversations with students on a range of topics both within MCSP and in collaboration with other campus units.
- Educate and support students from various social identity groups within MCSP
- Develop programs for MCSP and campus community that focus and educate on diversity, including issues of power and privilege (collaborating with PB and U)
- Train students for community service and civic engagement (with PACS) on constructive and effective ways to work with populations across diverse backgrounds
- Plan MCSP MLK day event (Circle of Unity and others) and coordinate outside speakers
Our Programming Board 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.
PB&U plans and hosts events that build community within the MCSP community, including: MCSPaint the Rock, MCSPhamily Nights, Pistons Game, Intramural Sports teams, Improv Comedy Night, MCSPhood Fest (co-sponsored with IRC), cooking baking, picnic in the Arb, and even the winter retreat.