There are many ways for students to get involved within MCSP. These student-run groups provide MCSP students opportunities to pursue something they are interested in, to learn more about social justice and global issues, to work in local communities through community service, and to connect with other MCSPers throughout the year.
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 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.
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.
Students Helping Others Choose Knowledgeably, or S.H.O.C.K., uses original skits focusing on substance abuse to educate elementary school students and encourage them to remain drug free. S.H.O.C.K. visits fifth grade classrooms throughout Ann Arbor to perform original skits. The skits feature 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.
S.H.O.C.K. has been a fixture to MCSP since 1999 and is in great need of first-year students this year!
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 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.
Alternative Spring Break
Instead of going somewhere fun and relaxing for spring break, MCSP students often take part in the annual Alternative Spring Break (ASB), projects revolving around service and volunteer work across the country at different locations. During their spring break, MCSP students have participated in Alternative Spring Break experiences in Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Florida and California, just to name a few. At these locations, students help local nonprofits and community organizations to achieve their missions of bettering their communities. Past themes have included homelessness, hunger, children and education, and health and wellness. When they return to campus, ASB participants have reflected deeply with each other about their experience, and with the greater MCSP and campus community about their new knowledge and skills. MCSP continues to foster experiential learning opportunities like ASB to help students connect service learning and social justice.
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.
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.
Intergroup Relations Council (IRC)
The Intergroup Relations Council coordinates cultural events, both in West Quad, on-campus, and in the community. The IRC also plans and leads dialogue-style conversations on a range of social identity and social justice issues, along with addressing climate-focused initiatives. The IRC would be happy to have you at an event, dialogue, or at weekly planning meetings!
Programming Board (PB&U)
Programming Board and You is a student-run board that plans events within the MCSP Community, including social, educational, cultural and art programs. PB&U collaborates with Hall Councils, Multicultural Councils, RAs, and other student groups to put on larger events. Previous events include study parties, movie nights, trips to Detroit for the annual Auto Show, Detroit Pistons and Tigers games, authentic cultural dinners, plus many more! Have an idea that you would like to pitch? Come to a meeting to talk about it!
- MCSP's MLK Day Circle of Unity Event
- MCSP's MLK Day Circle of Unity is an event where students, staff, and faculty of MCSP and the wider university community gather on the Diag on MLK Day and participate in performances, speakers, and other activities to remind us of Dr. King's dream, where society has come since the Civil Rights Movement, and what still needs to be done in terms of equality and social justice.
- MCSP's Winter Retreat
- Every year MCSP puts on a fun-filled, educational, overnight retreat for students to reflect on the past year, do some fun community building activities, look forward to the following semester and next year, and spend some quality time with fellow MCSPers. This retreat takes place at the Holley Family Village, a wonderful off campus location that provides lots of room for activities.
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.