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Getting Involved

There are many opportunities for student involvement in MCSP. MCSP’s student-led programs 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.

Required Service Projects for ALA 102

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.
  • Gleaner’s Community Food Bank: Gleaners Community Food Bank alleviates hunger in S.E. Michigan by working with member agencies, the Feeding America network, and program partners in providing millions of donated and purchased food to people in need. Through education and advocacy, Gleaners also aims to reduce the reliance on the emergency food system. MCSP students work with their My Neighborhood Mobile Grocery, an innovative program that brings healthy food to communities with limited access. 
  • 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.
  • Scarlett Middle School and Mitchell Elementary School: The Scarlett-Mitchell K-8 International Baccalaureate campus develops young people to be inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring through intercultural understanding and respect. The schools are incredibly diverse with many English language learners, new immigrant families, and a range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. MCSP students are mentors, guides and support as they work with students in the classroom.
  • St. Louis Center: Promoting human dignity with compassion and kindness, Saint Louis Center provides a caring and loving home and community for people with intellectual and developmental differences. MCSP students play games and build relationships with the community.

Student-led Programs and Initiatives (Required Participation)

Community Engagement and Affiliated Initiatives (PACS)

The PACS team organizes its work of community engagement and service-learning with community partners around three pillars:

  • Sustainability and Food Security – We explore the intersection between sustainability, environmental justice, healthy communities, and food security. 
  • Women, Children, and Education – We look to promote equity and justice as we support women and children
  • Civil Rights, Borders, and Immigration – We seek justice for refugees, immigrants, and marginalized communities through our community partnerships.

Intergroup Relations Council (IRC)

The Intergroup Relations Council coordinates cultural events, 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.

Programming Board (PB&U)

Our Programming Board and You (PB&U) coordinates social, educational, cultural and art programs, and collaborates with Hall Councils, Multicultural Councils, RAs, and other student groups to put on larger events. In the process of planning engaging programs, they develop lifelong leadership and community-building skills.

MCSP-Affiliated Student Organizations (Optional, but Fun!)

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 build relationships by connecting MCSP students and fifth-graders at Ypsilanti International 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.

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.

Flint Justice Partnership

Founded by first-year students in 2018, Flint Justice Partnership at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor aims to serve and connect with the Flint community and educate UM students about the Flint water crisis. FJP partners with multiple organizations to advance their mission.

Community/Public Events

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, 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, The Human Experiment, Warrior Lawyers, Cooked: Survival by Zip Code, and Braver Angels.

MLK Circle of Unity

Hosted with our cross-campus partners, 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. Through song, dance, and spoken word, this event celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King.