Overview

Ropes Course 13

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 East Quad -- where MCSP students live.  Our living-learning environment creates a comfortable sense of community within the University.  MCSP is sponsored by the Department 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
  • Diversity

MCSP Components +

  • UC 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 +

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, and An Untold Triumph.
Upcoming films for Fall 2013 are: We Can't Eat Gold, Where Soldiers Come From, and The Island President. 

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.

SWAP:  In 2009, MCSP first-year Melanie Hebeisen started Scarves with a Purpose (SWAP) as a creative way to help the homeless.  Every Tuesday night, she invites students to gather in East Quad’s Madrigal Lounge to knit scarves for people in need.  Within its first year, SWAP’s popularity spread so far that it opened its doors to everyone in MCSP as well as everyone on the U-M campus.  Even students who have never knitted before are welcome!  SWAP churns out so many scarves that it donates to multiple locations including the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County and the Tumaini Center in Detroit.   

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.

Action Teams: Our ten Action Teams enable students to explore specific social issues in depth.  Each group meets weekly for educational and service-oriented events about their issue.  Since MCSP students have a wide variety of interests, they can join as many teams as they would like!

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Borders and Immigration
  • Rural and Urban Poverty (including issues surrounding homelessness)
  • Human Rights
  • Financial Literacy
  • Environment & Sustainability

Brightmoor Youth Gardens:  Inspired by the urge to learn about urban and environmental issues simultaneously, MCSP students established a partnership with the Brightmoor Community Garden in Detroit.  Initially, Brightmoor resident Riet Schumack created the garden to enliven her dilapidated neighborhood.  Since 2010, MCSP students have helped Riet recruit local youth to plant seeds and learn about organic farming.  In the process, they have modeled leadership skills for Brightmoor’s young men and women and increased access to local produce in Detroit’s food desert.  Together, the MCSP students and local youth have brightened Brightmoor’s future.  To see this inspiring group in action, just play the YouTube video below!

Smile Bringer Singers: MCSP’s newest student group takes a musical approach to community service.  Started by first-year Sasha Altschuler, the Smile Bringer Singers perform uplifting songs at local shelters, hospitals and nursing homes.  They have spread happiness through harmonies throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and they sang an inspiring set at MCSP’s “Circle of Unity” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2011.