Project Community is one of the nation's oldest continuously-running service-learning courses. Each year approximately 300 students combine academic learning with meaningful service in the community.
Students who elect Sociology 389: Practicum in Sociology choose seminars in our Criminal Justice, Education, Gender and Sexuality, or Public Health program areas. Examples of community work for students include teaching a creative writing class in a prison, tutoring at a local school, being a "fem-tor" for a teenage girl or volunteering in a hospital.
In addition to the community component, requirements for the course include a weekly 90-minute seminar, readings and written assignments. These requirements, developed by Project Community faculty and graduate student instructors, are integrated in a seminar by a peer facilitator enrolled in Sociology 325: The Sociology of Service-Learning, taught by our faculty sponsor. Project Community's unique design provides many opportunities for learning in the community and in the classroom.
Project Community is committed to student involvement in community service and social action, both to improve the lives of those in the community, as well as to enhance student learning and development. By engaging in service and complementary active learning, students grow in social responsibility, develop critical thinking skills, assess personal values, and come to better understand themselves. Students are primarily involved with individuals in the community who experience social inequalities, and learn with, from, and about them.
Project Community was founded on the U-M campus by the student activists of the 1960s, responding to John F. Kennedy's call to "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
Early members of this student organization traveled to the Deep South to participate in the Civil Rights Movement and were challenged by the Movement's leaders to work for social justice in their home communities.
Initially volunteering at schools, prisons and hospitals in the Ann Arbor area, these students sought out faculty who could support their community practice with academic theory through independent study.
In the 1970s Project Community became a formal course, a partnership between the Department of Sociology and the Division of Student Affairs' Ginsberg Center.