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October 07, 1994 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-07

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 7, 1994 - 3

Push toward community
service is replacing Diag protests


Daily Editor In Chief

There was a time on
campus when stu
dents gathered in
masses to protest every-
thing from military involve-
ment in Vietnam to minor-
ity representation on cam-
Groups planned -- and
actually executed - take-
overs of the Fleming Build-
ing, sending administrators
into a state of panic. The
University campus was at
the forefront in protesting
important and even many
obscure events happening
around the country and at
the University.
In recent years, Diag
rallies have had less than
large turnouts. In fact, un-
less Hash Bash is included,
students who protest on the
Diag are usually outnum-
bered by apathetic pass-
Now the Diag acts as
the social gathering place
between classes instead of
a hotbed for political de-
Now and then a lone
voice can be heard trying to
rally people around a cause,
but these voices seem few
and far between. They of-
ten get lost in the cloud of
apathy that follows many
This is not to say, how-
ever, that students have
given up on making a dif-
ference. In fact, Mother
Jones magazine recently
named the University as one
of the top 10 activist cam-
puses in the country. But as
the magazine asserts - and
many on campus agree -
the focus has shifted from
student protest to student
According to adminis-
trators, about 4,000 Michi-
gan students are actively
involved in community ser-
vice. This includes every-
thing from volunteering at
Pound House to tutoring
high school students in De-.
troit. Whatever the activ-
ity, the new push from ad-

ministrators and students
seems to be: get involved,
be active.
"I think there is a range
of views on service," said
Greg Shannon, co-chair of
Project Serve and LSA jun-
ior. "Some people look at it
as walking down the street
in an orange vest picking
up trash and others see it as
"It's kind of a new form
of activism," said Payal
Parekh, an LSA senior.
"You're giving back to the
community and getting
something in return."
Parekh volunteers at the
Ann Arbor Hands-On Mu-
seum, helping to teach chil-
dren about science. She said
that not only does working
with the young people in-
vest in their future, it also
invests in hers.
With the push toward
service from the White
House, the University is
looking at ways it can en-
courage students to get in-
volved. But the process of
developing community ser-
vice learning opportunities
is not new to Michigan.
In 1961, the University
began a series of projects
designed to get students
working in the community
for academic credit. Even-
tually, these non-tradi-
tional ways of learning
were collected under the
Office of Project Commu-
This office continued
to develop and is now
known as the Office of
Community Service
Learning (CSL). CSL has
many responsibilities,
which include publishing
scholarly journals and
writing grant proposals to
obtain funding for student
and University projects.
Jeff Howard, director of
CSL, said that the office
had "always perceived our-
selves as not in the center of
undergraduate education."
When the University pro-
vided funding for the cre-


Students work in the Project Serve office on the second floor of the Union.

-- - - n ~'

ation of Project Serve in
1988, this validated the
office's existence to
Howard, who has worked
full-time for the University
since 1977.
"I think it's the respon-
sibility of the University to
provide opportunities to
cultivate educational and
leadership opportunities
which will also instill a
sense of social responsibil-
ity to the community to
which we belong," said
Even as the administra-
tion continues to talk about
the importance of commu-
nity service learning, stu-
dents still feel the need to
initiate projects themselves.
"I don't really blame
the administration (if there
are not more programs)

program, which will send
University students to vol-
unteer agencies in Febru-
"If the students took the
lead, I think sometimes
things happen faster," said
Executive Director for
Community Service and
Service Learning Barry
Such student initiatives
have been taken with the
development of the Alter-
native Weekend programs
through Project Serve and
the Welcome Week activ-
ity, Community Plunge.
Developed in an effort
to get first-year students
involved as active members
of the community, Plunge
was planned and executed
by students with staff sup-

program to
start at 'U'
Daily Staff Reporter
P residential candidate John F. Kennedy stood on te
steps of the Michigan Union more than 30 years
ago challenging students to make his Peace Corps
dreams a reality. Today the heart of activism has
changed as energetic Americans offer their service to
their own country.
President Clinton tapped this movement by found-
ing the AmeriCorps program last month, whih all-
cated the University $750,000 to start more community
service programs in the state.
Organizers are still deciding how to spend the
money, said Social Work Prof. Barry Checkoway, who
is working closely with the program.
The University's arm of AmeriCorps will focus On
areas such as improving business, education, public
safety and human relations.
For example, student workers may set up summer
camps for youngsters. "Otherwise many would not
have the opportunity for summer pre-school activity,"
Checkoway said.
He said, "We might have a safety escort program
for older individuals," adding that specific programs
have not yet been decided.
Other ideas include prenatal care classes, home
maintenance programs and neighborhood cleanup
In the first year, starting January, the program will
hire 40 students, and expand to 60 in the second and
third years.
Half of the students will come from the following
University professional schools: Business, Public
Health and Social Work, the College of Architecture
and Urban Planning and the Institute of Public Policy
The remaining AmeriCorps members will be hired
from a pool of applicants.
"I think there will be substantial interest,"
Checkoway said.
Students will be expected to work 'two days per
week during fall and winter terms, and full-time during
the summer.
National AmeriCorps guidelines specify students
will be paid $7,500 along with a $4,725 college grant,
for working 1,700 hours per year - an average of 32
hours per week.
The program will be able to take more than 40
applicants but lacks the funds to pay them.
"We'll encourage any volunteers and donations of
time," Checkoway said.
Aside from compensation, Checkoway said the
money in the government grant will provide for thre
years of expenses in travel, supplies, seminar course
material and training.
Many AmeriCorps programs around the country
have already begun. Clinton's plan calls for 20,000
students to become involved with one of 250 selected
nonprofit organizations.

that much becau
up to students,"j
Bates, an LSA so
who is heading th
Alternative Sprin

se it is all The University pro-
said Abe vided about $8,000 to fund
phomore, the day. Thirty-one com-
his year's munity organizations pro-
ng Breaks vided work opportunities
in which student site lead-
ers led over 400 incoming
students on a day of vol-
The program was de-
signed with the idea that
students would find out
what kind of organizations
are around Ann Arbor, and
ideally inspire them to con-
tinue their service during
their four years at the Uni-
This goes along with
Bates' idea of what service
should be. "You've got to
start off with immersion,
but hopefully, you can
move beyond that and see
what makes the pot boil over
and not just clean up the
spill," he said.
It is the "cleaning up the
spill" part that most agree

A student dressed like Santa
on the Diag.
thing about what they see
and the students are more
focused on making contri-
butions to the betterment of
society." But, this raises
questions for Howard about
whether or not students are
less clear on the root of the
"I certainly think that
our students have moved in
a different direction of ac-
tivism," said Vice President
for Student Affairs
Maureen Hartford. "I think
our students are looking at
something more tangible
and more local."
Hartford said she be-
lieves that students view
their role in community ser-
vice as that of a "social
change agent," not just a
C! f a nc of cn.a _ .t :in

Claus collects for charity
punishment instead of go-
ing to jail. Still others think
of volunteerism.
Some University stu-
dents think of taking a class
on Appalachia and then
going there to work over
Spring Break.
"When they (students)
get exposed, when they do
Into the Streets or when they
do Community Plunge, the
message flip-flops," Bates
said. He said he hopes stu-
dents are getting the mes-
sage that service is some-
thing that can change the
world if the problems are
Service as scholarship
is one of the primary ideas
the University wants to pro-
mote. Publishing the
"Aithan lniira of nm

faculty are showing that you
can teach and do research
in a community service set-
ting," said Checkoway,who
recently moved to the Divi-
sion of Student Affairs to
work on issues regarding
How the University al-
locates money to service is
always at issue. Students
agree that money given to
programs like Project Serve
i n tn ir n at f

'I don't think enough
money is going toward stu-
dent activities as a whole
and, although student
groups on campus do a phe-
nomenal job with what they
have, an increase in money
would have a greater affect
on the student body," said
But as more money
continues to be allocated
to ,he Un;v-;~t t nah

I .. t: x ..:::.

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