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March 29, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-29

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LOCAL/STATE The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 29, 1996 - 5
*U' to use $3M to expand community service progamns

By Jodi Cohen
Daily Staff Reporter
About 4,500 undergraduate students
participate in community service pro-
grams each academic year.
But new initiatives in community
rvice learning - including an addi-
onal $3 million allocated by the Uni-
versity to fund these programs - may
mean more opportunities for student
"We have as many, or perhaps more,
undergrads andgrads involved in learn-
ing through service than almost any
other university in the country," said
Barry Checkoway, director of commu-
nity service and service learning.
In line with the University's position
a frontrunner in community service,
Provost J. Bernard Machen plans to
distribute the state funds to University
programs that support community ser-
vice activities.
"I will fund $3 million in an effort to
fulfill our commitment to service learn-
ing in the state," Machen said.
He said the funding will allow the
University to expand its outreach ef-
Wrts to communities across Michigan.
"This University does a lot of things
in support of the state of Michigan,"
Machen said. "There are more things
we could do if we had the funding."
Machen said individuals must sub-
mit program proposals, which either
can outline a new program or expand an
existing activity, by May 15 to receive
a portion of the funds.
Psychology and social work Prof.
Lorraine Gutierrez, who co-directs the
etroit Initiative in Psychology, said
e funding may create community ser-
vice programs that previously could not
"It has the potential to greatly expand
different ways we might do these kinds
ofthings," Gutierrez said. "There could
be service learning thattakes place in
different cities. That kind of funding
will make it easier for students to get to
those locations."
* Students in the Detroit project travel
to neighborhoods in the city to perform
demographic and social research on
various issues. The participants then
present their findings to related organi-
Machen said programs, such as the
Detroit psychology project, serve as
examples of the University's commit-
ment to community service projects in
"I think the University has done a lot
*ore community service than we are
given credit for," Machen said. "But I
think we should be doing more."
Associate Dean for Undergraduate
Education Lincoln Faller said it is diffi-
cult to estimate the number of classes
that currently include community ser-
vice. The grant may make it easier to
keep track, he said.
"This will be the first chance we will
Gave to have something of an inventory
of what, in fact, is going on," Faller
There are other projects currently
underway to coordinate the University's
many community service learning pro-
grams. The Center for Learning Through
Continued from Page I.
Oakes language study more practical.
"We look at the news in Hebrew on
the Internet for that day," Coffin said.
"The news is not for students of He-
brew, but for speakers of Hebrew."
Schoem said the use of technology
will continue to increase during the
next few years. But he said the best type
of education still integrates interper-

sonal communications.
"Even with all the technology, there
is a need still for face to face contact,"
Schoem said. "That kind of balance
will need to be emphasized more."
The recent opening of the Media
Union on North Campus indicates a
Universitywide commitment to tech-
nological advancement.
"It is a place to experience new ways
that higher education will occur," Uni-
versity President James Duderstadt said
an interview earlier this month. "It is
place where students can do things."
After he steps down as president in
June, Duderstadt's office will be lo-
cated in the Media Union.
"(The Media Union) is a place where
students will be fairly unrestrained,"
Duderstadt said.
Still, Milne warned against depend-
ing too much on new technology.
"Sometimes we tend to think that
q hen we have a new way of doing
something, we have a better way of
doing something. That is not necessar-
ily true," Milne said. "Unless we take
advantage of the power computing has
to make studying more interactive, then
we are probably just buying expensive
review books."

Community Service, to be located at
1024 Hill St., will be the central loca-
tion for service projects.
"The new center should be a meeting
place and an activity center for service
and learning," Checkoway said. He did
not know when the center will open.
Faller said community service
projects prepare students for work after
college. "If they can find ways that the
skills have real-world applications, they
are in a better position to learn the best
way to work in the world," he said.
LSA senior Mona Kumar, who has
participated in many community ser-
vice projects, agreed that students re-
ceive invaluable experiences from these
Among her many activities; Kumar

goes to a juvenile detention center ev-
ery Thursday.
Kumar, along with other students in
the English 319 class on theater and
social change, spends time there each
week working with the inmates to de-
velop a theater production. The goal is,
she said, to help them learn ways to
express their feelings.
"We do theater workshops with
them," Kumar said. "We want them to
have an empowering experience while
they are in these institutions. One way
to do that is to get people to express
themselves in ways they might not usu-
ally do."
She said the workshops, which give
inmates a forum to talk about their
experiences, also build relationships

between the two groups. The plays fo-
cus on a variety of issues, including the
inmates' lives, their families and the
reasons they are detained at the center.
"The relationships are really power-
ful and really unique," Kumar said.
"For me, this is about creating change
and really making a difference in terms
of striving toward justice for
marginalized people."
She said community service learning
is not only a valuable experience in
itself, but also makes class discussions
on issues such as racism more poignant.
David Schoem, assistant dean for un-
dergraduate education, said that each
semester a greater number of students
receive credit for participating in com-
munity service activities.

"There is continuing to be an in-
crease in courses integrating the two,"
Schoem said.
Political Science 300, a course on
contemporary issues in American poli-
tics, gives students the option to partici-
pate in community service.
"Students learn about many of those
topics by being involved in some kind
ofcommunity-based organization," said
political science Prof.Gregory Markus,
who teaches the course. "It supplements
the abstract, theoretical stuff they hear
about in the classroom with concrete,
practical experience."
Markus said the students who per-
formed community service did better
academically. "Community service has
a definite academic benefit to it,"

Markus added. "Students learn more
about the subject matter and it seems to
motivate thern more."
Faller said some LSA programs, like
the Latino Studies Program in the
American culture department, require
students to participate in community
service before graduating.
Although Faller said community seri
vice programs are growing, he does not
expect them to become a general LSA
"I don't see it as a general require-
ment, but I see it as something everyone
will want to do," Faller said. "It is the
college's goal to develop a situation
where every student will have a chance
to have a significant learning experi-
ence outside the classroom."

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