August 28, 2012 marked the sixth year the School of Social Work welcomed incoming MSW students with a day of community service. More than 160 students participated at sites in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Ypsilanti.
I see it as an opportunity to work hand in hand with strangers at the beginning of the day and go home laughing and working together as friends, colleagues, and supports to one another.
—Veronica Groom, current MSW student, site leader for the Guidance Center
Community Service Day provides an opportunity for current MSW students to take a leadership role working as site leaders. It also gives incoming students a chance to get to know one another before the busy school year begins, and to visit the communities and agencies that sponsor student field placements.
Incoming MSW student Brian Murphy, who volunteered at People’s Community Services in Detroit, commented “How do I compare a social problem to weed whacking? It began with the weed whacker itself, but then the weeds become vines. Some vines were longer and required more tools. With teamwork, innovation, and tools, some problems can be resolved. They just require a little extra work.”
I am thankful to have had this opportunity to utilize my skills to be a part of a greater initiative to raise awareness about homelessness in Detroit.
—Jillian Albert, incoming MSW student
Community Service Day agencies included:
- SOS Community Services
- UMHS Child Care Center
- Bryant Community Center
- The Hannan Foundation
- People’s Community Services
- Guidance Center
- Greening of Detroit
- Southwest Solutions
- Tour of Detroit with Gleaner’s Community Food Bank
Each year, one of the favorite activities available for students to participate in is the tour of Detroit led by Professor Larry Gant. This year, students had a unique opportunity to visit the new Settlement House in southwest Detroit, where they had lunch and did service work. The purpose of the house is to create a space for campus-community collaboration.
For a lot of social work fields, results are usually intangible. And this is why the favorite part of my day was just looking back on the ‘fruits of our labor’ and knowing that we accomplished something for the community center that day.
—Jane Lim, Incoming MSW student
Written by Megan Sims-Fujita, an MSW student and a graduate student staff assistant in the Office of Student Services.