The Civic
The Civic (Source: Franz Knight/MJ)
The Civic
The CIViC (Source: Franz Knight/MJ)

BY REBECCA HILLARY, Staff Writer

The University of Michigan-Dearborn keeps students busy with all sorts of amazing activities and events, and garners large student involvement outside of the classroom.

What most do not realize is that there is a specific, hardworking group of people working behind the scenes to provide the university with fun and rewarding volunteer and fundraising opportunities. That group of people is called the CIViC, the Community Involvement and Volunteerism Center.  The CIViC opened in the fall of 2010, and has done an excellent job of allowing students to serve and give back to the community.

This past Friday, I had the opportunity of speaking with Lauren Hayes, a coordinator for the CIViC since August.  Her job requires a lot of hard work, but the pay-off is well worth it.  Not only is she making a difference in her community, but she is also helping others make a difference.

On a typical day, Lauren oversees the planning and coordinating for the Alternative Spring Break Program, which UM-Dearborn is hosting this year.  The program involves students taking part in fun team building activities and exploring the area, as well as serving and learning about their community.  She also takes part in coordinating the Alternative Exchange Weekends, giving students a change of scenery and different places to volunteer.

Students participating from our school exchange with students from Northern Michigan University and University of Michigan-Flint.

Between planning for Alternative Spring Break, she coordinates days of service for different occasions throughout the year, some of the most well-known being Make a Difference Day and Be the Change: Ghandi Day of Service,  and volunteer events on the first Saturday of every month.

The CIViC encourages any faculty member, staff member, or student to sign up to volunteer at any event and is interested in hearing their ideas and suggestions for different projects.  Hayes highly urges students to get in involved if they haven’t already because it assists in shaping them into diverse and well-rounded individuals.

“Part of being a student is living in a community and giving back to the community,” says Hayes.

There are several ways for students to get involved.  They can get on the email list and receive weekly updates, check out the CIViC on Facebook, or visit their website at sao.umd.umich.edu/the_civic/, which Hayes works hard to keep updated.

If you are not big on technology, you can just do it the old fashioned way and simply walk over to the CIViC, located in the University Center right next to the McKinley Café, and their staff will be more than happy to help.

In fact, Hayes is asking that students sign up to volunteer for one of the CIViC’s biggest upcoming projects, the Martin Luther King Day of Service.    The service day will take place at UM-Dearborn, and aside from UM-D students, students from Madonna, HFCC, Davenport, and Marygrove will be volunteering that day.

You can register on the CIViC website. This year, you will be able to choose from around five events, according to Lauren, which will definitely include volunteering for Vista Maria, the guidance center, and Maybury Elementary. The CIViC is expecting around 600 volunteers to participate.  The experience is rewarding, and with a variety of ways to volunteer, students are bound to find a fit that is right for them.