University of Detroit Mercy community gears up for service work in Detroit on Aug. 21-22

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August 19, 2019

DETROIT — University of Detroit Mercy freshmen will begin their college careers with a day of service work. Students will split in two groups and work throughout Detroit on Aug. 21-22.

The annual tradition is part of Prologues, Transitions and Viewpoints (PTV), Detroit Mercy’s orientation program. The service portion of PTV introduces incoming Detroit Mercy students to service learning and reinforces the mission of the University. Community members and Detroit Mercy faculty, staff and alumni work in partnership during PTV to help clean up the neighborhood and help with special community projects. 
This year, service work will focus on two areas.
Students and volunteers will work around the Fitzgerald neighborhood in northwest Detroit on Aug. 21. They will assist several neighborhood gardens and farms in Detroit on Aug. 22 through Detroit Mercy’s Campus Kitchen, a program that provides students with opportunities to promote equity and sustainability in the food system.
Tim Hipskind, S.J., director of service-learning for Detroit Mercy’s Institution for Leadership and Service, expects nearly 340 students and 90 volunteers to work during PTV.
“We want to give students a great education, but also help them consider how they will use the great education they are receiving,” he said. “We see there is much more to life than making a lot of money. Our education and all that we gain from it must serve a higher purpose, which is the common good, the good of the communities in which we live and work, especially communities that lack resources offered to other communities.”
In the Fitzgerald neighborhood, students and volunteers will clear lots and parks, remove trash and aid Brilliant Detroit and Maggie Lee’s Community Center with various projects. Since 2017, the Fitzgerald neighborhood has experienced a number of revitalization efforts through the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, a $4 million initiative led by the city of Detroit to restore the neighborhood. Each year, Detroit Mercy students and volunteers assist in this initiative through PTV’s days of service.
Also on Aug. 21, Detroit Mercy community members will engage in work at Gesu Catholic School, located across the street from Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus.
The Campus Kitchen portion of the service work has several opportunities to provide maintenance for Detroit-area gardens, farms and parks. Students and volunteers will also distribute fliers throughout Martin Park District Association and help stock the HIVE student pantry, located in Reno Hall on Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus.
“I think the service aspect of PTV is a transformative experience,” Detroit Mercy Orientation Leader Ben Westphal said. “For the new students, I think it really proves to them how Detroit, along with our surrounding areas, are growing and revitalizing with the contributions we make to the community. We live in an area where there is so much potential and hope for the future. The work that the students, faculty and staff are doing during PTV and throughout the entire year is what will help us build a strong relationship with our community, while helping the area rise up.”
Several businesses, nonprofit organizations and Detroit Mercy alumni have helped make this service event possible through collaborations, equipment and volunteers.
Interested in volunteering? Please contact Olivia Martin, Detroit Mercy’s coordinator for alumni relations, at 313-993-1540 or

For questions and further information, please contact Hipskind at 313-993-2003 or
To learn more about Detroit Mercy’s Institution for Leadership and Service, please visit
To learn more about Detroit Mercy’s Campus Kitchen, please visit
Service Work Locations
Wednesday, Aug. 21
  • San Juan Block: 16233 and 16262 San Juan Drive, Detroit, MI 48221
  • Prairie Street: Cleaning along Prairie Street, after meeting at the corner of Prairie Street and Florence Street
  • Maggie Lee’s Community Center: 7700 Puritan Ave., Detroit, MI 48238
  • Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) Detroit: 8300 Longworth St., Detroit, MI 48209
  • Gesu Catholic School: 17139 Oak Drive, Detroit, MI 48221
  • Brilliant Detroit: 16919 Prairie St., Detroit, MI 48221 
Thursday, Aug. 22
  • JB’s Urban Farm: 97 Geneva Ave., Highland Park, MI 48203
  • Keep Growing Detroit (KGD) Farm: 1850 Erskine St., Detroit, MI 48207
  • Auntie Na’s House: 12028 Yellowstone St., Detroit, MI 48204
  • D-Town Farm: 14027 Outer Drive, Detroit, MI 48239
  • Oakland Avenue Urban Farm: 9227 Goodwin St., Detroit, MI 48211
  • Midtown Composting: 8902 Vinton Ave., Detroit, MI 48213
  • Martin Park District Association: 16650 Inverness St., Detroit MI 48221
  • The HIVE student pantry: 041 Reno Hall, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Marygrove Garden: Marygrove College
  • Palmer Park: 1130 Merrill Plaisance St., Detroit, MI 48203
About University of Detroit Mercy

University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest and most comprehensive Catholic university, sponsored by the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Today's University boasts the heritage of two founding institutions: the University of Detroit, founded in 1877 by the Jesuits, and Mercy College of Detroit, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1941.  The two consolidated as University of Detroit Mercy in 1990. Detroit Mercy offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and professional academic degrees and programs through seven schools and colleges. Detroit Mercy educates the whole person, focusing on the value of excellent academics, service to the community and a deeper spirituality to prepare graduates to live lives of purpose and conscience. For more information, please visit
Ricky Lindsay, Communications Specialist, (313) 578-0331


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