May 19 marks the beginning of “Coming Back 2 Community” a weekend celebration in honor of the Ginsberg Center’s 20th anniversary, and notable anniversaries for America Reads and SERVE -- two of Ginsberg’s flagship programs that have helped Ginsberg impact more than 40,000 University of Michigan students to date.
Rooted in the University’s rich tradition of civic engagement -- from the teachings of Professor John Dewey in the 19th Century, and the establishment of the Peace Corps following John Kennedy’s speech on the steps of the Union -- the Ginsberg Center was established in 1997 as the Center for Community Service and Learning, and later endowed in honor of humanitarian Edward Ginsberg, an alumnus from the class of 1938. The Center brought together some of the most prominent curricular and co-curricular service learning programs on campus. In the decades that followed, it emerged as the incubator and home to many thriving academic service learning programs and student initiatives at critical stages in their development -- most notably Arts of CItizenship (now the Program in Public Scholarship) and Semester in Detroit. The Center also publishes the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, a nationally recognized leader in community-engaged scholarship since 1994.
The Ginsberg Center’s anniversary weekend will kick-off with a dinner reception at the Michigan Union featuring remarks from Ginsberg alumni Jennifer Bastress Tahmasebi, Jared Genser, and Mona Hanna-Attisha whose notable accomplishments and careers were shaped during their time at the University and the Center. Jennifer Bastress Tahmasebi is the Acting Director of AmeriCorps at the Corporation for National and Community Service. Jared Genser is Managing Director of Perseus Strategies, a public interest law firm, and Founder of Freedom Now, a non-profit organization that works to free prisoners of conscience worldwide. Mona Hanna-Attisha MD, MPH is Director of the Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative and known nationwide for her role in exposing harmful contaminants in the Flint water supply.
The weekend will continue on Saturday morning with a group community service project at Erikson Elementary School in Ypsilanti, followed by an informal Open House at the Ginsberg Center in the afternoon.
As part of the celebration, the Center is reflecting on a successful first year activating its new strategic direction, which focuses on strengthening and adding capacity for balanced community engagement built on community-identified priorities and needs. Most critically, Ginsberg's community engagement center model has employed a targeted matchmaking process that couples University knowledge, research and expertise with local community partners. The Center moves toward the next chapter of its rich history and invites faculty and staff to join the celebration.
Those interested in attending the weekend’s events can learn more and RSVP here.