The Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning

Updated 3.24.2020

Dear Community Partners,

We know many of you rely on volunteer, service-learning, work study and other programmatic support from University of Michigan stakeholders. With the unfolding situation related to COVID-19 and the recent University of Michigan decision to conduct classes virtually for the rest of this semester as well as spring/summer semesters, the Ginsberg Center wanted to touch base around these recent developments.  

University of Michigan Community Engagement Planning

The University’s policy related to students and faculty community engagement will continue to unfold, based on continuing guidance from public health officials. It is possible there will not be a universal University approach. We imagine many U-M efforts will consult with their community partners in order to determine the best course of action. The University will continue to provide information related to the institution’s COVID-19 response here.   

Since our initial communication to community partners, we have coordinated with hundreds of U-M students and their faculty and staff advisors to mobilize around community partner needs during COVID-19. Please read on to understand how you can ensure that your needs related to COVID-19 can be best matched to U-M volunteers and related resources. 

COVID-19 Related Support

We are working with our partners at the United Way of Washtenaw County to connect volunteers to urgent and emerging needs related to COVID-19.  With the Governor’s Stay Safe, Safe Home order, we know that many organizations providing essential services will continue to need volunteer support both in-person and virtually .  We encourage you to use the COVID-19 Reponse tag found in “clusters” on our volunteer portal -  VolunteerWashtenaw.org (or Connect2Community.org if outside Washtenaw) - to indicate opportunities related to the current crisis.  

Remote Engagement Alternatives

If you currently have U-M students at your organization, there may be ways to shift your engagement to remote activities and projects to allow students and other U-M stakeholders to continue to support your work. We have provided some ideas below for projects and tasks that can be completed by those working remotely. You can connect directly with those currently placed at your organization to develop alternate projects. 

In addition, the Ginsberg Center has worked with the United Way of Washtenaw County to create a “remote project” option on our volunteer portal -  VolunteerWashtenaw.org (or Connect2Community.org if outside Washtenaw).  If you have a project that students or community members can complete remotely in the next 2-4 months, please create a new opportunity with the interest area called “remote project.” If you need assistance on the portal, please let us know - community-engagement@umich.edu.  

Some possible project ideas: 

  • Conducting research on a particular issue or topic to identify best practices or as background for grant writing

  • Creating digital and other social media content, print program materials, or other methods for information-sharing

  • Undertaking assessment, evaluation, or feedback via phone or web-based services;

  • Supporting phone- or video-based wellness checks 

  • Recording, or streaming performances or workshops to benefit community partner(s)

  • Offering (or compiling, researching, or brainstorming) strategies that provide indirect support from volunteers as a result of coronavirus

Ginsberg Center

The Ginsberg Center remains open and our team can continue to work with you to support current and emerging priorities and needs. In particular, we can explore ways you might need to adjust your partnerships with U-M during this time of uncertainty. Our community engagement team is currently scheduling virtual office hours, so please reach out if you’d like to set up a time to connect. You can reach us at community-engagement@umich.edu

On behalf of the entire Ginsberg Center team, thank you for the important work you do in our community.

Sincerely,

Mary Jo Callan

Director of the Ginsberg Center