First in Michigan, Campus Kitchen at UDM fosters student commitment to community outreach
UDM recently launched The Campus Kitchen at UDM (CKUDM), and it is Michigan’s first initiative of the national Campus Kitchens Project.
The menu at the CKUDM feeds the body and soul. Students prepare well-balanced meals at the kitchen then deliver them to parishes and shelters located in the communities surrounding UDM’s campus. It is nutrition that literally feeds individuals but serves as sustenance for students as they discover the rewards of their actions.
Tim Hipskind, S.J., director of Service Learning in the Institute for Leadership and Service, assists with securing partnerships with the groups who receive the meals. He says the CKUDM supports the University’s mission for integrating the ethical and social development of students, but also supports the Leadership and Service mission of transforming lives to lead and serve.
“The kind of interactions that students have in this project can truly be transformative. They can get in touch with the skills and talents that they have and see how these can truly be of service,” said Fr. Hipskind. “Plus, they will definitely meet people from the neighborhood and begin to develop relationships that will be beneficial to both.”
He explained that the program’s student directors, Bridget Green and Philip Trotter, network to find volunteers for CKUDM. Their connections and the overall enthusiasm for the program have students seeking out volunteer opportunities.
“It is especially encouraging to me that the students who are already involved have mentioned their own desires to really connect with the people we are serving without any prompting from us,” said Fr. Hipskind.
Involvement with CKUDM offers students service-learning credits and teaches them leadership skills. Ten to 15 students run the program with the guidance of leaders from UDM’s dining services, Sodexo (food service provider to UDM), Student Life, University Ministry and Fr. Hipskind’s area.