Service Learning

Service Learning Logo

Welcome to Service Learning at Detroit Mercy!

University of Detroit Mercy, a Catholic university in the Mercy and Jesuit traditions, believes that it is compassion that starts the engine of learning and engagement. Since 1995, thousands of Detroit Mercy students have been serving agencies that help our forgotten – as an essential way of learning. Each year, more than 75 service learning courses require all students to serve with agencies like yours because the teachers believe that they cannot learn the course as well without serving those you help. Each September and January, more than 700 students seek direct service opportunities in which they can work close enough to those you serve to feel compassion for them. We encourage you to consider letting them serve with you.

Service Options During Covid-19

One of the "silver linings" that we are seeing during this crisis is that many people are really demonstrating tremendous care for others - some by continuing to do their job under these extraordinary circumstances. Others are offering to help. If you are looking for ways to help, here are some ideas:

Thanks for what you are already doing! Thanks for considering other ways to help!

Agencies: What can we expect of Service Learning students?

Our students are coming to you needing to serve so that they can learn. You can expect them to be motivated, open and caring. These students are required to provide from five to 25 hours of service, depending on their course. While this is just a few hours, most community service agencies are always glad to have Service Learning students because they are so effective; some become regular volunteers.

Primary availability is from September-November and January-March.

What is expected of our agency?

  • The opportunity to do real direct service: A liaison, like a volunteer coordinator, is needed to make that connection.
  • Scheduling time and place of service: Students often seek afternoon or weekend service, a few hours a few times rather than just a single hour weekly.
  • Verification of student service: When the student completes the agreed service, this coordinator needs to sign a form the student will provide. 

On-Campus Service Opportunities

Rx for Reading Detroit

Rx for Reading is a children's literacy initiative sponsored by University of Detroit Mercy.  Our mission is to expand access to children's books and support families in reading with their children. Detroit Mercy students distribute over 2,500 children's books a month through our community partners, including low-income health, dental and WIC clinics, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, community centers and churches.  Volunteer opportunities include reading with local preschoolers and elementary students and painting little free libraries to be delivered to community partners.

To learn more about Rx for Reading, see their webpage at If you are interested in volunteering, email to let Prof. Harrison know of your interest and discuss options.

Detroit Prevention and Awareness in the Community

DPAC is a student organization on campus that aims to spread awareness of sexual assault, dating violence and domestic violence, and to inform the campus community of resources available for dealing with such situations. DPAC provides various campus events to teach about the warning signs, severity and proper responses to situations of sexual assault, dating violence and domestic violence, as well as peer education groups led by students. Additionally, they are partnered with local agencies that provide support and services to victims of sexual assault, dating violence and domestic violence in order to connect student volunteers and university resources with community service opportunities. 

DPAC is constantly looking for student volunteers to help with on campus and community events. To find out more, please like our DPAC Facebook page or contact Nina Carlson at

Titan Equity Nourish Network (TENN)

TENN has several opportunities to serve as volunteers and leaders in community food justice efforts, including weekly produce deliveries, food justice workshops, and service days at various urban gardens in Detroit. To learn more and connect with TENN, view its for current sign ups and a calendar of events, or email

Service in the City

Service in the City offers opportunities during the week to help in two Detroit tutoring programs. On many Saturdays they also offer one-time service opportunities to places like the Pope Francis Center, Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations

Click here to visit their website or here to see a recent article explaining the program. If you're interested in volunteering, contact Sr. Erin McDonald at 313-993-1560

International Conversation Partners

This is a great opportunity for international and United States students to come together to make friends and learn about each other's cultures. If you're interested or would like to learn more, contact Lara Wasner at

Other Organizations

You can consider joining Alpha Phi Omega. This national service fraternity is focused on providing service to the community. Detroit Mercy's Eta Pi Chapter is a warm, welcoming organization. If you are interested, contact Fr. Tim Hipskind at

If you're looking for more opportunities, visit our Facebook page for up-to-date information on special opportunities.

Finding Opportunities to Serve in the Community

Here are some options for finding places you can serve according to your gifts and needs.

Try the list of opportunities that the Institute has identified for you. First click on the type of Service Opportunities you are looking for below. The opportunities are with agencies who are familiar with Detroit Mercy and the Institute.

  1. Close to Campus
  2. Contact Information for all Current Agencies
  3. Direct Service Only
  4. Environmental Work (includes Fighting Blight, Community Gardens, Beautification, Clean Water)
  5. Health-related (includes Physical Health, Mental Health, Disabilities and Substance Abuse)
  6. Poverty-related (includes issues of hunger, homelessness and poverty)
  7. Regularly Scheduled Opportunities
  8. Weekend Opportunities (Opportunities from the above lists that are available on the weekends)
  9. Working with Youth


Or - if you are looking for Gap Year opportunities: 

  • Here is a list of GREAT Gap Year Opportunities -
  • Including one where you can get a job here at Detroit Mercy working with TENN.!

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