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As inauguration nears, students asked to engage

UDM community’s volunteer presence will be felt in full at non-profits in days before Garibaldi cele

By Tommy ZImmer
On April 3, 2012


President Antoine Garibaldi's official inauguration will take place on Friday, April 13, and the entire university community is invited to participate in the event - as well as in the series of community-engagement activities that will precede the inauguration.

Throughout next week, students, staff and alumni will be part of a concerted effort to give back to the Detroit area.

Volunteers will be helping at Gleaners Foodbank, Gesu Church and School, Capuchin Ministries, Vista Maria, Lighthouse of Oakland County and several other non-profit organizations.

"Community engagement is something that is high priority for Dr. Garibaldi," said Fr. Timothy Hipskind, director of service learning in the Institute for Leadership and Service. "It is something he recognizes as a real strength of UDM already."

Hipskind also thinks it is especially good for the UDM community.

"The activities are meant to highlight the ongoing commitment UDM has to community service," Hipskind said. "Our UDM clinics served 19,500 last year plus our students in service-learning courses and student organizations served a lot more."

He also sees the benefits of it to the greater community.

"When we engage with our community, we learn of the amazing ability that individuals have to struggle and overcome great odds," Hipskind said. "Plus recognizing ways we can contribute that make the world a better place can be very rewarding."

David Nantais, director of University Ministry, said community service is part of UDM's mission - "another manifestation that helps people."

The university tries to engage its urban environment, he said, and the challenges facing the city of Detroit at this moment are particularly challenging.

"We (the city) are trying to avoid bankruptcy, and UDM has a big (role) to play in that," said Nantais.

President Garibaldi sees great benefits for students, as well.

"Service is important for a student's education," he said.

He listed several examples of service, including the Architecture School's involvement with Works for Detroit.

Garibaldi hopes to see growth in service learning. He attended seminary school, which he cites for nurturing his understanding in the area.

"Service is not something you learn just outside," Garibaldi said. "You also learn it on the inside."

Students, staff and alumni who wish to be involved in next week's projects should email

"When we really understand the challenges people face, compassion comes naturally," Hipskind said. "The Mercy tradition stresses compassion, and the Jesuits stress reflection so that we can get in touch with how God is calling us to serve."

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