August 24, 2011

Wayne State\'s Community of Scholars partners with Habitat for Humanity to help improve Detroit's MorningSide neighborhood

Wayne State University's Community of Scholars is a group of high-achieving students whose academic experience is designed to include significant community service. Incoming Wayne State freshmen who are members of the Community of Scholars will descend on Detroit's MorningSide neighborhood beginning August 26 to help clean up the area. This special project takes place over four days (August 26, 27 and September 16, 17) and will have nearly 300 Community of Scholars students working with residents pulling weeds, painting, cleaning up yards and lots, planting shrubs and trimming trees.

"Service to the community is an integral part of membership in the Community of Scholars," said Jerry Herron, dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College, which manages this group of students. "In helping educate the leaders of tomorrow, we know how important it is to extend the learning experience beyond the classroom. Opportunities like this allow the students to learn about their community so they may become active and engaged citizens."

The focus of the activities on August 27 will be the removal of 143 dead ash trees from the neighborhood. Students will assist crews from J-MAC Tree and Debris, LLC of Oak Park and Gardner & Son Tree Service of Macomb, which are volunteering their services for the day. DTE Energy will be removing trees that are close to electrical lines. Wood from the cut trees will be recycled for firewood and mulch that will be used in the MorningSide neighborhood. A WSU biology professor, Dan Kashian, will speak with students and residents about the impact of the emerald ash borer on area trees.

In addition to working with the MorningSide Executive Board, students also will join forces with Habitat for Humanity, which has been building houses in the area. Community of Scholars members will help with landscaping the exterior of the new structures and cleaning the surrounding areas.

State Farm Insurance is providing financial support through a grant for improving the appearance and safety of the area. The trees that will be removed are a constant danger to MorningSide residents, falling onto homes, cars and electrical lines. This is in line with State Farm's efforts to increase the safety and look of the neighborhoods in which its patrons live and work. Without State Farm's commitment to this project, the good that will be done would not be possible.

The MorningSide neighborhood is bounded by Harper Avenue and Interstate 94 on the north, Mack Avenue to the south, East Outer Drive and Whittier on the east and Alter Road and East Outer Drive to the west.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.


Kevin Piotrowski
Phone: (313) 577-4621