Alumni and Friends

Service Day

May 2021


The annual Michigan Law Service Day for Alumni and Friends, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 1, 2021, will now take place virtually during the month of May. We have pivoted to virtual due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is an unfortunate decision to have to make, but the health and well being of our community is our first priority. We have compiled a list of virtual activities for those interested in carrying on the tradition of service day on behalf of Michigan Law. There are opportunities with these organizations and others in your community that need help and where we can make an impact following the tradition of service day for which Michigan Law is known. Should you, your family and friends participate in a virtual service activity, please share your photos with us at and/or use the hashtag #umichlaw on Instagram. We wish you and yours a year of good health and hope to see you at service day in the spring of 2022. Go Blue!


American Red Cross – Various volunteer opportunities based on areas of interest and location

Ancestry World Archives Project – This project needs virtual volunteers to give back to the genealogy community.

Cards for Hospitalized Kids – Share your time and creativity to make homemade cards for children in hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses across the nation.

Career Village – Volunteer to answer questions from students who want to be you when you grow up.

Catch a Fire – Professionals donate their time to nonprofits who need their skills.

Color A Smile – This kid friendly organization distributes cheerful drawings to senior citizens, troops overseas, and anyone in need of a smile.

Create the Good – Various volunteer opportunities in your area and beyond ranging from reading to elementary school children to holding a book drive for the U.S. Troops. There are also do-it-yourself project guides to creating your own volunteer opportunity.

Eyes for Hope – Collect and donate gently used eyeglasses to help someone in need see. This organization’s outreach is domestic and international. Ask your friends and family if they’d like to donate and then ship the glasses to the org with a pre-paid shipping label

Meals on Wheels – A family-friendly opportunity to make gift cards, placemats, decorate lunch bags, no-sew fleece blankets and decorate oven mitts for delivery drivers.

Operation Gratitude – This organization has several family-friendly activities for virtual volunteering that support military service members, military families, veterans and first responders. Activities include writing letters and making paracord “survival” bracelets.

Paper for Water – Origami for clean water

Smithsonian Institute – Archives of American Gardens – A project for garden lovers which includes helping to identify gardens across the United States.

Smithsonian Digital Volunteers – Help make U.S. historical documents and biodiversity data more accessible.

Soliders’ Angels – Support America’s military service members, wounded heroes, military families and veterans of all eras. There are many family-friendly virtual activities available

The United Nations – Put your skills into action! Use technology to volunteer online to work together for peace and development. Task based assignments to contribute toward the fight against COVID-19 and opportunities to support the World Health Organization are available.

Volunteer Match – Explore hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities in areas ranging from health and medicine to education and community building. All opportunities can be done from a computer in the comfort of your home, or anywhere. 

World Pediatric Project – Send a virtual card/message of love and hope to a child in treatment with WPP.

ZSL Instant WildZSL’s Instant Wild empowers you to take part in vital conservation work by bringing you LIVE images and videos from amazing locations all around the world for you to identify. You don’t need any special expertise to take part – help is provided in our handy Field Guides – simply sign up and start tagging the animals in the images. Your involvement will not only contribute to conservation but you’ll also get a window into some of the world’s wildest places. What rare species will you find?

Dean's Message

One of the best things about Michigan Law is our close-knit community. But what’s even better is that our sense of community doesn’t end when diplomas are in hand. It informs the way we view the world beyond the Quad. As a public institution, we have an obligation to serve our community and do our part to make the world a better place. Alumni of Michigan Law know they have benefited from receiving an unparalleled legal education, and that privilege brings the responsibility of giving back.

For more than 15 years, we have tried to inculcate a sense of that responsibility in our 1Ls during their orientation week. On Service Day, incoming students spend a day working in teams as volunteers for nonprofits all over southeastern Michigan. Together, they put in hundreds of hours helping out with the simple day-to-day tasks that keep these organizations alive. As the new 1Ls get to know their new classmates better, they also get a sense of the strong tradition of service that is such an important part of Michigan Law’s proud heritage.

That proud heritage includes thousands of our graduates who have given back in amazingly generous ways, working as leaders and volunteers with organizations that feed the hungry, house the homeless, showcase the arts, champion green spaces, and care for those in need—indeed, all the functions that distinguish a civilized and caring people.

No matter your career path or long-term time constraints, our annual Alumni and Friends Service Day offers a chance to serve the community and have fun, too. I’m thrilled that the program has become so popular, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Michigan Law alumni have always enjoyed getting together. And they have always enjoyed doing good works. Alumni and Friends Service Day is an unbeatable combination of the two.

But don’t take my word for it. To get a real flavor for the program, read the testimonials on this website from Service Day leaders and participants. And on the next Service Day, join in the fun and the satisfying work. Whether this is your first Service Day or whether you’re a seasoned volunteer, we hope to see you there.

Mark D. West
Nippon Life Professor of Law

Service Day FAQ

The importance of community service is one that has been encouraged for years at Michigan Law. In fact, upon entrance to the Law School, giving back to the community is encouraged through a day of service for incoming students. We know that our alumni are also very active in their communities and we want to support that through a day of service with alumni, friends, family, and current students.

Our mission is for alumni volunteers to come together to serve their local communities while representing the Michigan Law School and reconnecting with fellow alums. Our service day is organized around a project that can make a difference in a day in their communities. Whether you are planting a community garden; painting a public school; sorting food in a food bank; helping the homeless; rehabbing a home; or cleaning a river you are sure to have an excellent time while lending a hand to a worthy organization.

The success of our service day activities lies in our alumni, friends, and family that volunteer in participating areas throughout the nation. Every hand makes a difference in the organizations that we serve. Please check our locations to see if there is a day of service planned in your area.

We rely on volunteer Team Leaders to coordinate our service day activities with administration support from our office. If your city is not listed and you are interested being a Team Leader, please contact us at and we will provide you with the necessary information to begin planning a day of service in your area.

In addition, the University of Michigan’s Alumni Association coordinates days of service with their chapters nationwide on the same date. A visit to their site may show an activity in your area planned should there not be one currently planned with Michigan Law.

Most definitely! The Michigan Law Alumni & Friends Service Day is open to friends and family of our alumni community. These events are a wonderful opportunity to introduce families to community service. In fact, many of our participating locations involve activities that are family friendly and several may be appropriate for young children.

We coordinate our Service Day on the same date as the University of Michigan’s Alumni Association day of service. Historically, they have selected their date based on the University’s commencement to build a sense of community with Michigan alumni both on and off campus.

We rely on volunteer Team Leaders to coordinate our service day activities with administration support from our office. If your city is not listed and you are interested being a Team Leader, please contact us and we will provide you with the necessary information to begin planning a day of service in your area.
Selection of organizations for Service Day comes from suggestions from Team Leaders, past volunteers, and interested alums. The arrangement between Michigan Law and various service organizations around the country for Service Day is intended as a one-day partnership to carry out specific functions that benefit the communities where these organizations are based. The selection of these groups, and the volunteer involvement of Michigan Law alumni, does not imply that the Law School approves or sanctions all viewpoints represented by these organizations, nor should these arrangements be construed as such approval.

If you have questions or suggestions for future service day activities,
please feel free to contact Laura Gray in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at
734-615-4501 or at


“We had a wonderful day enjoying beautiful scenery in a lush tropical rainforest, while building Michigan connections and helping Lyon Arboretum in its mission to preserve endangered plant species in thePacific Basin and to restore Hawaiian ecosystems.”
– Mary Wong, JD ’84
Honolulu Team Leader

“The event went well. I unexpectedly encountered a friend from UM Law whom I hadn’t seen in years, which was a wonderful surprise. Reconnecting with an old friend was about the best I could have hoped for, and I think this is the kind of work that makes you feel satisfaction and connection to the community.”
– Leah Goodman, JD ’05

“The 3rd annual service day was great!!! It was very well organized. I appreciated the reminders that were sent so there was no confusion as to where and when the service would take place. I thought Gleaners was a great location for the service day. Gleaners did a great job utilizing the volunteers. I would love to participate in future service days. It was a nice opportunity to meet other alumni and to do a good deed at the same time. Go Blue!”
– Karen Chadwick, JD ’81

“The event at the Food Bank of Alaska was well organized and went very well. Diane Wendlandt did a great job of organizing. The organization “trained” us for our tasks. My daughters came as well and had a good time helping out. A great success and I would love to participate next year.”
– Mike Mills, JD ’87

“Despite the weather (we had cold and rain), my husband and I really enjoyed getting out and joining in the Service Day. We felt like we were really making a difference and the people that came were great.”
– Katie Marcusse, JD ’09

“I was the Los Angeles team leader for the Michigan Law Service Day event. Although I graduated in 2003, I still feel strong ties to the Law School. This event is an excellent way to help out the community in which you live while meeting and bonding with other alumni. The amount of effort is minimal – typically a few hours on a single day – but the rewards are immense.”
– Julia Trankiem, JD ’03
Los Angeles Team Leader

“My thoughts on service day are that it is a wonderful opportunity for us to give back to areas in need within our local communities and it is particularly rewarding to be able to do so on behalf of the University of Michigan Law School. After enjoying an amazing and rewarding educational experience, it is a way for me to convey my appreciation for all that the U of M Law School experience ment to me. It is also a great way to meet other U of M law school grads in the area.”
– Yasmin Elias, JD ’95
Detroit co-Team Leader