The Office of Service and Leadership (OSL) was also created to support student initiatives. Participating students gain inspiration and new friendships, while providing valuable service to others. Our goal is to provide our students with the opportunity to attend service trips at least once a semester at no cost.
Our Most Recent Trip
This past May, ten student participants and two staff chaperones journeyed from Ashford University to Detroit, MI to engage in service focused on community renewal; specifically, busting blight and urban decay with Motor City Blight Busters.
The decline of the auto industry, as well as myriad other challenges, has led to the mass exodus of Detroit’s population over the past 50 years. In Detroit, which covers 139 square miles, one third of homes are abandoned. These vacant homes sit on street after street in every neighborhood, festering. Arsonists strike, graffiti and litter accumulate, and drug dealers move in. Urban blight takes over.
That’s where Motor City Blight Busters step in. The non-profit organization busts blight by cleaning and boarding up abandoned properties, tearing down buildings, and restoring homes when they can. Volunteers from Ashford University answered the call to help after the trip to Detroit was proposed by Ashford senior, Katelynn Tegeler of Clinton. “I proposed a trip to Detroit because it is a city that has been hit by hard times and a lot of negativity. I knew Ashford volunteers could provide some much needed help and positive energy.”
The group of 12 volunteers from Ashford University spent three days volunteering with Motor City Blight Busters—fighting blight at an abandoned, burnt out multi-family dwelling and at a commercial business by removing truckloads of debris, clearing overgrown brush and grass, and repainting the exterior of a building, among other activities.
“The bad press about Detroit is pretty rampant. Its problems are evident in every Google search. Going into the trip, the corruption, crime rate, and the seemingly endless decline of the city disheartened us. We were fully aware of its challenges. What we didn’t realize and what we came to understand is that Detroit has moxie,” says Kristen Drake, Ashford University chaperone.
“It was a great experience to go to Detroit and it makes me wish I would have gone on service trips prior. The people with Blight Busters were amazing and their work is inspiring. I would definitely recommend this type of trip to anyone wanting to make an impact and grow more as a person too,” says volunteer Tanner Courtney, Ashford graduate.
April 2015- Fairdale, IL
October 2014 – Des Moines, IA
May 2014 - New Orleans, LA
November 2013 - Washington, IL
September 2013 - Moore, OK
March 2013 - Toms River, NJ
October 2012 - Chicago, IL
March 2012 - Joplin, MO
Audra Adams, MBA
Manager of Service Learning and the Office of Service and Leadership
563.242.4023, ext. 27105