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University of Michigan School of Information


Alternative Spring Break

Spring Break Volunteer Program

Proposal open date: June 1
Proposal close date: January 5
Project timeline: February 28-March 4, 2022
Project duration: 1 week
Number of projects needed: 20


During Alternative Spring Break, students from the Master of Science in Information, Master of Health Informatics and Bachelor of Science in Information programs volunteer to work on information challenges proposed by organizations in various locations, including Washington, D.C., Chicago and Detroit. ASB students spend a week (35-40 hours) working on the projects over their Spring Break.


  • Deliverables will vary by project and are based on the client needs and project scope. Examples may include:
    • Data analysis 
    • Recommendations on an internal process
    • User research report
    • Library guides
    • Collection assessment
    • Digital curation planning
    • Final presentation

Client Requirements 

  • Level of engagement for course/program 
    • Daily feedback and communication to student team during the project
    • Provide access to users or data prior to project start
    • Attend final presentation (if applicable)
    • Complete project evaluation
  • Special requirements for the course/program 
    • Projects must be at a professional level
    • Be a public organization (non-profit, government, education or cultural)
    • Located in the metro areas of Detroit, Chicago, or Washington, D.C.
    • Project can be completed in one week

Additional Details

  • Small student teams will arrive onsite and work on the project for one week over Spring Break. UMSI will work with you to scope the project to fit into this timeline.
  • Clients should be flexible with project outcomes due to the short timeline. 

Past projects

  • Converting Volunteers to Donors. Students interviewed relevant stakeholders, watched data collection and analysis processes on the front- and back-end, and refined an existing survey to provide recommendations on how the organization could convert its donors to volunteers.
  • Big Book Data.  Students built a web app where librarians can visually compare the quality of their book collection with other libraries using non-invasive methods.
  • Community College Impact. Students gathered, manipulated, and analyzed data to develop a profile that personifies a typical student at Immokalee Technical College and conducted an economic impact study to demonstrate the role the technical college has on the community.

Client Testimonials

  • "Because we're a community-based nonprofit organization, we often don't have the bandwidth to take on projects that fall outside of immediate operations. The UMSI students helped modernize our website, a project that was on hold for months due to staffing limitations. As a result, we now have a good base from which we'll continue honing and finishing the overall website update!"
  • "Our president requested an analysis of our committee volunteer data and, thanks to the UMSI student, we have something much more robust to give her than we had originally contemplated: an excellent in-depth analysis that we needed but simply did not have the staff bandwidth to undertake on the eve of our major conference. The student's work will become a benchmark against which we will measure our progress toward equity, diversity, and inclusion."

Past Clients

Contact us

Engaged Learning Office | | (734) 763-1251

Please complete this form to submit a project proposal for one of our client-based courses or other programs, or to receive information about these opportunities throughout the year.