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Student Engagement

Poverty Solutions engages and empowers students interested in poverty alleviation and economic mobility through hands-on research, events, and academic programs and courses.

Student Metrics


Students assisted with Poverty Solutions research projects in 2020

We are committed to engaging students and the campus community to extend learning beyond the classroom. Our action-based research assistant opportunities, academic programs, student workshops, and events aim to deepen students’ understanding of the root causes of poverty, offer real world experience, and further ignite their dedication to pursue solutions to the poverty challenges of our time.

Engaging students, in turn, brings new insight, knowledge, and opinions to our work; enhances our interdisciplinary and collaborative approach; lends support and capacity to our projects and activities; and helps to promote campus-wide engagement.

Poverty Solutions Course

Poverty Solutions offers the gateway course Real World Perspectives on Poverty Solutions (SWK 503 section 001), which is open to all students. This course features national and global leaders and aims to ignite new conversations and deepen existing commitments regarding poverty prevention and alleviation strategies and programs.

The one-credit course explores interdisciplinary, real-world poverty solutions from a wide variety of perspectives and encourages the formation of a community of learners at U-M committed to engaging these issues together. This lecture series course features different guest speakers each week. Lectures will be recorded and made available online to engage the community regarding strategies and programs for poverty prevention and alleviation. Lectures will be free and available to the community as space permits.

Past Syllabus (2021)

Poverty Solutions Certificate

In partnership with the Community Action and Social Change (CASC) minor program, based at the School of Social Work, Poverty Solutions offers a certificate program. This certificate allows CASC students to focus on poverty alleviation and prevention within this social justice-focused, interdisciplinary minor. It also provides students with several opportunities to connect with Poverty Solutions through social events, research opportunities, and mentorship. Learn more.

The CASC minor, which currently has 250 undergraduate students enrolled each year, is flexibly designed for all undergraduate students to build skills and knowledge to enact social change.

Poverty Solutions Certificate Approved Courses

For students enrolled in the certificate program:

Log your volunteer hours (Google form)

Log your event attendance (Google form)

Student Research Opportunities

Poverty Solutions has several opportunities for students to contribute to action-based poverty research. Through research assistantships, students work alongside faculty and staff while gaining real-world experience and often contributing to policy change.

Research assistants contribute to data analysis, longitudinal research, literature reviews, data preparation, collection and analysis, event support and reporting. They engage with community partners, connect their learning and experience to our projects, and provide the capacity to take on many projects we couldn’t otherwise consider.

Find out more and apply.

New doctoral student research opportunity: Request for proposals to pursue research projects in collaboration with a faculty mentor that seek to contribute to efforts aimed at preventing and alleviating poverty in Michigan, the nation and the world.

Deadline to submit a proposal is March 10, 2023. Learn more. Faculty mentors need to complete this survey.


Student Advisory Board

The Poverty Solutions Student Advisory Board plays a critical role as the liaison between students and the initiative, helping to expand poverty-related efforts on campus. Use this form to apply to be a member of the Student Advisory Board, either as an individual member or the representative of a student organization.
Advisory board members can serve as individuals or representatives of a student organization. Student advisory board activities include:

  • Advising on programming, including recommending speakers or events they might find interesting, as well as shaping planned events.
  • Identifying resources and funding mechanisms, such as grants and internships, to support efforts related to poverty alleviation on campus and connect to other student groups and agencies providing funding
  • Helping Poverty Solutions engage with low-income students on campus.

Student Organizations

There are several University of Michigan student organizations doing work related to alleviating poverty, including:

Have a suggestion for a student organization to add? Send us an email at

Student Stories

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