Few students are strangers to shouts blaring in the Diag, belonging to groups clamoring for attention from passersby. These organizations often call for participation in campus clubs or ask students rushing to class for charitable donations.
But in 1943, one organization called in a favor with a much greater intensity.
The Willow Run Community School — home to a high school, adult education classes and a day care center — reached out to University co-eds to fill the void of educators lost to people helping with the World War II effort.
According to an article in The Michigan Daily on Dec. 15, 1943, attendance at Willow Run increased from 180 children to 410 as more parents became employed in war-related work — and with that boom in attendance, more teachers were needed.
Though government officials had already built three new schools to try to compensate for the expanded enrollment, the program at Willow Run needed women at the University to keep the program afloat, according to the article.
The school especially called for women with any experience in caring for sick children, emphasizing the desperation of the situation.
“Expansion of the Childcare Program at Willow Run depends on University women,” the article stated. “They are needed to supervise the activities of these children.”
According to the article, a major cause of absenteeism at the time was the fact that parents had to choose between showing up at their jobs — which could help the war effort — and caring for their children.
Due to this lack of adequate childcare, the adult education program at Willow Run was also suffering great losses, according to the article.
Registration to help volunteer at the Willow Run School was held in the Michigan League lobby, where student volunteers stood and answered questions about the program.