Well, gosh darnit this time has just flown by! Despite my best efforts to get out there and see as much of the city as I could, I still feel like there are so many things left I want to do and see. I’m not as sad about leaving this program as I could be however, because of all that I can take away with me.
My placement at EcoWorks became more interesting over time as I branched out past energy benchmarking and was able to champion a document outlining a set of best practices for energy consulting in municipalities. This document, if successful, will serve as a training tool for new energy managers to continue helping communities lower their fossil fuel use. I am eager to keep in touch with EcoWorks and see the long-term results of the work I did.
The city of Detroit, particularly mid-town, has become like home to me over the past few weeks. I feel as though I’ve discovered for myself an exciting and vibrant urban center that has been in my backyard this whole time. I’m excited to come back and explore with my family and friends and continue to see how Detroit continues to evolve over the years to come (DCBRP reunion trip anyone??).
However, living in Detroit has meant so much more to me than just hipster coffee shops and riverwalks, although I did enjoy both during my time here. Before coming to Detroit, I was passionate about social justice, particularly feminism simply because that was what I what I understood best based on my personal life experiences. Learning more about issues like gentrification and institutionalized racism in discussions with my fellow students and lectures in seminar has been an integral part of this experience for me. These issues are crucial in understanding Detroit’s history and are more crucial to continue to understand in order to manage Detroit’s regrowth in a socially equitable way that doesn’t continue to marginalize the lower income, minority populations of Detroit that have been here for decades.
It is encouraging to be surrounded by so many other students in this program who are also passionate about social justice and environmental issues. I look forward to seeing you guys around campus and witnessing how we all will continue trying to change the world for the better in our own unique way. There is so much more to say, but for now, it’s been real.