Week 10 Farewell – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 10 Farewell

The program is coming to a close and I could not have had a better time living in Detroit this summer. We got to experience so many aspects of the city, experience the lives of the people that live here and for a short time get to see all the city had to offer. While I can’t wait to get back to U of M in a few weeks, it is going to be sad not to be around so many different groups of people and interacting with all of them. I have really learned a lot about the city this summer through all the events and group meetings we have had that has really resonated with me. It was interesting how a lot of the history of the city never gets told and how obviously only the powerful were able to create the city that exists today. It was also eye opening to see how the city functions, and when the “resurgence” or Detroit is discussed, it really only refers to a few select areas. This program really opened my eyes to a lot of the issues that still face the city, even with the development and new businesses moving in, there are still so many racial and economic issues facing the city. I have really seen a paradox this summer between improving the neighborhoods, but instituting policies that lead to gentrification. A paradox between needing more businesses but in the process forcing out others who relied on the property values in downtown. It is exciting to see all the new opportunities coming to Detroit but I learned this summer they are still coming at an unfortunate cost.

Working for a non profit also changed a lot about the way I think. I do not think that would be a viable career path for me due to the inherent nature of the way they are run but I did get to see how to appropriately conduct business in a community. There needs to be some sort of responsibility on both business and residents to interact together. That role should be the government but all to often is obscured by money interests or corruption. I wrote in one of my previous blog posts about how a triple bottom line business was something that appealed to me, and I think that might have been one of my biggest take aways this summer. There is not a need to be either non profit or for profit, there are many other options to take and I want to carry that with me after this program and as I begin to move into a career. All around I had a great summer in Detroit, made a lot of new friends and want to thank Jenna Steiner for all the work she has done for this program and my supervisor Pat Bosch for teaching me a lot about the city and leading me this summer.

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