Virtual Environmental Activism – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Virtual Environmental Activism

This summer I have the privilege interning at Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision. The nonprofit organization works to improve the environment and strength the economy of Southwest Detroit through their projects. Working together with local residents, community organizations, and government agencies, SDEV works to combat environmental issues in the area.

For this summer, I am tasked with a variety of different responsibilities under the Healthy Air Program. One of my overarching goals is to collect and organize over 10 years of data that SDEV has of its Clean Deisel Project with the EPA. In the project, SDEV has worked with many different partners to replace their trucks with energy-efficient engines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the actual amount of impact that SDEV has done for the Detroit community has yet to be calculated numerically. Another task of mine is crating and conducting an indoor air quality survey after a resident had directly reached out to SDEV about a problem in their home. While the organization was thrilled to work with the resident, due to their small number of staff and mountain of work that they do every day, no one had had a chance to address this yet. Hence, where I come in. Lastly, one of the responsibilities I gave myself was revamping the organization’s website. Coming with some website-building skills, my supervisor had initially only asked me some critique and suggestions for improvement. But slowly throughout this week, we both concluded that there was more than could be done, especially with my expertise. Thus came the end of my first week.

I came into DCERP late, not knowing exactly how things would be like, especially in light of COVID and the need for virtual interactions. Things have been quite peculiar as I haven’t met anyone face-to-face yet, but oddly enough I think it’s still fine. I really love interacting with my learning group, and learning about everyone else in the short in general. While it’s still too early to say, I do truly hope that we are all able to become closely and build rapport with one another by the end of the summer. 🙂

1 thought on “Virtual Environmental Activism”

  1. Hi Sarah! That is awesome that you can provide your expertise to your placement and help with their website. It reminded me of when Ray talked about asset mapping. I am so glad that you are using yours! I also hope that our group can build rapport and become closer by the end of the summer. I have really enjoyed talking to the other students that I have and am hoping to get to know the rest better! It is good to hear that you are having a good experience so far:)

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