Week 1: Getting Geared Up – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 1: Getting Geared Up

Hey everyone! My name is Serena, I am a rising sophomore studying Public Health with a dual minor in Spanish and Social Class and Inequality studies. I was paired to intern with an organization called Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, which works to create safer and healthier communities through the reduction of pollution and expansion of programs like urban farming that support a healthy lifestyle. I am unbelievably excited!

To me, community is the people you choose to surround yourself that cultivate a culture that you are proud of. A community is closely bonded, but the dynamics and values within are malleable and respond to the ethics and opinions of the people who take part in community building. That’s a wordy response, but, in short, a community is the people that surround you. I was attracted to this program and doing community work in Detroit because of the city’s rich history and diverse culture. I was born in metro Detroit, but didn’t start really seeing the city until my teenage years and I think that it is a place that is sometimes brushed off by American history but is important to learn about and explore. I think a skill that will definitely help me this summer is organization. SDEV prides itself on lateral leadership meaning that there is no singular person who is in charge which is a really cool idea and something I have never come across, but I think it will require more organization and willpower on my end to stay on top of things when I don’t have someone telling me exactly what to do.

This summer I would like to work on my listening skills. During the pandemic, I have become really disconnected and good at zoning out, and I want to practice being present and participating in active listening during meetings and when interacting with people. Something that would make me proud at the end of the summer is to feel like I have participated in a project that has an end product that I can genuinely know that I worked my hardest on. I would also love to feel more connected to the communities around me.

2 thoughts on “Week 1: Getting Geared Up”

  1. I think it’s so impressive your minoring in Spanish! I love learning languages.
    Detroit is definitely a place to explore. The journey of it has many twists and turns, as we’ll begin to learn in How to Kill a City. It’s important to know the reverent and tragedies. I was also born there, but hadn’t gotten to explore much of it.
    Active listening and open mics, eh?! Can’t wait for your informed commentary 😀

  2. Hey Serena!

    I’ve also lived in Metro Detroit for the majority of my life but haven’t explored the city very much. I think organization is also something that will be crucial this summer, especially with working remotely. Your work with Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision sounds amazing & I’d love to hear more about your project this summer!

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