First of all, I want to thank all of the fellows and Ray for being so amazing! I have to say that i learned so much from you all in all of our conversations, serious and lighthearted; from the group presentations or reflections on How To Kill a City, you all helped me to grow as person. You all are so passionate and so inspiring, and it was an honor to spend the summer with you. Thanks everyone!
In general, I can say that my expectations for the work I would be doing were met at Great Lakes Now. I expected to write and research articles about the Great Lakes, and that’s what I ended up doing! However, the DCERP experience in general and the organization of Great Lakes Now exceeded my expectations. For example, at the beginning, I hoped to improve my workplace communication skills and learn about the Great Lakes. I feel like I’ve done both of those things, plus improve my writing skills and build confidence in my ability to interview people. I’ve also met some incredibly passionate people, and meeting with passionate community members like Raquel Garcia has been the most inspiring. These are just a few of the things I did not expect from DCERP, but I’m definitely glad they happened!
Finally, when I joined Great Lakes Now, I expected to write about the big issues like climate change and Line 5. Sure, I touched on those topics in my other writings, but I ended up mainly focusing on small, niche stories: community organizers making a difference in their communities, unique festivals from around the region drawing attention to the issues, and protecting shipwrecks in Lake Ontario. I’m really glad I got to write these grassroots, people-focused stories, rather than ones that are focused on the big issues that tend to come from a top-down perspective. There’s plenty of people writing about them anyway, and I certainly don’t say that to discount the importance of the big ones. I say it to point out that I don’t think there are enough people writing from the bottom-up, covering the extraordinary people who make a difference every day in their communities. Their work is incredibly important, and it needs to be covered more. I was happy to play a small part in doing that.
Thanks again, everyone, you all are amazing! Looking forward to meeting you on campus!