Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision – UROP Summer Symposium 2021

Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision

Serena Smith

Serena Smith

Pronouns: They/She

UROP Fellowship: DCERP
Research Mentor(s): Raquel Garcia, Executive Director
Research Mentor Institution/Department: Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision

Presentation Date: Thursday, July 29th
Session: 5:30 – 7:00pm
Breakout Room: DCERP Showcase

Event Link


My name is Serena, I’m a first-year student in LSA with a Public Health major and minors in Spanish and Social Class and Inequality Studies. This summer, I had the opportunity to work on a handful of projects and I have really come to understand how smaller nonprofits work. Recently, I have begun to create an oil recycling initiative within our Healthy Business program, which is a new project created to generate partnerships between SDEV and local businesses and motivate business owners to take part in environmentally friendly ways to run their stores and restaurants.
The oil recycling program will connect local restaurants with a company that will buy their used cooking oil and processes it into biodiesel. This initiative not only gives me the chance to directly
interact with community members, but also benefits both small businesses and the environment. By being given the freedom to work on projects that I am passionate about, I have started to create a project that I am extremely proud of and plan to continue working on in the near future. Furthermore, I believe that oil recycling directly connects to our Healthy Air program. Biofuels burn cleaner than gasoline, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and is fully biodegradable, unlike some fuel additives, adding another layer of benefit to the program.


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