It's been an incredible, life-changing eight weeks for the students in DukeEngage Detroit. This week they gave their final presentations and enjoyed one last group meal with ice cream before heading home to Duke. Each student had a chance to share the work they have been doing over the summer and discuss the impact it had on themselves, their agencies, and the Detroit community at large. Each student contributed their unique perspective to their work and left with new knowledge, tools, and experiences that will help them in their educational and professional development. Yet perhaps the biggest impact the program had was the relationships the students developed with one another.
This week some of our students took a tour of Detroit and learned about the eight mile wall. As a group, we also learned more about this history and future of General Motors, who discussed their Zero Zero Zero policy. We practiced embodying GMs values of "being bold" by asking questions about the exciting, innovative work that this company is doing in Detroit! We also attended a sushi dinner in which students got a chance to talk more to current interns and employees about their work in the company and city.
This week we enjoyed a group reflection led by our very own Blake McCann, who is working with ProsperUS this summer. Blake led us in a discussion on food choices and how these contribute to privilege, connection, and at times, discrimination or exclusion. We enjoyed a delicious meal from Guadalajara, a local restaurant. We also visited the Museum of African American History, were we came face to face with the rich, complex, and difficult history of African American individuals in the United States.
Last week we enjoyed learning about some of Detroit's staple destinations- Lafayette Coney Island and the Motown museum. Many of us enjoyed our first Coney Island experience and learned more about the music that has defined and uplifted this incredible city.
This week we enjoyed a variety of activities that included a group meal and reflection activity at Shangri-LA, a dinner with the Wade family and introduction to Mr. and Mrs. Wagoner, and a tour with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRFC). We all enjoyed experiencing local institutions and getting more familiar with some of the local families that enhance and contribute towards the revitalization of this incredible city. We would like to issue a special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Wade for hosting our group!
During our tour of the DRFC, we learned that the DRFC is a nonprofit organization responsible for the establishment, improvement, operation, maintenance, security, programming and expansion of the Detroit RiverWalk and associated green spaces. Through its public/private partnerships, the DRFC has and will continue to support the development of the riverfront district and facilitate community access to the waterfront.
This week, several of our students attended Detroit SOUP. Detroit SOUP is a microgranting dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Detroit. For a donation $5 attendees receive soup, salad, bread and a vote and hear from four presentations ranging from art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurs, education, technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources, enjoy art and vote on the project they think benefits the city the most. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about local projects happening in the community! We also had our weekly group meal at Buddy's pizza, a local staple that has been service traditional Detroit style pizza since 1946!
This week we attended a mixer at TechTown to get to know our local community partners and learn more about the exciting work going in in Detroit. We also had a guided tour of Ponyride, which is a catalyst for deploying social capital to a diverse group of artists, creative entrepreneurs and makers who are committed to working together to make communities in Detroit sustainable from their 28,000 square foot building in Corktown.
This week we began work with our partner sites! The students are learning more about their placements and starting to develop plans and goals for the summer. They are also adjusting to life in the apartments! This week they demonstrated some innovative cooking skills and had their first group meal at Pegasus in Greektown. For some students, it was their very first taste of Greek food!