LTU students join the effort to improve Detroit
Monday, April 29th, 2013
By Nita Malaj
For years now, the city of Detroit has been crumbling right before our eyes. Abandoned houses and buildings are on almost every corner, businesses are being boarded up, and schools are being shut down. Fortunately, the Millennials are becoming more aware of the issues impacting their generation, and they have big plans to attack social problems.
From April 5-7, four Millennials from Lawrence Technological University (LTU) attended Mobolize.org’s College to Career Pathways Summit (C2CP) at the Detroit Doubletree Hotel.
According to Mobolize.org, a Millennial – sometimes known as Generation Y – is someone who came of age around the turn of the century. In general, Millennials have the characteristics of being tech-savvy, tolerant, collaborative, and innovative. Mobolize.org’s mission is to empower and invest in Millennials to create and implement solutions to social problems. Mobolize.org pushes Millennials to utilize technology and social networks to connect with other Millennials in order to discuss issues impacting their generation and developing sustainable solutions to address them.
Mashia Kellum, an engineering technology major; Gabriel Moreno, a mechatronics major; Alex Mozeihem, an administration and economics major; and Elton Tate, a mechanical engineering major all had the opportunity, being Millennials, to attend this conference. Mobolize.org took care of all the expenses that included hotel accommodations, meals, and travel reimbursements.
“The point of the Summit was to inspire Millennials on how they could change Detroit. How can we effectively solve the current problems surrounding Detroit using what we have now?” said Kellum.
Mobolize.org brought in guest speakers from local Detroit businesses and organizations, including Slow’s Barbeque, Ponyride, GM, United Way, and Habitat for Humanity. The speakers informed the Millennials on Detroit’s current situation and what they can do to improve it. A lot of plans are in the works for bettering the Detroit Public School System.
Philip Cooley, one of the founding members of Ponyride, which provides cheap space for socially conscious artists and entrepreneurs to work in where they can share knowledge, resources and networks, offered assistance to any Millennials willing to take a chance in Detroit by opening up their own venue.
“There is assistance to those who are willing to take one step forward and start their own business in the Detroit area. … There are things being done behind the scenes, people are unaware, I was unaware,” said Tate.
While Moreno and Mozeihem networked with fellow Millennials and local Detroit organizations, Kellum and Tate came ready to compete in the “Summit Competition.” Mobolize.org gave C2CP applicants the opportunity to submit a proposal for a new idea that addresses issues related to Detroit’s revitalization through their career readiness, workforce development, and talent retention. The winners received $25,000 to support their project.
Kellum and Tate’s project was entitled “Under One House” (http://mobilize.org/2013/04/c2cp-house/). Their project focused on Detroit’s low graduation rates and lack of career and college preparedness. They plan to tackle this issue by connecting high school students with professional mentors and coming up with community projects geared toward bringing their neighborhoods together and coming up with a plan for their future.
Though Kellum and Tate did not win, entering the competition helped enable them to expand and move their idea forward for next year’s competition. “We all have the power to do something; it’s just the matter of acting and connecting with like-minded individuals who are ready to move Detroit forward,” said Tate.