6030319256_0b6cb86a58Over the past few months, I was given the opportunity to participate in a very unique program called Discover Engage Transform (DET) that was organized by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and Intern in Michigan. This initiative focused on educating Michigan interns on the opportunities that the state of Michigan, and more specifically the metro Detroit region, has to offer. Being a true small town girl, I knew I was in for a new experience.

Each session of the program focused on a specific aspect that makes up the spirit of Detroit— people, places, and passion. During the first session, professionals and entrepreneurs who truly believe in revitalizing Detroit told inspiring stories of how a simple idea can evolve into a meaningful program. Whether it is the community volunteer efforts of Summer in the City or educational tours provided by Inside Detroit, each organization was cultivated from a vision to attract new growth and show the true appeal of the city to both residents and visitors.

Prior to the program, I had only visited Detroit a handful of times for the occasional concert or trip to the zoo, so I was particularly excited for a tour of the city. Over the course of an afternoon, I was able to see the beauty of Belle Isle, the livelihood of Eastern Market, the intricate cathedral ceilings of the Fisher building, and countless other awe-worthy sites. But along with these places remains a considerable amount of dilapidated structures in need of redevelopment. After seeing both the beautiful and forgotten areas of the city, I was reminded of Detroit’s motto that was adopted after the fire of 1805; Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus, which is Latin for “We hope for better things; it will rise from the ashes.”

My experience in DET caused me to think of the large role that people, places, and passion play in my work for Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities (GLACC). Bringing transportation stakeholders together allows GLACC to facilitate clean transportation projects that contribute to better air quality, energy security and increased economic development in mid-Michigan. Collaboration among these stakeholders is what makes project development possible, and the passion they share is truly what drives these projects to fruition. I am truly grateful to be supporting such a meaningful cause.