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October 23, 2013 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-23

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' 9

6B Wednesday, October 23 2013 // The Statement

The 'U' in the 'D'
by Adam Rubenfire

t all started in 1817. Augustus Wood-
ward, Rev. John Monteith, Fr. Gabriel
Richard and William Woodbridge
forged a plan to establish the University of
Michigania. But many would be surprised
to know this story isn't set in Ann Arbor: It
takes place in Detroit.
The University was established in Detroit
in1817 and moved to Ann Arbor 20 years later.
While the University prospered, Detroit has
lost much of its population and economic
activity, and gained a national reputation as
an eyesore.
But today, there's a shift in this relation-
ship. Though many problems still exist, like
the aftermath of the city's historic bankrupt-
cy, it's now cool to live, work and play in the
city, from Corktown to Midtown.
There's little cool factor in the University's
presence in Detroit, according to admin-
istrators. Rather, they say the relationship
between the 'U' and the 'D' has been 196
years in the making.
Cynthia Wilbanks, the University's vice
president for government relations, said in
a statement that the University's support of
the city-is inherent if one considers that the
institution has had roots in Detroit since the
early 1800s.
"Even if the University had not been
founded in the city of Detroit, there would
likely be a type of interaction that you see
today," Wilbanks said. "But I would argue
that the bonds of the relationship are so his-
toric that it has helped to guide our interac-
tions with the city for many, many years."
Wilbanks - who has played a large part
in organizing the administration's efforts
in Detroit - said the University has been in
Detroit for some time and will continue that
Wilbanks said the recent spike in public
and private involvement in the city has only
made it more enticing for University research
and programs.
"There is a cool factor right now - it's
attracting students, and it's attracting more
companies to be a part of Detroit's rebirth.
Right now, we see many in the private sector
working hard to achieve success - and all of
that enthusiasm lends itself to a more vibrant
city," Wilbanks said. "I would make the case
that it makes it even more attractive for our
students and faculty to work in an environ-
ment where they can contribute to the city
thriving well into the future."
In recent years, companies have flooded
the city. Singer Kid Rock, a Detroit native,
capitalized on the city's recent fame with his
"Made in Detroit" clothing line. Several tech
companies, including Twitter and Uber - a
popular car hire app - have launched offic-
es in the city, and an array of startups have
popped up.
Chrysler announced they'll move 70
employees into the city, and even Chinese

companies have flocked to Detroit, attracted
by new automotive technologies.
Billionaire Dan Gilbert, chairman of Rock
Ventures, LLC, and Quicken Loans - the
nation's third-largest mortgage lender - will
soon own a large proportion of the downtown
area, which he has inundated with workers
from his family of companies.
Dan Mullen, vice president of develop-
ment for Bedrock Real Estate Services -
the real estate arm of Rock Ventures - told
MLive that companies and organizations
are moving to the city because they know
they'll be noticed as Detroit rebounds. He
pointed to New York-based Roasting Plant,
which opened one of its unique coffee shops
in Detroit earlier this year.
"If you were to open up another coffee
shop in downtown New York or Chicago,
you probably wouldn't be able to receive the
same amount of traction or PR or have the
same affect in general," Mullen said. "Folks
are realizingthis and taking advantage of it."
If, as Mullen says, moving to Detroit
means easy attention for businesses, is the
University attempting to follow the "Detroit
Public Policy senior Donavan McKinney,
vice chair of the Central Student Govern-
ment Commission on Detroit Engagement
and a Detroit native, said it's possible that
work in Detroit could be used to create a pos-
itive image in the face of a poor racial climate
on campus and low Black student enrollment.
"I would hope the'University is doing this
just to promote awareness, and is conscious
of the fact that we have one of the most influ-
ential cities that has ever crossed the history
of cities," McKinney said.
McKinney said he supports the Universi-
ty's efforts, including the Detroit Connector
shuttle project, the weekend bus service to
Detroit he helped organize.
"I really don't feel that U of M is here for
show," Adell Austin Anderson, director of the
University's Detroit Center, said. "Because
it's been decades ... it has been here during
times where it wasn't 'cool' to be with Detroit,
when Detroit in the '70s was seen as the mur-
der capital of the world and stuff like that - U
of M was here in some form or fashion."

The Detroit Center - which opened in
2005 - is a visible symbol of the University's
involvement in Detroit. A large building sign,
lamppost flags and window art bearing the
iconic Block 'M' make the University's pres-
ence on the corner clear.
Anderson sees the Detroit Center more
as a headquarters - where University fac-
ulty, students and staff can get support for
their service and research efforts in the city's
many underserved neighborhoods. This is
evident in the University's opportunities for
students in Detroit. The Semester in Detroit
program began in 2009 and allows students
to live and study in the city for an extended
period of time.
Even as the city filed for bankruptcy this
past July, Craig Regester, associate director
of the Semester in Detroit program, told The
Michigan Daily he didn't believe students
would be dissuaded from studying in the city.
The University isn't the only college visi-
ble in Detroit. Midtown - where the Detroit
Center is located - is already home to a
major university - Wayne State University.
A few blocks down Woodward, Michigan
State University's Detroit Center is housed
in a two-story, 22,000 square-feet building
built in 1912, while the University's space
takes up only part of the first floor of an office
building. Even Grand Valley State Univer-
sity, a much smaller institution, has entered
the game, snatching a beautiful space in the
heart of downtown within clear visibility of
Conerica Park - and the appropriate adver-
tising signage to match.
Compared to its competitors, Anderson
said the University hasn't created a lot of buzz
about its presence in the city.
"The University has been here, but there
hadn't been this visible .symbol," Anderson
said. "We probably don'tdo agood enough job
in letting people know about everything that
happens here."
Elizabeth Birr Moje, Education profes-
sor and the School of Education's associate
dean for research and community engage-
ment, said the University does stand to ben-
efit greatly from its work in the city of Detroit.
But she's not referring to any sort of reputa-
tional benefit.

Moje said the University has shifted from
an effort focused on outreach to one that is
focused on engagement and service learning.
Rather than simply sending individuals to the
city to volunteer in underserved communi-
ties, faculty, staff and students in Detrit help
those in need and gain valuable educational
"We have just as much to learn from our
service as we have to give," Moje said.
Education students and faculty work
directly with the Detroit School of Arts,
located down the street from the Detroit Cen-
ter. Along with a coalition of other campus
units, the school also works in several insti-
tutions around the area. The Undergradu-
ate Research Opportunity Program has also
begun offering research projects in Detroit,
Moje said.
In Moje's line of work, working in a city
like Detroit helps both teachers and research-
ers gain insight into a unique educational
"Doing research in Detroit provides one
with an opportunity to connect with people
who are really struggling with some of the
biggest challenges in our country right now,"
Moje said, noting that knowledge gained
could be applied to struggling communities
around the country.
In regards to practicum work, Moje called
working in a city like Detroit "the ultimate
teaching challenge," noting that it's exactly
where she wants her students. She said edu-
cators in Detroit are the best example of
teachers who are working extremely hard to
meet the needs of their students.
"If you're trying to learn how to be a teach-
er, part of what you're learning is how to be a
teacher in a particular context, and to figure
out, 'How do I work with a community that I
may not know well?"' Moje said.
Student leaders on campus agree. Public
Policy junior Patrick Sier, chair of the Central
Student Government Commission on Detroit
Engagement and major events director for
the Detroit Partnership service-learning stu-
dent organization, saidthatregardless of how
one looks at it, the University stands to benefit
from a healthy, vibrant Detroit.
"When you have a stronger, greater Detroit
region - which Ann Arbor is really a part
of - then you have a stronger University at
the same time," Sier said. "The University
acknowledges from a self-interest standpoint
that when Detroit rises, they rise, and when
Detroit falls, it hurts them too."
LSA senior Samantha Edwards, the Detroit
Partnership's executive director, said it's up
to students to give Detroit a chance.
"Students should at least try it out. You
can't count it out before you try it," Edwards
said. "College is a learning experience. It's
a time for you to experience a more diverse
atmosphere. It's about broadening your hori-

latest collection was inspired by
female boxers, and his models wore
fur trimmed leather jackets with his
rendition of "boxing gloves." Wang
wanted his models to look powerful
and intimidating, and his show even
opened with the theme song of Rocky
III, "Eye of the Tiger."
This combination of feminine
details and Punk inspiration trans-
lated over to the streets of Ann Arbor.
Students are pairing black, cropped
leather jackets with combat boots
and menswear shirts. However, col-
orful scarves and delicately printed
pants are added to these looks, ton-
ing down the biker influences of the
What we've seen in the past with
leather jackets are extremes. Women
either looked like subjects of dark,
sexual fantasies or Harley Davidson
biker chicks. Both looks, however, are
not exactly something you can show
up to class in. Now, leather jackets are
much more versatile. I think, finally,
that leather jackets have evolved into
a powerful, statement-making piece
without looking too sexualized or

on the record
"It's kind of funny, and I'm working on just owning the
fact that I looked ridiculous because there's nothing
I can do about it."
- JANINE HUELSMAN, LSAtjunior, aboutstarring in a gifgone
viralfrom Saturday'sfootballgame against Indiana University.
"Making mistakes is OK; it's more than okay because in
order to get somewhere, you have to make mistakes."
- JEFF KIRSCHNER, University alum andfounder of the data-
driven environmental initiative Litterati, on embracingfailure.
"Gallon might've took the cheese. Gallon - it was just
outstanding, you know? I mean just to even have 369
yards in one game, you know, it's just crazy."
- FITZGERALD TOUSSAINT, fifth-year senior running back, on
D/Daiy fifth-year senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon's record-breakinggame.
e d
r f.

Apple introduced their
newest device, the iPad
Air, and anew operating
system, OS X Mavericks,
in their usual executive-
format on Thesday.
According to CNN, the
new iPad features a faster
processing chip. In other
news, using your iPad to
take photos in public is
MARCIOJOSE SANCHEZ/AP still embarrassing.

Donald Trump tweeted that former NSA
contractor Edward Snowden was banned from
the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow this
November, unless he would come home to face
justice. Trump: the modern-day patriot.



Lady Gaga released her newest single "Do
What U Want" featuring R. Kelly, along with a
slew of ALL CAPS Twitter rebuttals to recent
headlines about her. Regarding her recent
single sinking below Katy Perry, she tweeted,
"I write for the music not the charts."


Yup, that's how
Kanye West
proposed to
girlfriend and
baby mama Kim
Kardashian on
Monday. Yeezus
rented out San
Fran's AT&T Park,
where he had a
symphony perform.

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