- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - A group of Michigan State University students are spending three months studying in Detroit and working to help fix some of the city’s challenges.

The DETxMSU internship encourages students to live, learn, work and play in Detroit, The Detroit News reported (https://detne.ws/2ae6hqY ).

Sixty students from various disciplines are enrolled in the pilot program and housed at Wayne State University. The program includes a three-credit class and pairing with Detroit and Wayne County officials on issues like foreclosure reductions, boosting income tax compliance, arts promotion and mapping available retail spaces.

“Our goal here was to build early partnerships,” said Joshua Sapotichne, an assistant professor in political science at Michigan State. “As opposed to saying, ‘We’re from MSU and here to help,’ we asked, ‘What do you need? How we can help?’ These are the kind of conversations we had for months prior to when we started … so the work the students are doing has a lasting impact.”

The school and the Detroit-based Quicken Loans family of companies are paying the program’s $500,000 cost.

“One of the big accomplishments of the program is that we are getting a bunch of kids who didn’t know Detroit and frankly from their backgrounds were in some ways scared of the city of Detroit,” Detroit Deputy Mayor Carol O’Cleireacain said.

“They came in and they saw what it was and … actually became enthusiastic about what it was like to be here. That was really good for them,” O’Cleireacain said. “But it was terrific for the city, too. Detroit really gets a really bad rap. This is not a scary place to be.”

Senior Domenika Tarazhi is spending her internship in the city’s historic preservation department and says a “whole spirit of revival is in the air” in Detroit.

Tarazhi is from Sterling Heights, north of Detroit.

“When I was in high school, my parents wouldn’t let me come to Detroit because they were scared,” she said. “We heard about how dangerous it was. But I’ve told them it’s not that bad and now my parents come and visit me, and they are starting to see the beauty of Detroit.”


Information from: The Detroit News, https://detnews.com/

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