May 19, 2024

Program is an opportunity for students to get to know Detroit

By Nargis Rahman

Wayne State’s Alternative Spring Break Detroit, a weeklong service project within the city March 14-19, has chosen 45 finalists to participate.

Wayne State started the first localized learning service to complement community service, said Dean of Students David Strauss.

The program is co-sponsored by the Dean of Students Office and the Detroit Orientation Institute co-sponsor the program.

Patrick McAninch, director of ASBD, which started in 2002, said more people applied this year than in past, with 86 applicants.

Participants were chosen for their passion and willingness to learn more about the city.
Sophomore Deeptha Sadasivan, psychology major, will join the program for the first time.
“I know that this city is both culturally and historically rich, and there’s plenty to explore. There’s a lot of work we can do to help out,” she said.

Junior Ilya Rakitin, biology major and pre-med student, said he loves the city and wants to find out more about its hidden gems, including “cool places to go, history and architecture.”
“I’ve lived in Southfield, on the border of Birmingham, for 16 years now, and I haven’t spent a lot of time downtown and don’t know too much about it,” Rakitin said.

Terry Ludwick, a junior in urban studies and a geography major, will be one of athe arts and culture site leaders for this year’s program.

Ludwick said even if you are a student, most of your time is spent in the city.

“People should take a little more pride in a place where they spend most of their time and where they call home,” he said.

This year Ludwick will show the participants where to go and how to help the community.
Students get together in the mornings to discuss one of four themes: arts and culture, crime and blight, hunger and homelessness, and education.

McAninch, who has been involved in the program for four years, said the addition of the education session was due to pre-existing concerns about education in the city.

Students will launch out to four sites to work on each issue. Group choices were made during the application process.

The arts and culture group may go to The Children’s Hospital to do arts and crafts with the children. Ludwick said plans are not finalized yet.

Crime and blight will work with the Motor City Blight Busters, a nonprofit organization that cleans abandoned homes.

After 5 or 6 hours of cleaning, building, painting, reading and other work, students reunite for Detroit sight seeing and dinner at ethnic restaurants, including The Polish Village.
Students should bring cabin-camping equipment and should be prepared to work hard, have lots of fun, enjoy great food and meet new people, McAninch said.

The program ends with a banquet for participants, friends, family and local project hosts.
McAninch said 1-2 people tend to change plans last minute. There is a chance alternate participants may be chosen.