If you were in Ann Arbor last Thursday night and weren't too busy a) studying for finals or b) lamenting the horrifying collapse of the Michigan basketball team, the Ross Business School's Net Impact/Arts Enterprise holiday party was only one place to be. Despite frigid temperatures outside, over 200 guests packed Live at PJ's to rock their Santa hats, listen to the amazing B-School band, and hit the dance floor. All proceeds from the evening raised money to fund four gifts designed by Net Impact and Arts Enterprise members through The Generation Project.
The sum total: nearly $2500, all of which will benefit low-income public school students in Detroit. The money raised will be divided equally among the gifts designed by Net Impact and Arts Enterprise members. These four diverse gifts--which range from robotics to health to Motown to the arts--were educational, fun, and creative, as one would expect from a school that has turned out alumni like these. Check them out! (Educators, these will be available on our community section soon):
Varsity Sports for the Mind:
I heard Dean Kamen; founder of F.I.R.S.T. (“For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”); speak at an event this summer and was inspired by his passion. His vision is "To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.” F.I.R.S.T. programs cultivate the imagination and creativity of students age 6-18 through mentor-based programs in science; technology; engineering; and math. High school programs culminate in a national robotics competition in a major sports facility that has all the energy and dynamism of the Final Four. I want to provide funding for a local school to sponsor a team.
Music of Motown:
Have a class of 20 students learn about the history of Motown and visit the Motown Historical Museum (aka. Studio A) on West Grand Boulevard. Then have them write new lyrics to a Motown standard (a kind of answer song; which was a typical of early Motown hit strategies). In a dream world, the students could perform the songs for a visiting Motown legend -- either Duke Fakir of The Four Tops or Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas. Both still live in Detroit and would likely visit students and offer singing tips for a small honorarium. The story of Motown can be an inspiring one about the importance of determination and entrepreneurship.
This project encourages a healthy lifestyle for children through outdoor physical activity and healthy eating, and should include activities related to both. The physical activity could involve a field trip to the Greenways or a Metropark, or perhaps the “Biggest Loser Detroit” or a Detroit Lions player could make an appearance at school and lead an exercise activity, though it may not be possible. The healthy eating activity should be interactive and creative. For example, it could involve a trip to an urban farm or Eastern Market where the children could make a healthy snack.
Student Involvement in the Arts:
Detroit has a long history of artistic greatness; but many students have no idea that their city is the home to not only Motown; but Fox Theater; Orchestra Hall; and some of the country's finest arts institutions. I think that we could work with one or more of these institutions to not only sponsor a day/event dedicated to Detroit students; but also provide a lasting channel of communication through which students could have a real voice in the programming choices and day-to-day operations of these institutions (e.g. student councils; youth on board; student advisors; competitive internships; etc).
On behalf of The Generation Project and Detroit Public Schools students, thanks go out to Net Impact, Arts Enterprise, the incredible event organizers, and to all the wonderful guests who showed up! The party itself was a smash success as well: first-hand reports, while hazy, have the dance floor packed until last call.
Party pictures, after the jump. More...