What I do at my Placement | Blog Post #4

I am placed at a non-profit energy consulting firm, called EcoWorks. What we do here is take on grant-funded projects that aim to save local governments money off their budgets by identifying energy conservation opportunities. I love this work because it puts me in a position to not only do what I love–which is consulting–but also it affords me the opportunity to engage directly with residents. So far, I’ve been able to do things as different as meet with municipal officials to work out plans for implementing clean energy technologies, as well as making residential home visits to conduct energy audits and educate them on ways they can go about saving money on their gas, water and electricity bills. I truly find everyday working with EcoWorks to be both, challenging and rewarding.

The project I’ve been tasked with for my summer internship is to create a solicitation toolkit (marketing piece to be distributed to grant writers and policy makers) proposing the value of our organization collaborating with 3 other non-profit energy consulting firms throughout Michigan. The purpose of our collaboration is to increase our capacity to make Michigan more energy efficient by the year 2025. Instead of observing strict regional boundaries across Michigan, our organizations will join forces to serve the entire State. This project has been very demanding though, as it requires me to do intense research and interviewing the Executive Directors at each organization, including my own. At the end of my internship I expect to have gained valuable skills that will make me better suited to pursue strategy consulting post-graduation.

When not at work, I have the privilege of living in Midtown Detroit, which has been quite the experience. I grew up in the city, and so I’ve been able to witness how much (and how quickly) Detroit has changed over the last decade. The result of businesses and people flocking to the downtown area has me feeling both proud of my city, and upset. Granted, I do appreciate how beautiful and lively the Downtown/ Midtown areas have become recently, but at the same time, it doesn’t look like the city I’ve come to love. I’m not used to Detroit being so clean and neat downtown, nor am I used to being surrounded by thick crowds of White people. Fun fact, in 2013, only 7.8% of Detroiters were White. Nowadays, that figure is probably tripled. I just hope that as my city makes its comeback, we don’t lose what made Detroit attractive in the first place.



Erin R.

Hey! I'm a senior at the University of Michigan, studying Sociology and Education. I'll be interning at EcoWorks Detroit, with the UROP program (Detroit Community-Based Research Program). I love writing blog posts, so sit back, relax, and read my thoughts.

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