These past few days I’ve been able to attend the a2ruRISE Emerging Creatives Student Summit at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It has been quite an eye-opening experience to what potential collaboration has.
About 2 months ago I received a mass email that encouraged students to apply for this summit, and that there was grant money available if you qualify. So I applied, received grant money, and travelled to Detroit all by myself which was an adventure in itself.
I was prepared to be secluded and independent like I tend to be, but when I landed I found that I was ill prepared to find a ride to my hotel, so I got an Uber, met a nice man who drove me the half hour there, and then went to meet the rest of the students at the conference. I connected quickly with people but they were shallow connections and didn’t last too long.
Later in the first evening we were introduced to the heart of the Summit, collaborating an interdisciplinary teams to solve problems in communities around the country. As a group of about 80 students, we represented 25 different school, and over 50 disciplines (I came the furthest to attend the conference! Most Western state represented! Go ASU!)
We were presented with 8 different problems and were allowed to pick which topic we wanted to work on. I found the topic of incorporating Arts and Engineering most pertinent to my interests. Our group of about 13 people was a good mix of artists, musicians, architects, designers, and engineers.
Within that group I made a few good friends with whom I spent a good amount of time with.
There was one person who changed my perspective about a few things and I just wanted to share a little bit about him.
A Grad student at U of M, Mihir and I met in our Arts and Engineering Project group. He was helpful and wanted to help me get connected to professors at his school that work in fields related to my course of study.
On Thursday of the conference, we visited the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts, both of which we experienced together. His outgoing personality and kindness somewhat shocked me, but in the best way.
Thursday night, a small group of us wandered around Ann Arbor on the locally acclaimed Fairy Door Tour. Mihir lead us around the city to landmarks that were decorated with tiny, but perfectly scaled “Fairy Doors”. It was quite possibly the best way I think I could have explored Ann Arbor.
Friday, the third and final day of the conference, we put the finishing touched on our presentation and came together to create a pitch to present to the rest of the students and leaders of the summit. We decided that we wanted to create a platform for engineers and arts to collaborate in the easiest way possible and through our company they could. I was on the team that created examples of what these projects could look like, and I plan to pitch one of the ideas to the Herberger Institute in the next few weeks to apply for funding.
Friday night, Mihir, and our friends, Alex and Grant went to the University of Michigan Museum of the Arts, UMMA, we saw the artwork, ate shortcakes and talked.
Later we wandered more around the campus, got into the EXTREMELY quite U of M Law Library and stargazed a bit.
When it was time to start parting ways, we said goodbye to Alex and headed to catch the bus back to the hotel. Grant and I needed to catch that last bus back to the hotel, but we missed it.
So we went to hang out with some of Mihir’s friends and I swear I haven’t seen a group of people have so much fun in a very long time. Grant and I shared our life stories with this group and in turn we received a very uninformative life story from the mysterious Tim.
My point in telling you all this is that you will meet good people. They will be in places where you don’t expect to find them, and they will care about you for reasons you can’t understand. And you will care about them too.
If you invest in people, even a little bit, odds are that they will return that.
People are wonderful creatures, you just to learn to accept them for who they are, where they come from and where they are going.
You never know when the Uber driver will give you’re his phone number and offer you help if you get stuck in a city you’ve never been to.
You never know when two people you’ve known for 4 days will offer to help you design and build a project that could be implemented in a location states away from them.
No one said that you can only make good friends at home.