Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What would it take . . .

to keep you here?

A couple years ago, I was ready to leave Michigan and return only to visit family. I'm a young professional with two bachelor's degrees and odds of being accepted to more than one of the many graduate schools to which I've applied, only one of which is in Michigan. My story is not at all unique - with the loss of jobs and public services declining, plus a distinct reputation as part of the Rust Belt, Michigan looks less than attractive to millenials (people born between 1980 and 2000).

However, projects like Detroit Goat Farm, Greening of Detroit, Urban Farming, Pure Michigan, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, and Free Clinics of Michigan, among a host of others, have changed my mind. I'm seeing how active many Michiganders are in their communities, how much innovation could happen here, and dreaming a new dream for the state of my birth. The result? My first choice for graduate school is Michigan State University, with University of Illinois at Chicago a close second, for its proximity to the Mitten State.

Of course, there are changes I'd like to see. At the top of the list is public transportation and stronger emphasis on education. I'm sure we can all think of things we like and don't like about our state of residence, be it Michigan, California, New York, Texas, etc.

Now I'm asking: what would it take to keep you here? Or to get you to move here, or to move back?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Applause for our Goat Engineers

Just a little applause going out to our goat engineers at Michigan State! They're on track to present their work in April, and we should be getting some Excel files from them later today. If you're interested in seeing their presentations, they are:

Apr 15: Biosystems Engineering Showcase - an event for friends and family, geared towards non-technical conversations with a more laid-back atmosphere and general questions. Location: TBA, likely MSU Kellogg Center.

Apr 16 (Tentative): MSU University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum - a research fair with posters and short presentations about undergraduate research projects. Location: MSU Union.

Apr 30: Design Day - our engineers will set up a booth next to other capstone projects and provide small explanations of the project. Location: TBA, likely the MSU Union.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Exciting News!

Detroit Goat Farm has been busy of late! Last Thursday morning, we met with Denise Maybank, the MSU Vice President for Student Affairs, who gave us some great ideas for partnerships.

Thursday evening we had a chance to talk to our engineering team - they've come up with a plan to manage waste. It involves composting with use of biofilters that will bind sulfur to manage odor. Because of the dryness of goat manure, we'll likely use microbes to help break everything down. A bonus to this system? One of the byproducts is heat, which we'll be able to use to reduce our heating bill for the goat barn during the winter. Depending how much heat is produced, our head goat engineer, Rebecca Busk, would also like to add a greenhouse to the facility.

Then on Friday, we presented our workshop again to an MSU Honors seminar on sustainability. The students, mostly freshman, gave feedback that the format of the workshop was new for them, and they demonstrated great enthusiasm for the problem solving scenarios we asked them to consider. The professor, who has been around many of these ideas for quite some time, also complimented the format as a real-world setup for discussions.

One last announcement: Detroit Goat Farm will be presenting at Spring Goat Day in Anthony Hall at MSU through the Michigan Dairy Goat Society. We're looking forward to meeting lots of other goat enthusiasts!