Ypsi committee looks for Eastern opinions

The Ypsilanti Steering Committee will meet with EMU Wednesday and walk through town, inviting people to make suggestions.

Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Joan of Arc, Plato and Aristotle were each individuals who brought about change.

Often, in comparison to these people, it may seem impossible that you have an opportunity to affect the world on that level, but the Ypsilanti Steering Committee says otherwise. The YSC is looking for members of the Eastern Michigan University community to come and suggest changes for the City of Ypsilanti.

At 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the EMU and Ypsilanti communities are invited to meet up at the Student Center across from the bookstore.

From there, Student Body Vice President Desmond Miller and members of the YSC will lead the group on a walk to downtown Ypsilanti.

Throughout the walk, people will be invited to point out things that they would like to change in the city.

Miller said improvements that can be made include a variety of things, such as streets, historical landmarks, buildings and parks.

“It’s very important for myself, as well as other committee members, to hear what the students have to say,” Miller said.

He mentioned an issue many students are concerned about.

“One thing I’ve heard of is the issue of safety,” Miller said. “Students feel more safe on campus than in the rest of Ypsilanti.”

Miller said he is a huge supporter in building a better relationship between the city and EMU.

“I want this university to be as connected to Ypsi as [the University of Michigan] is to Ann Arbor,” Miller said. “This is so important to me.”

The walk is estimated to last about an hour, after which participants can take a shuttle back to EMU.

“The big goal is 20 to 25 students or even 15,” Miller said. “We’re looking for students with different perspectives.”

Based on the suggestions gathered from the group, the YSC will help to draft a plan for the program Shape Ypsilanti.

In drafting the plan, the goal is to create a more diverse, accepting and sustainable community. As part of accomplishing this goal, the group’s drafting guidelines include building a stronger bridge between EMU and the rest of Ypsilanti.

“We’re trying to have more students get more involved in [Ypsilanti PRIDE Day] each semester,” Miller said. “That way, students can get more involved with the programs and businesses in Ypsi. We have one in the beginning of the year, but it’s more geared towards freshmen.”

Miller also said he looks forward to more community projects being held for students to become active in.

The YSC is doing more than the walk in order to gain perspective on how to improve the city. Throughout this week, there are other opportunities to learn about and participate in the drafting process. At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, you can meet at the Riverside Arts Center, located at 76 N. Huron St., to learn about the actual drafting process and be part of the Ypsilanti renovation conversation. On Friday, March 15 at 5 p.m., there will be a closing conversation where you can learn about the steps Ypsilanti will take to make the drafts a reality.

While it’s a good time of year to make all sorts of renovation plans for the summer, it’s not necessarily the best weather to walk around in. To make up for that, there will be hot chocolate available in front of the Student Center before the walk, and the trek will end at a café where warm food and beverages are available for sale.

Additionally, if the weather is terrible, the group will still gather to welcome any and all voices and opinions, and they will postpone the walk until later in the semester.

The goal is to feel no pressure and allow your thoughts to be heard.

“Plan to be there and don’t be afraid to voice [your] opinion,” Miller said. “People in general feel like they’re just one voice and they have every right as much as I do to voice their opinions.”

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