Note: Several members of the Van Andel Millennial Board will offer individual perspectives on the visit to Lansing. Some posts will recap the entire visit, while others will discuss individual tour stops.
By Erran Briggs, Kalamazoo College
Whenever I previously thought about Lansing, I only thought of one thing – green and white. In fact, it seemed as though the only things in Lansing were pertaining to the University. Luckily, I was wrong. After touring Lansing and seeing firsthand what it had to offer, I’ve definitely changed the way I feel about the city.
There are many new and exciting things going on in Lansing to help propel the city into a brighter, more productive future. For instance, we visited at one building that had previously served as a coal factory. The Accident Fund, a leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance, bought the building and renovated it, while preserving its original look and expanding the building with a more modern-looking addition. The building went from being a complete eyesore in the city of Lansing to one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.
The people employed by the Accident Fund are energetic and excited about the steps Lansing is taking as a city. The company is primed for growth as well, as its headquarters is large enough to house many more employees. It will most likely be a source of increasing employment for the years to come.
Another interesting place that we visited in Lansing was called Old Town. This section of the city contains many old buildings, some of which may date back to the time of Lansing’s birth.
These buildings at one time were forgotten and rundown. Instead of remaining in disrepair, a group of nonprofits and small business owners have taken this small area of Lansing and turned it into a hub for growth. The people who work there include graphic art designers, film editors, and advertisers who reported that their businesses have actually picked up in the midst of the economic crisis.
All in all, I think that Lansing has a lot to offer and if we can just get people to see that, we should be able to retain more college graduates in this region.