How does polarization manifest itself on campus?
April 16, 2019
I Dare You to Move
Tabitha is a Junior studying biomedical engineering. She is the Head of Community Engagement for MUSIC Matters and hopes you enjoy SpringFest as much as she does. She is also the advertising chair for Out of the Darkness, the U of M chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Her passion to help others is what drives her to move someone each and every day.
Movement has a domino effect. The initial drop ripples outwards, moving anything and everything in its path. We are similar to water droplets in the sense that our actions ripple outward, change the environment, and expand in either layers or size when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But what is it that truly moves YOU? As I sit here and ask myself that question, many things come to mind: my dreams and goals, my seventh alarm in the morning, my passion to help others, my family’s ceaseless belief in me, my phone hitting 1% and the charger being just 6 inches too far. Everyone gets out of bed each morning, or afternoon, for a different reason - well what’s mine?
As an overly dedicated student government fanatic at age 8, I was practically raised on the importance of community service. I was in no way prepared for the vast impact it would truly have on my life. Fast forward to age 18, I became a small fish in a very large pond, desperately searching for my place. How was I going to make an impact on this community where I couldn’t even find the “Ugli,” an alleged library, let alone north campus? Luckily, my people found me.
The first thing you think when you see MUSIC Matters is not, “Wow, I wonder what community service this organization does!” I will admit – neither did I, but that changed second semester freshman year. My best friend, a current member of the club, who was aware of my graphic design background, convinced me to test some poster designs for SpringFest. I excitedly began my research into umichmusicmatters.com and as I read about their Social Ventures, I was stunned by the uncanny alignment between their mission and my passions. I found myself at the club mass meeting and had absolutely no idea the extraordinary impact that this organization and its service-based mission would have on me. From my first meeting, I completely immersed myself in MM through every possible opportunity, and quite literally jumped out of my seat at the chance to be a camp counselor at MOvE, our 3-day summer camp for freshmen and sophomores from the Henry Ford Academy.
Sophomore year moved me. There were lots of ups and quite a few downs. As planning drilled on through second semester, it seemed like MOvE was almost a larger figment of my imagination than the hopes of having a social life while being a STEM major. Despite everything, the day came. Standing with a camera in hand, I couldn’t tell if I was more nervous that all of my photos would be blurry or that the kids would think I was just the weirdo behind the lens. Contrary to my melodramatic concerns, peace rushed over me as the campers stepped off the bus with smiles widened beyond their dimples.
MOvE was a weekend full of laughter and inspiration – a very deep breath of fresh air. Each stride towards opening the minds of these high school students came with an astonishing lesson for myself. It’s an endless loop, like a game of tag when there are only two players left: when you change someone else’s life, they change yours right back.
When I think about what strums my heart strings, there’s many: music, dogs, the humane society commercials, the song Amazing Grace, watching my brother graduate, and even studying biochem for 80 hours straight. Whether it moves me to tears, laughter, sadness, pride, sleep, or peace, every minute of every day these things are constantly changing. To find something so pure that motivates you day in and day out, that is the dream.
What really moves me? The immense power we each have to impact one another’s lives. The power to unlock someone’s potential to move mountains and show her first hand, that she possesses the power to truly change the world. I didn’t just wake up one day at 10 years old and say, “I am going to change the world. The world as we know it will be exponentially better, because I am going to make it happen.” Well maybe I did at 12, but without that initial force, inspiration, an object at rest will stay at rest.
The incredible thing about life is that it’s constantly in motion. Striding forward, creeping backward, jogging in place. Moving us to tears, to laughter, to hope, and through the toughest of obstacles. Life doesn’t stop, so why should you? Let my words, and my experiences with the brightest of kids be your initial force. It’s easy to let the world move you, but the true test is for you to move the world. Are you up for the challenge?
The Impact of Movement
Noah is a junior studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He is Co-Head of the CoMMunity Partnership for MUSIC Matters.
When I joined MM as a freshman, I had no intention of becoming as involved as I am now. I had always enjoyed live music but had never tried to become involved with it in any way. The first time I ever interacted with MM was when I attended one of the annual “MUSIC Madness” events, where local artists compete for a spot to perform at SpringFest. After this event, I decided to attend a MM club-wide meeting to learn more about the organization, and after learning about all the philanthropic work that MUSIC Matters does, I knew I had to become involved.
The summer after my freshman year I had the opportunity to be a counselor for MM’s first Michigan Overnight Experience (MOvE) Camp. MOvE was created with the intention of helping high school students from the Detroit area strive for their best by demonstrating that higher education is not unattainable. Our camp curriculum consisted of guest lecturers, a campus tour, leadership workshops, workshops for admissions and financial aid, and of course, a Big House tour.
That first year, we gave 30 campers a glance at what the “college experience” would be like. I had no idea what to expect of the students we would be working with. After meeting and spending the weekend with them, I was blown away by the motivation they possessed. Even though many students came from families without college educations, they were not afraid to strive for huge aspirations. I was able to get pretty close with a student who had goals of being an architect in the future. After talking to him for a while, he showed me and some other counselors his full portfolio of sketches that he had brought with him—they were quite impressive! During MoVE, he even made a sketch of the bell tower after the campus tour for us counselors to keep. The undeniable passion he exerted when talking about becoming an architect convinced me that he would one day achieve his goal. He is just one example of the incredibly intelligent and driven students I was able to meet in my first year of MOvE. I think that sometimes, here at Michigan, we get so stuck in the routine of school work that we forget why we are doing what we are doing, or why we are even here in the first place. Engaging with students at MOvE reminds me of why I worked so hard to get where I am now and motivates me to keep setting bigger goals.
My experience in my first year at MOvE led me to pursue a position on the MM leadership team. Since then I have been able to work with many incredible student organizations on the U of M campus through our CoMMunity Partnership program. The CoMMunity Partnership started in 2017 with the goal of building lasting partnerships with other like-minded student organizations on campus and to increase the engagement of the MM member base with the Social Ventures aspect of our mission: using the power of music to unite the campus and promote educational accessibility within our community.
This year we chose one of our partners to be Heal-Move-Shift (HMS), a student organization with the mission to heal the community, move the conversation in a healthy direction, and shift the stigma away from pressing cardiovascular, nutritional, and mental health concerns. HMS achieves their mission by hosting wellness-based seminars at high schools in the Detroit and Ann Arbor communities. Through this partnership, I have had the opportunity to co-create three music-based wellness seminars with the HMS team. This has been an extremely rewarding project to work on, as I have always used music as my main form of expression. Despite my lack of musical talent, I have found so much joy in music, whether that be through sharing music with friends, creating playlists, or experiencing it live. Facilitating seminars with Heal-Move-Shift has allowed me to explore my own musical interests and engage others with theirs. In the last three years, I have learned so much about myself and the incredible Michigan community through my experience with MM. As I head into my final year of college, I look forward to building many more meaningful relationships with the MM team and the University community.