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AO in the D- Getting out in the Community

May 22, 2012

Last Fall, Alpha Omega dental students from UofM and UDM volunteered along with alumni member dentists for their first “AO in the D” volunteer experience.  The event was located in Brightmoor, a community in the northwest corner of Detroit that has attracted attention for its unique methods of revitalizing the city.  The morning of the event, local activist Riet Schumack guided AOers past abandoned houses as well as plots that had been transformed into community gardens, outdoor performance centers, playgrounds and nature trails.  Although the number of residents has declined, there is hope that the area will rebound through the efforts of neighbors and volunteers.  After the tour, Alpha Omega fratters began renovating an abandoned house that residents plan to turn into a place for students to stay.  The volunteers spruced up the landscaping, painted a room, and demolished a wall to create a common space inside the house.  They made great progress in transforming the house and hopefully volunteers from other organizations will continue the project. The event turned out to be more than a volunteer project as everyone left with a greater understanding of the city and the community activism within it.  There is talk about making “AO in the D” an annual event.  In a year, it will be exciting to see how the Brightmoor community will finish renovating the house, as well as to see the progress in the rest of the neighborhood.

If you’re interested in learning more about activism in Brightmoor, you can check out their Facebook page: “Neighbors Building Brightmoor and the Brightmoor Farmway”.

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Alpha Omega (AO) is an international dental organization, founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1907 by a group of dental students.  AO is an educational and philanthropic organization that takes pride in its alumni-student relations.  Activities include pre-clinic help sessions, community outreach projects, social outings, and events with alumni and faculty.  AO membership is open to all dental students!

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