Lansing is a really cool community that is worth showing off to college students and young professionals.
It just took me a while to figure out how to do it effectively.
The first time I thought about creating a program that helped connect young people to the “cool” things in Lansing was nearly three years ago. I had recently bought a house and moved to Lansing from West Michigan with my wife and newborn daughter. I was wondering about fun cultural attractions to visit or dynamic outdoor activities to take part in. Coincidentally, in my position at MSU, I was entertaining those same questions from the college students I was helping land internships in the region. I slowly realized that many of the young people in the area knew very little about all of the awesome things happening in our community. They didn’t (yet) know why the Lansing region is a perfect place in which to live, work, and play.
I decided I wanted to change that.
In the summer of 2015, I attended a Grand River Connections breakfast panel comprised of many of Lansing’s leaders, including the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and then East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett. The interactive panel discussion centered around the critically important challenge of retaining and attracting talent. Soon after, I met with many of the community’s top influencers to share my ideas for a summer initiative designed to connect college interns with quality of life opportunities in the Lansing region. Everyone liked the idea. City officials were very supportive. But no one had the time to champion it and shepherd the ideas into fruition.
In the fall of 2015, I convened a meeting attended by many of the region's ambitious and talented young professionals. Attendees represented many of the organizations in the region with a vested interest in Lansing’s revitalization, like LEAP, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Grand River Connection, and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, among others. I pitched my ideas and we discussed how Lansing is a city that stays alive after 5. I made my case for why greater Lansing was worth showing off to others.
And that’s when Lansing 5:01 was born.
Today, Lansing 5:01 is led by an ambitious group of young professional volunteers who are passionate about our city. In its simplest form, our mission is to attract and retain top talent in the community. Our vision? Be the go-to resource for young people wanting the latest information on cultural events, recreational opportunities, residential amenities, and nightlife in the Lansing region. Our vehicle for sharing Lansing’s awesomeness? A regional quality of life marketing strategy via social media and three events in downtown Lansing during summer 2016 exclusively designed for college students participating in local internships.
Lansing 5:01 launches this summer with our kick-off event on Tuesday, June 14th next to the Lansing City Market along the riverfront in the epicenter of downtown. There will be a food truck rally, an outdoor farmers market, public art installations, nighttime kayak rides, and an evening concert headlined by a band with local roots and national acclaim. The two events that follow -- scheduled for June 30 and July 26, respectively -- partner with dynamic programs already taking place. The June 30th event will feature presentations about the active entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region and a business pitch competition at the Lansing Brewing Company. Our closing event on July 26 will take place at Troppo where interns will network with area executives and listen to a panel of young professionals from the GRC to discuss all of the great things the Lansing region has to offer a recent college graduate.
Of course, this program wouldn’t be possible without the support of many of the region’s prominent companies and organizations. The financial support from our employer partners ensures that young people can attend all of our events without paying a dime. And if you’re a local employer that wants to be able to send your interns to our events, contact us.
The narrative about Lansing is changing. The secret is out. People recognize that Lansing is a vibrant community with dynamic parks and a nationally-renowned river trail system. Local breweries and craft distilleries are popping up across the region. Urban lofts and apartments are reconstructing the city’s skyline. Music festivals and public art projects are everywhere.
Lansing is a community worth showing off to others.
It’s time we start doing it. See you on June 14th!
And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The 5:01 is looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences on the benefits of living, working and playing in the greater Lansing area.