I grew up in Williamston, Michigan, just 20 miles east of the capital city. My parents still live there, actually. They’re both Michigan State University alumni, so naturally, I remember periodically making the trip to MSU’s campus to feed the ducks on the Red Cedar River. But rarely did we venture farther west than that. My experience with Lansing was limited at best. After graduating from Williamston High School, I flew away to Kalamazoo, and I didn’t really have intentions of ever coming back.
After living in southwest Michigan off and on for nearly 10 years, as well as a three month stint in southern Indiana, my wife and I found ourselves buying a home in Lansing. I got a new job in the region. And I quickly realized I knew very little about my own zip code.
I set out to learn about my city. I joined non-profit boards and volunteered for local organizations. I looked for cultural attractions. I was hoping to discover a charming city with decent appeal. My expectations were shattered in the best possible way.
I discovered a moderately-sized downtown with a big city feel and small town charm. Vibrant culture. Wide spectrum of opportunities for nightlife and entertainment. Wonderful schools. Robust scene for young professionals. A state capitol building only 3 miles from one of the world’s largest research universities.
How had I gone this long without knowing Lansing’s tremendous value?
That’s when I realized we had to do a better job of sharing Lansing’s story. And I wanted to be a part of it. I convened a group of young professionals – all of whom cared about our community and wanted to make a difference – in fall of 2015. That’s when Lansing 5:01 was born. Since then, our organization has welcomed nearly 2,000 college interns and young professionals to our unique events that illustrate all of the different ways Lansing is transforming into a go-to destination city.
And that’s another reason why Lansing is incredible. You can have an idea for creating positive change in your community, and within weeks, you can be meeting with the mayor and Lansing Chamber president, discussing details for how to bring your plan to fruition.
Our next event, called Capital Comeback (aptly so, right?), is scheduled for Thanksgiving Eve (November 22) from 6 pm – 8 pm at The View inside Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing’s Stadium District. In a FREE casual happy hour setting, Capital Comeback connects former Michiganders, out-of-town college graduates, and job seekers with local employers and community organizations. Attendees will learn about the urban lofts and apartments that are reshaping the cityscape, the breweries and distilleries popping up around town, and the abundance of kayakers and recreation enthusiasts taking advantage of Lansing’s nationally-renowned regional trail system.
Representatives from premier employers like MSU Federal Credit Union, Sparrow Health, TechSmith (and more!) will be there to talk to participants about career opportunities.
If you or someone you know might be interested in attending Capital Comeback, you can learn more and register HERE. Tell your friends. Tell your sons or daughters. We look forward to welcoming them on November 22 in the heart of downtown Lansing.
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.