Representatives from the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Tigers convened on campus Friday for “Perspective Detroit,” an event aimed at changed perceptions about the city.

Sponsored by the Central Student Government’s Commission on Detroit Engagement, the event featured discussion of several businesses and organizations growing their presence in Detroit.

LSA freshman Rohin Patel, the commission’s chair, said the idea for the event after hearing how people reacted to his working in the city.

“People were pretty surprised at the fact that I did work in Detroit because they thought it was too dangerous and things like that,” Patel said. “That kind of got me thinking that a lot of students at the University don’t necessarily know about the opportunities in the city and it would be great to hold an event that raises awareness about them.”

The event featured speakers from the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, Fox Sports Detroit and the financial media company Benzinga. Before LSA freshman Dylan Bennett introduced the speakers, he discussed several challenges facing the city, including crime, aging infrastructure, inadequate transit and blight.

Bennett explained how in the mid-2000s, as Detroit lost money, the police department lost resources and crime rose. At its worst, police were solving only 8.7 percent of Detroit’s crimes. This, in part, was due to a lack of police cruisers and their response time being a full hour.

Bennett also mentioned The Detroit Connector, the bus route that runs from the Ann Arbor to Detroit in an effort to better connect the two cities.

“This is revolutionizing the relationship the University of Michigan has with the city of Detroit,” Bennett said.

During the event, the panelists discussed how they believed their companies were contributing to Detroit’s revival.

“The Tigers are a vital part of the center of Detroit,” Ron Wade, director of marketing for the Detroit Tigers, said. “Sports tends to be the one thing that unites various parts of the city and suburbs, and the Tigers have a big role in that.”

Nick Bartolone, senior director of advertisement for the Detroit Pistons, explained why the team’s special Sunday jerseys sport “Motor City.”

“The league launched this initiative to have this ‘pride jersey,’ ” he said. “What’s more prideful for us than Motor City, right?”

Lauren Pober, director of marketing at Fox Sports Detroit, said by talking about Detroit on the air during sports games, the company generates business interest in the city from listeners.

The only speaker not involved in sports was Jason Raznick, the CEO of Benzinga, a financial media company. The company is currently based out of Southfield, but is in the process of relocating to Detroit.

When asked why he is moving his company, Raznick explained that he believes in Detroit.

“Detroit started this big national resonance turnaround story,” Raznick said. “People like turnaround stories. They like comebacks. People want to be a part of something bigger than just a little company.”

Bennett said he believes the University can be an important partner for revitalization efforts in the city.

“The University of Michigan, with its abundance of resources and world-class account, has the opportunity to have a huge role in the development and restructuring of a great American city that’s 40 minutes away,” Bennett said. “That’s an opportunity that no other university has, and it’s one that we really can’t afford to give up.”

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