The Detroit Project, a campus community service organization, has changed its name to The Detroit Partnership in an effort to demonstrate a more reciprocal relationship between its volunteers and the Detroit organizations it benefits.

The name change shows an attempt to address criticisms of similar urban renewal projects that are often seen as patronizing toward the residents of the cities involved.

“We do not do charity,” said LSA senior Michael O’Brien, the group’s spokesman. “Instead, we view ourselves as in a relationship with Detroit organizations and often work with them to lend a hand in ways possible to help. We hope, that in the end, both parties acquire valuable experiences.”

The student group voted on the change Wednesday by a two-thirds majority vote of its roughly 50 core members.

The group works with 21 schools, community centers, churches and nonprofit organizations in Detroit on various projects like tutoring or cleaning up parks.

Although name changes have been discussed in the past, two planning committee members formally submitted the proposal earlier this month, said LSA senior Tom Szczesny, the group’s executive director.

The change will be officially announced at DP Day, the group’s most visible event, on March 29.

DP Day is a one-day volunteer event in which University students travel to some of Detroit’s most dilapidated areas and work in teams at about 50 different sites to help to clean up the city by doing things like tearing down abandoned houses or painting murals.

On average, about 1,000 students participate in the event each year.

Throughout the year, about 150 members also volunteer at Detroit schools and community centers on a weekly basis, Szczesny said.

Szczesny, the group’s executive director, said the name change will more accurately reflect the group’s mission.

“It emphasizes the relationships that we have developed in the city and the amount of collaboration we have with our community partners,” he said. “We think that ‘partnership’ better conveys that message.”

– Sutha K. Kanagasingam contributed to this report.

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