The best things in life are often the little things. Bike riding on a sunny fall day. Seeing the people in your community. Enjoying nature.
Chancellor Domenico Grasso and Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud are putting these three activities together and inviting everyone to join them next week as they ride through campus and around the west Dearborn downtown area from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 29. Bring your bike or your walking shoes to join the Town and Gown Bike Ride; participants will meet in campus’ Lot F, located behind the Fieldhouse. There’s a 10K (6.2 mile) loop for bikers or a 5K (3.1 mile) walking loop for those who prefer to travel on foot.
“I hope this ride illustrates how we are all part of one fantastic community. We want the public to visit and use the resources on our campus and we want our students to know just how easy it is to explore Dearborn,” said Grasso, who often rides his blue (obviously) bike to campus. “UM-Dearborn and the City of Dearborn have a great relationship and we're working together to build an even stronger future.
Chatting with Grasso about the ride recently, he shared his love of cycling, campus and the city. Here’s what he had to say.
The Reporter: Before we get started, do you have any great cycling experiences that you’d share?
Domenico Grasso: “I’ve done a lot of cycling and often commute by bike to campus. There’s a lot of beauty to see with the seasonal changes. But if I had to pick a favorite experience, I’d have to say cycling through Puglia, Italy, with my wife Susan and our children. We rode our bikes into the hometown of my mother (Vieste). That was a very powerful moment for me.”
R: Seeing the leaves change color is definitely a perk of fall bike riding. Other than the scenery, why should people come?
DG: “This is a great opportunity for our campus community to interact with those who live and work in Dearborn. We are going to explore some of the beautiful riding trails around campus and show everyone how easy it is to travel between UM-Dearborn and West Downtown. It's a perfect way for our students and faculty to learn more about the city and will give city residents a chance to see and learn about what's happening at our university.”
R: Why did you and Mayor Hammoud want to host this event together?
DG: “We are showing how integrated UM-Dearborn is to the city we call home. We want to demonstrate that UM-Dearborn and the city are partners who enhance each other. Mayor Hammoud is one of our outstanding alumni. He was recently named to Crain's 40 under 40 and epitomizes our deep connection with the City of Dearborn.
The City of Dearborn and UM-Dearborn have a symbiotic relationship. As Mayor Hammoud mentioned in last spring's commencement address, we can be rooted in something larger than ourselves and still make a difference locally. That's how our university operates. We not only see this whenever we meet alumni throughout town, but also when students, faculty and staff participate in some of our great campus traditions like the MLK Day of Service. Having an even stronger relationship between our campus and the greater Dearborn community benefits everyone.”
R: For people who are interested, but can’t make it to the event, what else can they do on campus?
DG: “One of the best kept secrets in Dearborn is the beauty of our campus and we have several resources that are free and open to the public to enjoy, including the Environmental Interpretive Center , the UM-Dearborn Observatory, Mardigian Library and Stamelos Gallery. You can spend the morning shopping and dining at our city's great stores and restaurants and then come to visit campus to hike, see art or explore the universe.
The next UM-Dearborn Observatory public night is tomorrow (Sept. 23). Guided by faculty and staff, you will use telescopes and see what’s happening in the night sky. The EIC, which is open from sunrise to sunset, offers some of the best hiking trails in metropolitan Detroit and anyone can use them. Our campus’ Stamelos Gallery can be found on the first floor of the library and recently opened a new exhibit of works by Detroit artist David Rubello, who has had a six-decade long career and had a mural up for more than 40 years on Detroit’s Julian C. Madison Building. He and his colorful works are remarkable.
When you get a chance, we invite you to explore campus. We are here for the community’s benefit and want you to enjoy what UM-Dearborn has to offer.”
Thanks to everyone who helped organize the event, including the Office of the Chancellor, Susan Grasso, Dean of Students, Office of Student Life, External Relations, Institutional Advancement, University Unions and Events, Business Affairs, Athletics and community partner Bike Dearborn.