Degree from Michigan: A.B. in Sociology (Honors) with a focus in Law, Justice, and Social Change
Current location: Detroit, MI
Year graduated: 2017
Student Organization Involvement: Central Student Government and Hillel.
Noah Betman participated U-M’s Development Summer Internship Program (D-SIP) this summer. D-SIP is a twelve-week internship program that gives University of Michigan undergraduates the opportunity to work with top fundraising professionals and attend a three-credit philanthropy course taught by U-M faculty. After Noah’s internship experience with LSA Advancement, he is now working as an education justice fellow at Repair the World in Detroit.
AH: Tell me about your D-SIP experience this summer. What project were you working on with the College of LSA?
NB: Overall, my experience with D-SIP was really positive and enlightening. It was a great look at a vital and little understood part of the University of Michigan. The format of the program is great because you get a good sense of what it’s like to work at the University. I loved LSA and the office because the people I worked with cared about their work and the team as a whole. The LSA Advancement community was really friendly and was a good place to walk into in the morning (even before coffee).
The Friday classes through D-SIP had a great cohort of 27 people, where we spent half the day attending classes on philanthropy in higher education. It was very interesting getting a look at the mechanics of it all. We heard from a lot of great speakers including major gift officers from the university, donors to the university, and people involved in philanthropy around the community. The other half of the day was really heavy professional development. This portion wasn’t just professional training, but it was also learning about unconscious bias in the workplace and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The program was a lot of work, but it was a very good experience and a nice way to end my time in Ann Arbor.
The project I was working on was with the LSA Young Alumni Council (YAC). My job was to audit the program and interview council members and any other people involved in the council. I would ask them questions around ways they were involved in the council, what they thought about the council, and ways they wanted to be involved in the future. The second part of the job was talking to other universities and comparing their young alumni programs to ours. I also crafted a survey that was sent out to every council member to gather their feedback in a quantifiable way. The really cool part was that the data gathered will be helpful not only now, but also in the future when the council looks back on how they’ve changed over time.
AH: Where do you hope to see the YAC Council in the next 10 years?
NB: I see the council having more connection between the regional councils. I believe this is an area that is underutilized. There are so many people involved that care about the university, but haven’t made the connection to other councils. I’m not sure if I see a ton more councils existing in the future since the goal isn’t to have a council in every city in the country. Increasing the level of communication and collaboration between councils is the biggest goal.
AH: What would you say to people who aren’t sure if the young alumni council is right for them?
NB: It’s a great way to connect with people who have passions that overlap with yours. You all care about the university and watching students succeed in their internships and their futures. Get settled and really establish yourself. I think the council is a great opportunity to connect with your fellow Wolverines.
AH: What were your favorite and least favorite aspects of your internship?
Favorite: The willingness of the team to work with me and to help get the job done.
Least: Feeling at times that a lot of the changes I was seeking to make were longer term. I sometimes thought that the work I was doing wasn’t going to make an immediate difference.
AH: What have you been up to since your internship ended?
NB: I’m doing a program called Repair the World, which is a fellowship and service year. I’m an education justice fellow working with local nonprofits like All Saints Literacy Center and Brilliant Detroit to build their capacity for recruiting volunteers to their organizations. I’m also helping with some development work as needed. Additionally, I’m working with the Jewish community to encourage volunteer work and engagement with the Detroit community.