R. U. Detroit? Squash with a Purpose

What do HBS, squash and Detroit kids have in common? Not much.yet. But thanks to a successful kick-off event on April 21 at Middlesex Lounge, Racquet Up DETROIT will soon bring the three together in an exciting way.

In the midst of one of the busiest weeks of the year, HBS students came out to support the new non-profit organization I am starting in Detroit after graduation. The night was called “R.U. Detroit?” – a play on “Racquet Up DETROIT” – and by all measures it was a hit. With more than 75 people in attendance, it became clear to me that HBS students care deeply about doing good in addition to doing well.

Racquet Up DETROIT is an after-school youth development program that will work with inner-city public school students in Detroit, aiming to use the sport of squash, in combination with academic support and mentoring, to make a difference in kids’ lives. The program is modeled after Boston’s own SquashBusters, where I worked for six years before HBS.

The night was filled with Motown music, an array of random facts about Detroit and squash, and lots of good will. With HBS icon JJ Singh working the door, Yaw Boateng using his persuasive powers to hustle donations, and DJ DiDonna playing paparazzi, Section E ruled the night (yeah, E!). R.U. Detroit also managed to bring down barriers, with students from HLS, HKS, Harvard School of Public Health and MIT Sloan joining the party. We raised the roof, and a lot of money at the same time.

All told, we brought in $5,500 – more than enough to sponsor one student in the youth program for a full year. I am incredibly grateful for the overwhelming show of support. If you were unable to make it to the event and are interested in learning more or in donating to the cause, please email me at daguirre@mba2010.hbs.edu.

Racquet Up!

Derek Aguirre is a proud member of Section E (Old), a native Michigander, and despite an Achilles tendon injury, still a mean basketball player.ÿ He also enjoys coaching and eating squash.