Social Impact Internships: Harrison Coleman (’26)
My name is Harrison Coleman and I’m a rising Sophomore at MIT from Birmingham, AL. This
summer I worked as a Social Impact Intern for the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office,
specifically as a Resilience and Sustainability Intern in the new Department of Resilience and
In Birmingham’s core, where history’s ink stains,
Resilience thrives amid former industry’s chains.
Amongst steel and concrete, it finds its own grace,
A city that stands tall, with a storied embrace.
Once marked by iron, by coal, and by steel,
Birmingham’s tale, it’s surreal and real.
From iron’s rough grip to progress’s bright day,
Through trials and triumphs, it’s found its own way.
Sustainability’s the aim, a vision so bold,
To honor its past, where legends were told.
In places once tainted, green sprouts now grow,
As Birmingham shapes a future that aglow.
Recycling, clean energy, a modern frontier,
Birmingham’s leading, its path ever clear.
From ashes of history, it rises once more,
Toward a sustainable future, rich to explore.
The Cahaba’s sweet waters, the forests that stand,
Birmingham’s treasures, on its sacred land.
Resilience and history, side by side,
This city redefines its future with pride.
From civil rights marches to songs in the street,
Birmingham’s legacy, its triumphs are sweet.
A city that’s weathered the storms of the past,
Now carving a future that will forever last.
Poetry serves as an exceptional medium to convey the essence of Birmingham, including
its history, resilience, and sustainability. The conciseness of poetry allows for the distillation of
complex ideas and emotions into compact verses. Moreover, poetry enables the reader to
experience some of my senses and emotions towards my hometown.
This summer, I had the opportunity to engage in meaningful work, which involved tasks
such as laying the groundwork for an interdepartmental sustainability group, creating greenhouse gas inventories, performing data analysis, and researching sustainability practices for
Birmingham. One aspect I particularly cherished about my experience was witnessing the impact
of my work.
My poem serves as a powerful reflection of my personal journey and connection to my
city. It encapsulates the resilience ingrained in Birmingham’s history and its ongoing
commitment to sustainability. It stands as a symbol of my pride in my hometown, as well as a
representation of Birmingham City Government’s mission.