Renovated Michigan Union is open

The Michigan Union is open! Your student will find a warm, welcoming home for study, gathering with friends and creating. 

After a 20-month closure to accommodate an $85.2 million renovation, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and guests walked through the doors of the refreshed and upgraded Michigan Union on January 13 for a reopening celebration. 

“From the input of the earliest student committees to the contractors and construction crews to the staff who smoothly transitioned the space, it was a community effort with results we will cherish for years to come,” said Susan Pile, senior director of University Unions and Auxiliary Services. “The Michigan Union endures as the heart of campus; it will once again be the place for social and cultural connections and as a laboratory of citizenship where students learn social responsibility and leadership. This renovation enables the Michigan Union to inspire future generations of Michigan students who will challenge the present and enrich the future.”

Central to the renovation is the new IdeaHub. 

Located on the second floor of the Union, the IdeaHub wraps around a newly enclosed courtyard on the first level. This design recalls the way the historic balcony originally overlooked the courtyard. This inclusive space for student organizations and activities aims to be a welcoming and encouraging environment for people from different interests, disciplines, faiths, and ethnicities.

“The IdeaHub is a co-working space for student organizations that physically and visually connects to the social spaces on the main level of the Union. It will provide a highly visible and vibrant forum to support student organizations and foster involvement, collaboration, creativity and debate,” explained Amy White, director of the Michigan Union and associate director of University Unions.

The IdeaHub also helps provide functional working space for ALL student organizations.

“There are 1400 student organizations on campus, but fewer than 100 had office spaces in University Unions buildings. Students were looking for a way to serve all organizations and the IdeaHub opens that space for collective use,” White said.

Among the specific IdeaHub features being used by U-M’s student organizations are:

  • Flexible meeting and gathering spaces
  • Resources (including organization advising and leadership development programs)
  • Collaborative cubicles and write-able surfaces
  • A creative room to paint and create projects
  • Lockers for short-term storage
  • Additional lower level storage for less-used items

The renovation included significant infrastructure and technology upgrades, enhanced program and social space, state-of-the-art student organization space, and deep infrastructure renewal including life safety, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing system improvements.

Diversity and inclusion as well as energy efficiency and sustainability were key focuses in much of the renovation.

President Mark S. Schlissel said,  “It is my hope that the Union encourages students from all different backgrounds and academic disciplines to interact – and take advantage of the breadth of diversity of our great university. There’s no place like this on our campus. I’m also proud that energy efficiency and sustainability were a major focus of the project.” 

The Michigan Union’s North Entrance also was redesigned to become a more welcoming, open and light-infused entrance with an enclosed ramp.

Regent Ron Weiser, from Ann Arbor, chair of the Board of Regents, commented on this aspect of the renovation.

“Today, we celebrate the students that have been central to every aspect of this renovation. Bringing together innovation, diversity, accessibility and interaction to create a space that both meets the needs of current and future students and honors the historic architectural integrity of the Union,” Regent Weiser said.  “This new design exemplifies Michigan’s commitment to its students. We believe its accessibility and wonderful design and amenities will bring people together and stimulate further collaboration between diverse communities and individuals.”

For more information on the Union renovation,  visit

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