Ever wonder if students' voices are heard at U-M?
Recently, the U-M Board of Regents approved plans for renovation of the Michigan Union, and students have helped drive the planning process.
The Michigan Union Board of Representatives (MUBR) and the student organization Building a Better Michigan (BBM) were instrumental in gaining student support and successfully advocating for improvements to the Union.
Jason Comstock, co-president of BBM, recently delivered a speech to U-M President Mark Schlissel and the Regents to raise awareness about needed renovations. “We provided input to the architects and designers on what students would like to see changed in this project. We also toured the unions at Ohio State and Cincinnati to identify features of their buildings that we can incorporate into our own renovation,” he said.
The Union was founded by students and has always been a central location for student involvement, activism, and social structure, he says. Thus the renovation design continues the time-honored tradition of students being at the heart of the Union.
“This renovation will bring the iconic building back to life and make the students excited about their Union again,” Comstock explains. “My parents are Michigan alums and they have always been proud of their Union building. After the renovation, I hope to boast the same pride of the Union as my parents did when they attended this great University.”
Helen He, MUBR chair, agrees. “Student input is critical to the Michigan Union renovation process. Thousands of students walk into the Union each day and their activity is what makes the Union thrive. Students provide a fresh and necessary perspective to the renovations and we hope that the end results will reflect what students have voiced,” she says.
Planned improvements include:
- Greater accessibility and inclusiveness for all individuals
- Enhanced social space on the main level by enclosing the courtyard for year-round use and expanding the existing Willis Ward lounge
- Restoration of architecturally significant portions of the building, including the original windows
- State-of-the-art student organizational space featuring an IdeaHub -- a location for student organizations, student leaders, and others to find their passion and hone their leadership skills
- Thoughtful re-zoning of the functions housed in the building to better serve student and community needs
The Michigan Union was built in 1919, and many systems will be updated, including:
- Safety, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing improvements
- Elevator replacement and upgrades
- Roof replacement
- Window restoration and replacement
Groundbreaking on the project is anticipated in spring 2018, with expected completion in winter 2020. For more information, visit Re:Union.
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