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September 08, 1998 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

S mbols of
e V ast
a 4lfetime
ollowing a long family legacy of
Michigan alumni, I entered the
University with a less than enthu-
siastic outlook. My parents would
probably say this is an understatement.
I vowed never to own and much less
wear any Michigan paraphernalia. I
cringed each time my mother boasted
that she "bleeds maize and blue." I
pretended not to know the words to
"The Victors!" And I laughed as my
Dither, a recent University graduate,
adorned his car with a Michigan
license plate and his apartment with
an 'M' flag.
But now, two years into my college
career, I've come to accept the error of
my ways and learned being Blue isn't
all that bad.
In fact, it's great. It's what makes
the 'U' unique. The songs, the spirit,
j Wolverine rituals that are such an
nsic part of this college experience
separate us from our peer institutions.
The winged
u football helmet,
the rise of fists
trumpeting the
fight song, the
nostalgia con-
nected with the
movie "The Big
HEATHER Chill" and the
AMINS thundering roar
Wandid of 100,000 fans
Kamins together on
Saturdays are just
a few of the
emblems alumni proudly lay claim to,
asserting "that's just so Michigan."
I predict that soon you too, along
vith the largest living alumni of any
university in the nation, will share an
urge to spread Wolverine fever.
t's inescapable.
An 'M' flag hangs in almost every
sports bar in the nation - well, maybe
not in East Lansing, South Bend or
Columbus. All students know not to
step on the block 'M' in the Diag
before taking their first college exam.
Years after leaving the University,
many visiting alumni still refuse to
step near the sacred seal, as if it were
a pit of fire.
It's unavoidable.
*he first thing I saw when I stepped
off the plane in Istanbul last year dur-
ing a family trip was a teenager wear-
ing a Michigan shirt.
Now, I doubt he knew what the shirt
even said, but nonetheless it's there.
This quality, the hue of the 'U', is
represented most clearly in one place
- graduation. The conduct at the
University's commencement ceremony
y seem shocking to the outsider.
W t me explain. The school is unde-
niably one of the most academically
prestigious institutions in the nation,
heralded for its technical and medical
innovations, honored for its commit-
ment to liberal arts.
It is not considered a school that is
easy to get into or a four-year cake-
walk to a degree.
And any rites honoring the students
who made it in, passed exams, pulled
all-nighters, survived the academic
Aintlet of standardized tests, applica-
tions, registration, lectures, lab tests
and blue books should naturally do
that - honor them.
And the University does that, just

not in the manner expected.
. I've attended two University gradua-
tions and at first was turned off by the
lack of pomp and circumstance. In
movies, college graduations are often
icted with a distinct mix of solemni-
and piety, seeping of stoic tradition.
Here graduates are herded down the
mammoth Michigan Stadium steps.
Families are lucky if they happen to
spot their collegiate kin, as nearly
10,000 caps and gowns parade to the
bottom rows.
No individual names are announced,
no hands are shaken and no paper
diplomas are awarded. Graduates are
congratulated on their accomplishment
'arge packs. It's by no means inti-
te, but it is personal.
As soon as the graduates are recog-
nized, beach balls fly into the air,
champagne douses the crowd and the
pack begins its battle cry.
Storming into the song feared by
athletic rivals, enviously mocked by
other Big Ten schools and held as spir-
itual; by alums, it certainly is more
sjrited than the hymns the Harvard
ds are simultaneously divulging.
This is the Michigan identity, full of
its own quirks, from cheers to legends
to sneaking out in the middle of the
night to paint the Rock. We work hard,
we study hard, but we also know how
to play hard.
In the next four years, while learn-

able Sirbiotun Ia* li

NEW STUDENT EDITION

K)

I

I

sweet. c

ome

:lass?

WARREN ZINN/Daily
Students In the Lloyd Scholars program, a living-teaming program based In Alice Lloyd residence hall, attend classes In the same building where they sleep. While living-leaming programs attempt to make the
University a 'smaller' environment for participants, students are allowed to take courses outside of their living-leaming program as well.

Living-learning programs
diversify forms of education

By Susan T. Port
Daily Staff Reporter
Learning does not only occur in
the lecture halls of Angell Hall or the
auditoriums of the Modern
Language Building.
Outside the classroom, some stu-
dents from different racial and cul-
tural backgrounds are given the
opportunity to debate issues, eat, live
together and learn from each other.
"Students spend only a part of
hall their lives in class; living-learning
communities also attempt to intro-
duce students to a large University,"
said associate provost for academic
and multi-cultural affairs Lester
Monts.
Vice President of Student Affairs
Maureen Hartford said the commu-
nities' objective is to foster students
in the transition from high school to
the University.
"It tries to keep intellectual vigor
and interest of learning going out-
side the classroom," Hartford said.
Director of Housing Public Affairs
Alan Levy said the student programs
allow for easy exchange between
faculty and students.
"These programs are an effort to
create a smaller more intimate
opportunity for particularly new stu-
dents to realize the benefits of a
large mega University and a smaller
college setting," Levy said.

tion and, if approved, would almost dents app
double the number of living-learning commun
communities. The report consists of dence in
expanding the living-learning com- housing
munities to the majority of residence "strength
halls. included
"This proposal is more strategic," "There
Hartford said. "The programs here the progr
are all-encompassing." residence
The proposal was complied over a signingi
period of 18 months by a committee Levy sai
of 100 students, faculty and staff and are filled
is divided into two parts. Monts
The first describes the current liv- as chairo
ing-learning programs, including proposals
21st Century Program, "We a
Undergraduate Research can," hes
Opportunities Program and Women ommend
in Science and Engineering. fall.
The second part consists of pro- If appi
posals for the addition of new living- potential
learning programs including benefit a
Invention and Creativity, Society and Hartfo
Health, Science and Mathematics, "looked
Issues of Gender and Leadership and came up
Democracy and Diversity. should be
Hartford described the proposal as munities
"sweeping." Hartford added that stu- Thea
dents would not be obligated to par- commun
ticipate in them although the report op acad
encourages students to consider liv- groups th
ing-learning programs as an option. of thet
Levy said the proposal would Hartford;
allow all entering first-year students Three
to be given the opportunity to partic- similar
ipate in a living-learning program. Centuryl

plying for a living-learning
ity in order to gain resi-
to a specific residence hall,
administration has
hened the expectations
in the application."
is a concern that because
ams are attached to specific
e halls there are students
in for the wrong reasons,"
d. "Some of these programs
d to capacity."
said he has been appointed
of a committee to review the
s.
re working as fast as we
said, adding that a set of rec-
ations will be ready by the
roved, the proposal "has the
to provide opportunity to
ll students," Monts said.
rd said the committee
at what worked well and
with common things that
e in all living-learning com-
additional living-learning
ities are intended "to devel-
emic and cognitive interest
hat would cut down the size
University of Michigan,"
said.
programs that began from
proposals include 21st
Program in 1991, WISE in

so , 1-1.11, Oir- - -1

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