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January 27, 2014 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-27

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, January 27, 2014 - 9A


Extra payments from
'U' to A2 could receive
further consideration


Master Wasentha Young, a paractitioner of the martial art of tai-chi since 1969, led a workshop at the 2014 Asian
American Health Fair in the Medical Science Building 11 on Saturday.
'U' research cluster gets
low rank i n produci ng
start-ups, patented tech

Research alliance
noted for talent
research spending
Deputy Magazine Editor
With recent entrepreneur-
ship-focused events like the
startup career fair and MHacks
fresh in the minds of many stu-
dents, it might seem that stu-
dent-created tech and business
ventures are everywhere at the
But a recent report conducted
by East Lansing-based Ander-
son Economic Group found that
the University Research Corri-
dor, a research alliance between
the University, Michigan State
University and Wayne State
University, may need to place
more emphasis on entrepre-
neurship for the URC to remain
competitive with the seven
other major university research
clusters ranked in the study.
According to the study,
which was conducted over a
five-year period that ended in
2012, though the URC granted
more degrees than any of the
other clusters, it placed last in
tech transfer and next-to-last in
launching startups. The Univer-
sity was responsible for 11 of the
14 startups created in the URC
during the study's five-year
period, while MSU was respon-
sible for the other three.
However, the URC had a
strong showing in other catego-
ries against the other clusters,
which included North Caro-
lina's Research Triangle Park,
California's two Innovation
Hubs and Massachusetts' Route
128 Corridor. In fact, the URC
placed first in talent produc-
tion and fourth in research and
development spending.
What the University may lack
in startup quantity, it makes up
for in quality, according Tom
Frank, the executive director
of the University's Center for
From Page 2A
of the Board of Regents, said the
search was more intense and more
involved than any of the previous
two presidential searches that she
participated in.
However, she said this was the
first search in which the regents
were involved in the entirety ofthe
search, rather than simply voting
from a selection of finalists pre-
sented bythe search committee.
Since the regents decided to
participate in the whole search
process this time around, Newman
said the search committee was
confined to faculty to prevent the
group from becomingtoo large.
Multiple forums were held in
September and October and many
students and faculty spoke before
members of the search committee
aboutwhattheyhoped to see inthe
next president.
LSA freshman Benjamin Cher
spoke at the Sept. 27 forum about
the need for a new president to

Entrepreneurship. He added
that when it comes to talent, the
University can't be beat.
Frank cited Rapt.fm, which
encourages freestyle rap and
one-on-one rap battles with
people from all over the world,
and A2B Bike Share as examples
of the high-caliber startups cre-
ated by University students.
"One of the reasons I came
here from California is because
I've never seen this confluence
of factors that make Michigan
feel like it's just ripped wide-
open in terms of output of scal-
able, viable businesses," Frank
said of the combination of
resources available and student
The startups indicative of the
success of the creators, in addi-
tion to employing other students
and picking up venture capital
and other external funding.
These factors, combined with
the "cutting edge" programs
being developed by administra-
tors, indicate that University
students will continue to be at
the top of the business heap,
according to Frank.
"Long-term viability is ulti-
mately what's going to add the
greatest value to the Michi-
gan ecosystem and create
jobs here and sustainability,"
Frank said. "It's not always
important to say I had 25 con-
testants that entered the mar-
athon; I'd like to have the top
five finishers."
Ken Nisbet, associate vice
president for research at the
University's Technology Trans-
fer Office, said the URC report
was less indicative of the Uni-
versity's overall standing than
it was of the need to continue to
improve resources in the state of
While the University receives
the most research funding of
any institution in the state, part
of the URC mission is to engen-
der communication between the
three coordinating units and
to share the best practices and
talent resources to improve the
economy in the region.
allocate resources to various
departments more efficiently,
though he said he was appreciative
of the opportunitygiven to him.
"There were some speakers
at the forum who went up to the
microphone and said 'I do not
wish to thank you for the right to
speak because I know I have the
right to speak and I should expect
this' - and I think that's the wrong
attitude," Cher said in a Friday
interview. "I am grateful for the
fact that this exists and that some-
one like me is able to express their
Without a student on the search
committee, CSG posed a six-ques-
tion survey to students in mid-
September to garner a sense of
what students hoped to see in the
"We might have incidentally set
a new precedent throughout presi-
dential searches," Proppe said.
"We were able to collect feedback
from hundreds of students, actual-
ly about a thousand students about
what the students wanted in the
next president."

"We have a number of suc-
cess stories out of the University
of Michigan startups that are
known nationally," Nisbet said.
"We are definitely not under-
performing relative to those
other states."
According to a 2013 survey,
URC alumni "had started or
acquired businesses at double
the national average rate among
college graduates since 1996 and
were 1.5 times as successful as
the average U.S. business owner
at keeping those startups and
acquisitions alive in the previ-
ous five years."
Still, there's room for
improvement. Engineering
junior Christopher O'Neil, pres-
ident of MPowered - a student
organization that fosters entre-
preneurship within the campus
community - said the Univer-
sity could work on increasing
its interdisciplinary approach
to startup creation in order to
maximize student potential.
O'Neil said it would be ben-
eficial if the University offered
more project-based undergrad-
uate classes that mix Business,
Engineering and Art & Design
students who are all focused on
creating something together.
"One of the problems with
Michigan is that it's super
decentralized," O'Neil said. "I
think it'd be a lot easier for peo-
ple to start companies if they
didn't have to go search for the
designer, search for the engi-
neer, search for the business
He added that the University
is on an "upward slope of entre-
preneurship," and will continue
to improve its resources and
programs for students interest-
ed in starting their own compa-
O'Neil said the best is yet to
come from University students.
"Even in the time I've been
here, I can say 100-percent that
the culture and mindset has
changed at this University. The
mindset is there. Now we just
need to churn out some better
In an interview Sunday, Schlis-
sel outlined the chronology of
the search process, which for
him began in October and lasted
through much of the fall.
Schlissel first met the search
committee in New York City,
where he sat at the head of a long
wooden table and answered ques-
tions from the regents and com-
mittee members.
"After a few minutes, it stopped
being an interview and felt like a
conversation between colleagues,"
Schlissel said.
The second meeting also
occurred in New York City, where
Schlissel met with small sub-
groups of search committee mem-
After the second interview,
Schlissel made his first visit to Ann
Arbor in late November where he
toured campus before having din-
ner that evening at Regent Denise
Ilitch's home.
"It was very conversational.
They were probing the way I
thought about various issues,"
Schlissel said.

dent s
the ni
the to
sity si
of ta
with t
city n
a prog
sity w
city to
the m
yet to
any of
give t
gan th
can to
city o
can fi
va saii

ty officials say large proportion of the student
population - giving part of
land purchases their tuition to the city while
they are already paying their
rease municipal own property taxes through
rent payments seems unfair.
tax revenue Two other concerns sur-
rounding the implementation
By EMMA KERR of such a program are that its
Daily StaffReporter revenue potential can be lim-
ited and unreliable, and that
h a new Ann Arbor it could force the University
r and University presi- to raise tuition, cut services
set to take office within or reduce employment to com-
ext year, discussion will pensate for the potentially mil-
be sparked by a major lions of dollars this program
of the University and Ann would drain from the Univer-
: land. sity.
the University buys up Councilmember Christo-
rties and takes them off pher Taylor (D-Ward 3) said he
ax rolls, some city offi- supports a PILOT program in
argue that the Univer- Ann Arbor and thinks it would
hould offset some of the be in the best interest of stu-
rty taxes lost due to the dents and Ann Arbor citizens
l's public status. alike.
ile the adoption of a "I believe that the city
T - or payment in lieu should do all it can to preserve
xes program - never its tax base," Taylor said. "As
d substantial traction, to a PILOT, I would love to see
:he appointment of a new the University provide a pay-
rsity president and the ment in lieu of taxes to the city
aching election of a new of Ann Arbor, other universi-
nayor, discussion of such ties throughout the country do
ram might not be too far so, and it strikes me as appro-
priate and reasonable."
h the adoption of a Councilmember Stephen
T program, the Univer- Kunselman (D-Ward 3) said
ould siphon funds to the the University's expansion will
make up for lost tax rev- be the key issue in city-Univer-
sity relations over the next few
Kosteva, the Univer- years. He said he is looking for-
director of community ward to new efforts of collabo-
ons, cautioned against ration between the city and the
aeasure - one that has University as well as a serious
be formally proposed by discussion of the PILOT pro-
the members of the Ann gram or other potential solu-
City Council. tions for the ever-expanding
udents do not give the University.
rsity of Michigan their "The problem with that
n dollars and taxpayers whole effort is that the state
across the state do not institution is for the public
he University of Michi- good - but what are we really
ieir tax dollars just so we dealing with?" Kunselman
rn that money over to the said. "We're dealing with U of
f Ann Arbor so that they M athletics. How is U of M ath-
x their pot holes," Koste- letics a public good? It's part
d. of the University of Michigan
teva also said for stu- but it is also a huge enterprise.
living off campus - a That's where I think it starts

making it a different issue. I
think that's when it certainly
needs to be discussed."
However, some council
members doubt the possibility
of a PILOT program ever being
City Councilmember Sally
Hart Petersen (D-Ward 2) said
the program is not practical.
"In order for the University
and the city to work collabora-
tively, we need to begin work-
ing more outside of the box,
while others argue that not
wanting to act in a way that
- to some city council mem-
bers - is responsible demon-
strates a lack of concern for
the University," Petersen said.
"However, both city and Uni-
versity officials have said that
they share similar interests in
the city."
Michigan State University
has an agreement with the city
of East Lansing that does not
include any form of reimburse-
ment of taxes, and at this time
a PILOT program is not under
However, Yale University
recently increased its PILOT
payments to the city of New
Haven from $1.2 million to $7.5
A study by the Lincoln Insti-
tute of Land Policy found that
though such programs can
provide much-needed revenue
for cities and towns, the down-
sides are also numerous.
"PILOTs can provide crucial
revenue for certain munici-
palities, and are one way to
make nonprofits pay for the
public services they consume,"
the report stated. "However,
PILOTs are often haphazard,
secretive, and calculated in
an ad hoc manner that results
in widely varying payments
among similar nonprofits.
In addition, a municipality's
attempt to collect PILOTs can
prompt a battle with nonprof-
its and lead to years of conten-
tious, costly and unproductive

MUSIC Matters revamps
end-of-year concert to
include more student orgs.

Besides headline
artists, SpringFest
to expand reach
Daily StaffReporter
MUSIC Matters' year-end
SpringFest event began as an
annual celebration capped by
a concert featuring a headlin-
ing artist. At its inception, the
money it raised would go to a
charity, set to change each year.
After two years, the student
organization is expanding its
vision. In November, the group
unveiled its $50,000-endowed
"Big Thinkers" scholarship, the
first student-funded endeavor
of its kind at the University.
Now, MUSIC Matters is
revamping SpringFest to
resemble South by Southwest,
a nine-day spring festival in
Austin, Texas that is a hub for
music, film and technology.
SpringFest will occur on
either April 10 or 17, LSA senior
Phillip Schermer, president of
MUSIC Matters, said.
On Sunday, leaders from
MUSIC Matters pitched Spring-
Fest's new structure to student
organizations potentially inter-
ested in being involved in its set
"At the end of the day,
MUSIC Matters is coordinat-
ing this event, but it's really
supposed to be by the commu-
nity and for the community,"
Schermer said.
The new SpringFest may
expand to envelop a large
portion of Central Campus.

The tentative structure fea-
tures what Schermer calls the
"globe," an open area and stage
featuring food and speakers
throughout the day.
Sprouting from the globe
will be spaces organized by five
themes: arts, identity, innova-
tion, social justice and sus-
tainability. Organizations will
display their year's work within
the corresponding theme.
Schermer said he wants the
event to showcase students'
To provide examples of what
the typical organization will do
to exhibit its work, SpringFest's
anchor groups - optiMize,
MPowered, Michigan Sports
Business Conference, the
National Pan-Hellenic Council
and Ask Big Questions - pre-
sented their plans.
Representatives from opti-
Mize, a student organization
centered on entrepreneurial
social service, expressed their
hope to partner with student
artists and create artistic social
commentary relating to the
group's work.
Students from MPowered
said they want to host profes-
sionals to judge student start-
ups and integrate them into the
Kinesiology senior Jared
Hunter, president of Michigan's
National Pan-Hellenic Council,
said SpringFest could facilitate
a stepping contest between fra-
ternities and sororities judged
by administrators. Each of the
NPHC's organizations has an
auxiliary youth chapter, allow-
ing area high school students to
attend SpringFest.

This concept aligns with
MUSIC Matter's partner-
ship with the Office of Admis-
sions, which sees SpringFest
as an opportunity to show-
case the University. Business
junior Nick Moeller, chair of
the SpringFest Committee for
MUSIC Matters, said the Uni-
versity's and MUSIC Matter's
goals are aligned.
"A big part of what we stand
for as an organization is bring-
ing Michigan students togeth-
er," he said. "SpringFest is
something that you don't see
on other campuses, and the
idea (was) that the University
might be able to promote that
as, 'Look at what you can do at
the University of Michigan. If
you're a part of any organiza-
tion from any background, you
can come be celebrated and we
can showcase the work you can
LSA senior JoHanna Roth-
seid, president of Ask Big Ques-
tions, hopes her organization
will kindle this kind of inter-
mingling. The organization
intends to place whiteboards
between each section of stu-
dent organizations at Spring-
Fest - where facilitators can
foster conversation and written
responses related to the specific
section's theme.
"We spend so much time
going to this University and
getting so involved and invest-
ed in our extracurriculars,"
Rothseid said, adding that the
whiteboards would allow space
for conversation that address-
es the "awesome and incred-
ible things" students are doing
across numerous fields.

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