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May 10, 1995 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1995-05-10

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday,May 10, 1995
'U' breaks ground on Huetwell visitors' center

By Steve Townsend
For the Daily
The University is building a new
weapon in the war of student recruit-
ment, as construction officially began
last month on a new 17,000 square foot
visitors' center.
The center has been named in honor
of Frederick G.L. Huetwell, a graduate
of the University and former executive
director of the U-M Club of Detroit. A
portion of Huetwell's bequest to the Uni-
versity will help pay for the center.

University Executive Vice President
Farris Womack said the remainder of the
$5.7 million projected price will be
funded by "non-recurring capital re-
sources (while fund raising continues),
Plant accounts (including energy conser-
vation sources), and previously approved
infrastructure funds."
The new facility, which will feature a
three-story atrium lobby and two auditori-
ums, will be an addition to the existing
Student Activities Building.
The project is scheduled to be com-

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pleted next June, said University Archi-
tect Paul Couture.
"This cost, of course, includes more
than just the visitors' center," Couture
said. "It also includes renovation and win-
dow replacement in the existing SAB."
Couture said the four-phase process
will consist of actual construction of the
center, renovation of affected areas of
SAB, overall renovation of the existing
exterior, and final completion of the
addition's upper floors.
University Director of Undergraduate
Admissions Ted Spencer, who was instru-
mental in initiating the project, said he
feels the center will provide a central start-
ing point for visiting high school students
and their parents.
Increasingly competitive recruiting
and the sophisticated nature of today's
high school students were primary reasons
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Contnued from page 1
meeting (membership) quotas," she said.
Shapss cited Zeta Tau Alpha and
Gamma Phi Beta as examples of sorori-
ties forced to move out of their houses
and to pass up new pledges as a result of
financial hardship.
She attributed the decline in student
interest to "a lot of anti-Greek sentiment
across the country." Shapss said the
trend was so strong that even an official
University suggestion not to rush could
lead to "the downfall of the Greek sys-
"It won't finish us this year," Shapss
said. "But five years down the road, it
could mean the end."
Tom Holden, the Interfraterity
Council vice president of social affairs,
criticized the suggested changes.
"Students would miss a lot if they
were prohibited from joining the Greek
organizations as freshmen," Holden said.
He added that the University would
be making "a big mistake that could ex-
plode in their faces. I hope they're smart

enough not to try this."
It is still not clear whether the Uni-
versity will take any action. "Right now
all we have is anecdotal information,"
Hartford said.
She explained nothing could be done
before the study is complete. If there is
no evidence that rush is detrimental t
academic performance, it is unlikely t
University will take any action.
Seiler said IFC and the Panhellenic
Association already have data on the
academic performance of their inem-
bers. According to Seiler's study, Greek
system members maintain higher grade
point averages both in their first years
and overall than the University aver-
Shapss attributes this to the academic
support the Greek system provides i4
"When I moved into the house, I 9as
much more motivated to study, and my
GPA went up a full point," Shapss said.
"Rush may be tough and may even hurt
freshman GPAs, but the academic ben-
efits of being in a sorority more than
make up the difference."

for the construction of the new facility,
Spencer said.
"Practically every other school in the
Big Ten has a similar visitors' center,"
Spencer said. "It will give a good first im-
pression to students and parents who visit
the campus and are expecting certain
things from a university like Michigan."
Spencer, who helped organize a simi-
lar center at the U.S. Air Force Academy
before coming to the University in 1989,
said he felt the campus needed a fonnal
and friendly place to welcome the more
than 24,000 perspective students and
parents who visit Ann Arbor each year.
The University utilizes a minimum of
12 differentcampus buildings for visitation
programsas well as the conference room of
the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
None of these facilities provides a
central location for visitors to easily ac-
cess visitor and admissions information,
a service Spencer hopes the new facility

will provide.
"We're trying to get kiosks with con
piters attached in the lobby (for student
to access infotmation)," Spencer said.
While completion of the entir
project is more than a year away, Spen
cer hopes to begin using the center muc
earlier. He is hoping for the constructio
of the auditoriums and upper floors to
completed by the end of this year.
"I think we'll be ready to start in
ing people by January 1996," Spence
said. "We're really excited about it."
Despite the enthusiasm felt by man
involved in the visitors' center, there are
still some concerns on campus regarding
the financial timing of such an undertaking
"I'm always encouraged by new
steps to increase the University's acces-
sibility," said Michigan Student Assem-
bly President Flint Wainess, "but in a
time of sky-rocketing tuition, I hope t
was done in full fiscal responsibility.'

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