Your Resolutions for the University of Michigan

Alumni Association President and CEO Steve Grafton wrote about New Year’s resolutions in the spring 2013 “Michigan Journey.” He stated that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals. He then urged readers to submit their resolutions for the University of Michigan—to share what their goals for 2013 might look like. We share the responses here and encourage you to add your own. 

Letters:

Eric Nelson, ’93, MSE’00

I read your letter in the latest issue of Michigan Alumnus and have a resolution for out football and basketball fans (and maybe hockey too?).

I have always felt that the cheer that ends with a big “yoooouuuu suck” directed at the opposing team is both childish and offensive. I am an ardent U-M fan and always will be but I simply think we should be better than that and wish Dave Brandon or someone from the U would state this publicly. If asked to stop and consider their actions, I hope our fans (students?) would be mature enough to think again the next time….and maybe the band could stop teeing them up for that cheer during games…

It bugs me when my 7, 9, and 11 year olds get on the bandwagon of that kind of behavior and I bet I am not the only parent out there who feels that way.

Julie Cohen Mason, ’89

As an alumna and a parent of a current University of Michigan freshman, I would love to see the University come up with a better solution to the housing lottery and the shortage of central campus housing. While it is very clear that housing is not guaranteed after freshman year, there is a very large population of students who would like to live on-campus. I think the University has done an excellent job of expanding options on North Campus, but that solution does not work for all students. After experiencing the enormous stress of the housing lottery with my daughter–a process that began in November with Open Houses and did not conclude until late February–I feel that there must be a better way. To live with the uncertainty of housing for several months was a huge distraction and a source of worry for my daughter and me. Many students are not ready to live off-campus and need the structure of a dorm setting. I fully understand that dorms need to be closed during renovations, but it did not seem as if there was a plan to address the shortage in housing that results from closing dorms for an entire school year. If a business had a large customer base whose needs were not being met, that business would seek out other solutions to keep those customers happy. The University of Michigan is among the Leaders and Best–and, therefore, really should be able to find a solution that satisfies its customer base.

Thomas Bleha, ’56

When I graduated from the University in the mid-1950s, it was ranked #5 in the nation based on its reputation at the time.

Now in all of the comparisons mentioned by University leaders, the benchmarks are other public research universities. I think they should aspire to be more. I realize it is a difficult time financially, but the University should set a much higher bar: to be among the very best among all universities. If they did that, the imminent capital campaign goals and results might be quite different.

Mary Ellen Lemieux, ’83

As a Michigan alum living in California and an alumni recruiter for the University, I’ve watched admission to U-M becoming increasingly competitive, especially since it joined the Common App consortium. My concern is that Michigan’s multi-generational legacies will be rare and far between as alumni children are increasingly from out of state and prerequisite GPAs inch ever closer to a 4.0. It’s hard to raise a kid to love the Maize and Blue, only to discover that they cannot compete with non-affiliated applicants. Thoughts?

David Giltrow, ’61

The following is a response to the invitation to communicate an alum’s thoughts, which might be of interest in your presentation to the U-M Board of Regents.

In recent months, there have been newspaper stories about the current state of the wolverine, small “w”. It triggered long ago memories as a kid growing up in Ann Arbor of Sunday visits to the tiny outdoor zoo maintained by the School of Natural Resources behind the building at North U and Forest. That was in the late 1940s and, indeed, the live and likely very unhappy caged wolverine was an attraction.

I was re-acquainted with the wolverine while on an excursion into the Yukon last fall. This time it was a preserved version behind a display case at a tourist stop.

We learned later that wolverines do indeed continue to roam the forests of the Yukon and Alaska plus a decreasing number in Montana, perhaps only 300. But with trapping and loss of habitat, wolverines are teetering on the verge of being declared an endangered species in the lower 48.

It is not too soon–or late–to consider that the University of Michigan through its alumni, students, and expert staff initiate a national “Save the Wolverine” campaign. This would be in conjunction with environmental and animal preservation groups as well as, of course, the U.S. Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service and state equivalents.

The wolverine as the symbol/mascot of the University of Michigan is unique and highly distinctive. “Save the Wolverine” would be an appropriate action undertaken through our extensive alumni network, campaign design and media projects by students, and scientific perspectives provided by Michigan researchers.

Best wishes and Go Blue!

Marc Bozeman, ’93 (on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page

I’d like for us to improve our ranking in stupid U.S. News. The rankings are somewhat off base. But they are really the only widely publicized measure of a university’s academic prowess. So while they are stupid, they are kind of important.

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