Monthly Archives: February 2016

Wolverines of Ann Arbor January Recap

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“How does the digital climate on campus affect the actual campus environment? How does social media influence our campus?”
“Researchers in my area reject a dichotomy between “online” vs. “offline”. We think of interactions as being mediated through different information technologies, but because a communication occurs in social media doesn’t make it less real than other forms of communication. Different social media tools have such different features, they can be thought of very separately. YikYak plays a different role on campus than does Venmo, than does Instagram. Social media shapes interaction on our campus by reducing barriers to communication, which can have both positive and negative effects. We see a wide range of both help and harm from our campus social media. Sometimes it drives us apart, but more often I hope it brings us together, provides voice to those who often struggle to be heard, enrich our understanding of people who are different from us, and provides support in the reminder that we all have common ground. But that’s up to us.
I believe social media can be a tool for creating a better world, but like all tools the outcomes are based on how we use it. I’m standing in from of a Blue bus because I’m going with a group of student interaction designers to work with the city of Jackson to create new information tools and applications that can be used to improve the services Jackson offers to people, and to help people find new ways to express their civic lives in Jackson. I’m blown away by the passion and creativity of the undergraduates and graduate students in this class, and what they are doing. This is one small example, for me, of how not only can social media tools be used to create a better world, but how the university can be of service to those around us.”
“With everything going on in the world today, what do you think students on this campus need to know?”
“I’ve been involved with campus protests around Black Lives Matter issues and issues regarding diversity on campus. And, I think what’s important for students to understand is that history matters. So, students need to understand the history of these sorts of student protests on campus; whether it’s the Black Action Movements or the United Coalition Against Racism during the 1980s, and then also, I think in addition to that, I think students need to involve themselves in these movements and these protests as much as possible because these issues regarding diversity and policing are very important and can not only just save people of color’s lives, but help improve their own experiences on campus as well.”

“How can student here help Black Students, Students of Color, and be good allies?” 
“I think one of the most important thing students can do is learn about what has gone on at Missouri, Yale, and other campuses. And, they can do that partly by not only paying attention to what activists there are demanding, but also trying to understand how issues of race and racism effect University of Michigan as well. I think the more students get involved on their own campuses, the more you can help show solidarity to other students at other schools.”

“What do you have to say to those who believe that we live in a post-racial society?” 
“I’m not sure if you’re going to be able to convince everyone. But, the folks that you can convince, I mean, there are multiple ways of going about it. One of the ways is by hosting or participating in campus conversations about issues of race and micro-agressions and other experiences on campus. But, then also, protests and art have always been ways that students can help change people’s minds or at least help raise questions about these issues in a way that might provoke people to even just think deeply about these issues. There are a lot of people that truly believe that racism is a thing of the past, and that we live in a color-blind society. Whether it’s with the hashtag #BBUM campaign here a couple years ago, or the #ConcernedStudents1950 movement in Missouri, or what’s been going on at Yale, and you know, scores of other campuses, it’s that issues of race and racism are still with us; very prevalent. Racism is very harmful to not just black students, but also Muslim and Arab students, Latino Students, Mexican Americans, Asian American Students. It’s an issue that is affecting many students of color and what I would say to folks who are skeptical is to listen to students of color when they’re talking about their experiences.”

“What are some of your favorite things to do?”
“I listen to a lot of music. I’m a big hip hop fan as you can probably tell from my shirt. I’m a big fan of the Wun Tang Clan, Naz, Lauryn Hill. So, I listen to a lot of music and keep up on it. And, when I have the time, I like to play basketball, but I also like to watch basketball and football. I think watching sports,  and listening to music are my two favorite activities.”

“What’s the dream? If you could do anything that you wanted, what would it be?” 
“I’m accomplishing the goals that I wanted to accomplish by trying to become a historian and trying to change the world around me. But, if there was something that I wanted to do that I would love doing would be running some sort of hip hop publication, some sort of rap magazine. That would be pretty cool. I don’t know what the mission of the magazine would be, but I think what I would want such a publication to do is be able to synthesize, not only what’s going on with people who perform Hip Hop or who are in the Hip Hop culture, but to synthesize what’s going on now with the historical aspects and also the political aspects of the culture as well.  I think a lot of publications now are doing a much better job of connecting all of those issues, but I think if you have folks who like to also study the history of Hip Hop, that would be great.”

“Any last words?” 
“People need to get involved. Most people don’t get a chance to participate in social movements and acts of social change that are historic and we’re living in a historic moment right now. If you want to be in the history books, this is the time to be involved.”
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“What’s something you’re looking forward to this semester?”
“I’m most looking forward to get some classes done. I’m getting my pre-reqs out of the way for my major, so I’m excited! I’m also excited for some performances for my dance team, Dance2XS. I am also a model in NOIR for the fashion show in April. This is my first semester with them.”

“What’s your major?”
“Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. BCN for short!”

“What’s your dream?”
“Well, my dream job would actually love to be a professional dancer. Like, dance for someone famous like Missy Elliot or Beyonce. But, if not I have a backup plan, so that’s why I’m majoring in BCN! My grandma’s a nurse, so I’ve always looked up to her in the medical field. Hopefully, I’ll do case management or go into psychiatry.

“As far as dancing goes, how long have you been dancing?” 
“I’ve been dancing for about 5 to 6 years now. All backgrounds; ballet, contemporary, hip hop.”

“What’s your favorite thing about dance?”

“Just how it allows you to express yourself. I love hitting the beats, and having music express your emotion without even saying a word by just using your body.”

“Do you have any life mantras that you like?”
“I love to read bible scriptures in my free time and apply it to my daily life. My favorite quote actually is: “I love myself- the simplest, most quietest, revolution ever.”

“What’s your favorite memory?” 
“I like to look back on my first semester at the University. I was in summer bridge, so I was here over the summer and I didn’t know anyone or what to expect. It was just great having that first experience getting to know everyone and helped me grow in this university as a student, socially and just with everything.”

“Who inspires you?”
“My mom inspires me. She’s always been there for me. I look up to her. She’s always been able to push through everything and I’ve never seen her give up. She’s been through a lot, so I want to thank her for all that she’s done for me and my little brother. Every time I go home, we always try and have some alone time by going out to dinner or to the movies, or we’ll cook together. Any quality time with my mom is a great memory.”


“What’s the dream?”

“Career wise, being an orthopedic surgeon for my favorite team, the Chicago Bulls. It started while I watching game one of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, against the 76ers. We had the W in the bag, so I was confused to see Derrick Rose still in the game. Joakim set a nice screen, opening up the lane for DRose to do his thing. He attacked the paint like usual, even throwing a nice hop step to get the defender to bite…but a move that seemed so habitual turned into a nightmare. As he exploded up, Rose let the ball go to Taj Gibson on the side and slowly limped to the baseline, a hand on his knee. I felt my heart drop. It was one of the scariest moments of my life; I was just like, “No, this can’t be happening! Without Rose, there’s no way we were getting through LeBron and company.” The next day, I found out that he had a torn ACL. Before Rose’s injury, I had no clue what an ACL even was. So I remember that night I was looking up the surgical procedure for a torn ACL, videos of the different techniques used, what was the rehab process like, and when he would be back on the court. I was looking up all this stuff, and suddenly, I realized how thrilling surgery was. I could never imagine the high that surgeons must get while actually doing the procedure. I was 15 at the time. That’s been my dream ever since.”

“My more personal dream is to travel around the world. Pretty much the only international experience I had was when I went to India to visit my family back in ’06, but even then, we just stayed in one area and didn’t really go anywhere. So now, I’m really pushing for a true international experience. I really want to go to South East Asia, places like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Latin America would be amazing too, like Peru, Ecuador, or Argentina. It would be a great opportunity to continue building my Spanish speaking skills, which I feel like I didn’t pay attention to as much in high school.”

“I’ve always wanted to do medical work abroad, something like Doctors Without Borders. I want to do service work in clinics and the hospitals in the area and help the people there. That would be such a unique experience because I’d be immersed in the culture there, and getting more professional experience.”

“What’s something or someone that inspires you?”

“I’m going with my parents on that one, just because I’m an only child and they really had the burden of putting up with one kid who had some major anger issues. Both my mom and dad worked a lot to help us settle in Chicago, make sure I was a natural-born US citizen and find a good school for me. But my constant rude behavior towards teachers and other kids made it difficult for me to get the best education that my parents wanted for me. I still remember the countless times that my mom had to come talk to the principal and the daily lectures I would get from dad. At one point, I even needed therapy to sort out my emotions, which I wouldn’t have gotten had it not been for my parents’ relentless hard work to help me in any way possible. So, it was a joint effort to just raise one annoying kid. Thankfully, I came out of that phase a long time ago! Being an only child is nice because I get all the love and attention. Family trips were definitely on the down side though, since Indian music was usually blasting through the speakers. Those moments were spent putting my headphones in and going to sleep! But I still love them so much, and seeing all the hard work my parents put in to raising me, I want to be able to live up to that and make sure they live a comfortable life.”

“What’s your favorite memory with them?”

“I don’t remember this very clearly, since I was around 8 months old when it happened. Someone was calling me down stairs in our home in India. So I started running down the hard, wooden floors, missed a step, and fell over and hit the side of my head on one of the steps. Suddenly, this huge gash opened on my forehead and it started bleeding everywhere! My parents were terrified, you know, because I was the only kid and only 8 months. I could’ve even had serious brain damage…So, they threw me in the car and rushed me to the hospital right away. Apparently, according to my parents, on the ride there, all I was doing was laughing. The whole entire time, I was laughing. They were telling me this, and I was like, “Are you serious?” And they said, “Yeah! We were holding gauze to your head, and you were just laughing the whole entire time. You didn’t cry a bit. Even when we went into the ER, you were laughing!” Now that I look back on it, what kind of relieves my stress is that I love to laugh! Maybe that’s where it started! My parents were really worried, but I didn’t seem to care at all! They said I just enjoyed all of the attention and that I loved just going for a ride to the hospital. The doctors were confused and asking my parents, “What kind of kid do you have here?” Even at an early age, hospitals didn’t scare me. It doesn’t bother me that I’ll be working in a hospital in the future!”

“What’s a guaranteed way to make you laugh?”

“Just talking to people and hearing their stories. I throw in a joke every now and then to try and lighten the mood and try to make them laugh. I can be very deep about stuff, but too much can make the conversation dry. So, I just think telling random stories is a fun way to lighten the mood! Random unfortunate stuff happens to me every day, so it’s never too hard to come up with something. As far as what makes me happy, I think just being active; especially playing basketball! That wasn’t the case when I was little; I was a very chubby kid and couldn’t stop playing Call of Duty. But after joining sports in high school, I realized how important fitness was towards my health and longevity. Since then, I have always found happiness in living a healthy lifestyle.”

“Can you tell me one of your jokes?”

“I don’t know! They’re mostly in the moment. I usually throw science jokes in there. One classic one is like, “What did one ion say to the other? I got my ion you.”

“I think an interesting thing is that I’m a transfer student. I went to Loyola Chicago before I came here, and transferring was a big deal because I was coming to a school that was three times the size of Loyola and 4 hours away from home. At first, I didn’t know my way around here. I didn’t know what these different acronyms like UGLI, and CCRB meant. I was like, what’s going on? I’m going to get lost here. That’s when I realized that joining student orgs and exploring campus on your own really helps make the campus feel smaller. GSP is a great example too, it made the campus smaller for me and helped me sort of form a squad.”

“How did your parents feel about you transferring?”

“They were actually more excited than I was! I wanted to transfer because I loved the Kinesiology program here. The school is small enough to get to know all the faculty, but big enough to get tons of research opportunities and resources for applying to grad school. Michigan also has a more competitive atmosphere, which I was really attracted to because it would continuously push me. Plus, I just wanted to get out of the city. I love Chicago, but I just needed to have a change of pace and scenery. At first I was pretty nervous, but I knew it would take a while to adjust. During the decision process, all the pros seemed to be pointing in Michigan’s favor, so I went for it, and I can honestly say it’s been the best decision of my life. I still miss my friends at Loyola and keep in touch with a lot of them. They’re still a little salty about me leaving, but they know how much I still care about them.

“Any life mantra or way of looking at things?”

“My senior quote was “The believer is happy, the doubter is wise.” Kind of inspires me to not be afraid to question things. Whether it’s in class or just questioning parts of my faith. I think the best way to learn is questioning, and that’s what this quote expresses! I also think it’s important to be honest and real with people, even if it hurts; it’s easier said than done! It definitely depends on the circumstance, but I feel like in most cases, hiding something will always come back and bite you.”


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“What inspired you to get into Art and what do you feel Art allows a person to do?”

“It does so much. I think art for me is my total active expression, and that’s what inspired me to get into it, and continue. I think everyone can utilize art. I actually created this about a year ago and it was one night when I was crying over, I can’t even remember which life it was, but I was mourning with my sister on the phone, and she said, “Honestly, you should just draw it out. You should just put it on paper.” So, I did. I had an old calendar of a Norman Rockwell paintings that I used, and I think it’s kind of iconic because Norman Rockwell represents a kind of America that is very unrealistic for all Americans. My version is, I don’t know, a way more realistic and truthful America.”

“What has been the reaction to your art? What do you want people to take out of it?”

“As far as reactions go, I was shocked to see how many people were impacted by it. I want people to take out that this is our America and this is our reality. And it’s devastating. The title of the piece is “Black is an Endangered Species” showing the devastation on Black life. I have the American pie just bleeding, because that is what the American dream is to me, and Black America. If anything I want this piece to make people think.”

“What do you think people can do?”

“We need to realize that this is happening now. The revolution is happening as we speak. I don’t think we’re doing enough, only a small portion of the Black community is involved within the Black Lives Matter movement and this is the time, our time. And we can win. We are the leaders that we’ve been looking for. I would say that if my art, just putting something on a piece of paper, can motivate someone or something, that is the least I can do.”

“What would you say, for you, is the main goal?”

“The main goal is awareness. I think that if we really knew the realities of our world today, and if more poor Brown and Black communities knew their realities and what’s really going on systematically, I think we would all be involved and I think there would be more of a fight. We need to wake up, and stay awake. So, yea, I would say my main goal is to raise more awareness. If I can just plant a seed in someone’s head, just a though, just to consider more of the devastating realities of Black life, especially for people who are privileged enough not to think about it, that is the goal.”

“How can we get people to realize that Racism is still a problem?”

“That’s the million dollar question, because so many people are blind to systematic racism. Just because we don’t see it so blatantly like we used to doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact I would argue racism is worse because it is so embedded in America’s subconscious. How can racism not be real when the phrase: Black lives matter alone is controversial? I think also a first small step you can do is to first acknowledge your privilege, to acknowledge all sorts of privilege. There are tons of resources for privilege checklists, and discussions that you can have. Also, I would tell people to use white privilege and class privilege to spread awareness and help people. You can do a lot with your voice, and people will listen. Martin Luther King Jr. said in ‘Letters to Birmingham Jail’ that that the white moderate is the greatest threat to freedom. It’s not even just the extremists or the hate groups we face, it’s the huge majority of people who are silent. Being silent chooses the side of the oppressor.”

“To students on this campus, what would you say to them?”

“I think that students here should realize that this is their problem too. With the small minority rate at this school, that does not contributing to a healthy and complete learning environment. This is not the real world. We will not be an truly elite university until we have accurate representation of the world, or at least the state of Michigan. I would also say just to join groups like the Black Student Union. We have so many resources and talks. Alicia Garcia, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, was here just a couple days ago and she was inspirational. That was an hour and a half talk, attending that alone does something. Also be a supportive advocate for Black and people of color students on campus. I would also say that we need to remember that there are groups on campus that want to fight back and have been fighting back. A lot of people are angry. I know I am. One of the things I do to express is art, but I am also involved in activist groups like BAMN, an org that is actively participating in movements, I was even able to travel to Ferguson with them. People are always asking, “What can we do?” But there are so many different outlets, and I think we’re overlooking them. You just need to start, and stop waiting for leaders. We are the leaders we’ve been looking and waiting for. We need to get out there, there’s opportunities to do things on days like MLK day, which is coming up. So use this time to give back, it’s a service day after all. Challenge your mind and your perceptions, take the challenge to stay aware, and there are so many resources. So many talks and lectures. We need to stimulate that thought of what you can’t see. I think that alone is a step forward.”

“The revolution is happening now, and especially with elections coming up, the change is now. This is the time. It’s always been happening, but this is the complete turning point. Lets be the change we want to see”


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“So, you said that Mental Health is an issue that is very important to you?”

“Yeah, it’s very important to me.” 

“Can I ask what prompted you to feel that way?”

“I guess when I got to campus Freshmen year, I realized that mental health was a bigger issue in college than it was in high school. My doctor, a University of Michigan alum, talked with me about how prevalent mental health disorders were on our campus. We talked about how the level of stress in college is so much higher than in the every day person, and we think that this is the norm. Which can lead to things like depression, eating disorders, and anxiety. We think it’s okay because we live on such a competitive campus. This topic is so important and it’s often overlooked on campuses and across the United States. We are the leaders and best, so I believe we should combat this issue head on and reduce the stigma that surrounds it.” 

“What are ways you take care of your mental health?”

“I’m not an expert; I’m just a psych major. But, really by talking to people, and getting help when you need it. Students should know that depression, anxiety, or having an eating disorder is not something you have to just deal with. There are so many people out there who are willing and want to help you. I wish every person who felt like they didn’t have someone to talk to would just come to me. It’s so common for students to think that their depression or anxiety will just go away, and that’s not the way to look at it. There are ways to help and reduce it. You don’t have to struggle with it everyday.”

“As the president of Panhel, what are some ways that Greek Life tries to help with Mental Health?”

“We realized that this was a large issue amongst the greek community and across the university. But, as greek leaders, we decided that we really wanted to be the first to combat this issue head on. We have a program called Wolverine Wellness that was started a couple years ago that acts as a network to help with issues of mental health. Moving forward, we want to take on the initiative this semester and this year to create an atmosphere in greek life that’s welcoming to discussing mental health and wellness. We’re thinking of creating programs that would involve possibly getting a greek counselor or a psychiatrist; someone that’s always open for the greek community. We’re also thinking of starting group therapy sessions that would be great for students to just come in and talk. That’s what we’re aiming for; a very diverse and open environment. These are just some ideas that we’ve thrown out this semester. ”

“What’s been your best memory through Greek Life?”

“That’s a tough one. I was born in Michigan, but I’m not really rooted in Michigan. All of my family lives in Hawaii or Minnesota. So, I never really thought that I would attend the University of Michigan. When I got here, I felt really lost like most Freshmen do. I didn’t have a large friend group coming in and one of the first things that I decided to do was rush. I never thought I was going to be in a sorority growing up. None of my family was in greek life. They still make fun of me for being in it and they still don’t know what sorority I’m in “the one with the deltas?” – they say. It was just one of the best decisions that I’ve made in general. It was such a welcoming environment. It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t in greek life because the experience is just so unique. One of the things I cared about in High School was community service, and I got here and didn’t know how to get truly involved. From the get go, greek life offered that to me. My sorority in particular donates to St. Jude’s Children’s hospital and Mott Children’s Hospital and last year we raised close to $70,000 in one semester. That was just an incredible feeling to be able to be a central part of that and to give back to the community.”

“Anything else you want to share?”

“Right now Greek Life doesn’t have the best reputation due to a lot of negative attention. It can be very frustrating to some, but I see it as more of an opportunity for improvement. We have an incredible opportunity to change the image of Greek Life and to bring positivity to our campus. That is my goal as president.”

“What are some things Greek Life can do to improve their image?”

“What every person in Greek Life needs to do is remember the values and reasons why fraternities and sororities were created in the first place. Get back to the values of friendship, lifetime commitment, philanthropy, and community, and use these values and ideals in their actions and decisions. Once everyone realizes that our organizations were founded upon core ideals, we can be strong and collective again.”

“What do you think caused the veering off?”

“We lost sight of our values.”


Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 1.29.16 PM“What do you love most about wrestling?” 
“I like being a part of a team. I love my teammates and being able to represent the University. It’s something I’ve done my whole life so it’s a part of me.”

“How long have you been doing it and what have you learned from it?”
“I’ve wrestled since I was about 5 or 6 years old; basically my whole life. I can’t remember not wrestling. And, I think the one thing it really taught me most is discipline in life. They say once you wrestle in life, everything else is easy. There’s a lot of truth to that because it teaches you so much to discipline to diet, to follow a workout regiment, and to be able to push past pain. It’s definitely taught me to accept any challenge in my life.”

“What are some of your best memories from wrestling? What’s a memory you’ll never forget?”
“I think the best part of being in wrestling is the team aspect. So, definitely the road trips with my team here at the University. I love traveling with them and we have a lot of fun. I love being able to walk with them as one. Anytime we win a dual meet, it’s always a great time.”

“Does your family come out to your tournaments?”
“I have a very large family based support crew that come to every match I am in. It’s more than just my father. In a way, my wrestling meets are like small family reunions! At any given time I have 10+ family members in the crowd, cheering me on. My father, mother, and sisters are very supportive of my efforts to accomplish my goals on the mat!”

“What got you into wrestling?” 
“I come from a family of wrestlers. My dad was a 2 time All-American and my Uncle Joe was a 2 time National Runner-Up at Michigan! Plus, not to mention, my cousin Joe is a 2 time State-Champ, my Uncle Dan is a national champ. So, I come from a family full of wrestlers. My parents didn’t really pressure me into wrestling, but they kind of put me in it to see how I liked it. I was good at it, so I kept doing it. Still doing it now!”

“What the dream?”
“Right now, I definitely want to win National title. Coming in my Freshmen year, I knew I wanted to win National title. So short term, that’s what I want to accomplish. Outside of college wrestling, there isn’t really much pro-wrestling. So, it comes down to International wrestling. I haven’t really tried my hand just yet at it; it’s a different style. But, from what I did do of it last summer, I liked it and I was pretty good at it. So, maybe long term, my dream is to keep wrestling and be able to compete internationally.”

“Any life mottos?” 
“I’m a firm believer in the saying that “Hard work always pays off.” It’s not exactly the harder you work, but it’s the fact that you have to go in there and do the hard work, and then the results will come if you stay at it. We actually just heard a quote that went something like, “There is no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory.”

“Have you ever had any doubts in your wrestling career or faced adversity?”
“The whole sport is adversity really. Having to make weight and be really strict on your diet. When you go out on the mat to verse another person, there’s nothing else impeding. It comes down to staying optimistic during the season, especially with how long it is. If you lose, you need to look at it as a learning opportunity, learn what you did wrong, and keep pushing forward. That’s one thing I think I’ve done well. Just last week, I beat an opponent that I had lost to last year, and that’s just a matter of learning from my past and bringing it to the present.”

“How do you stay positive?” 
“One thing I do is always tell myself how blessed I am. I am 19 years old, and I’ve got opportunities that not many 19 year-old have. I’m very fortunate. I always tell myself, when I’m at my worst, that this is just wrestling and you’ve just got to have fun with it. You’ll only be doing this for a part of your life, so you might as well make the best of it. I try and stay very optimistic.”

“What the craziest thing you’ve ever had to do for wrestling?” 
“Our training schedules are pretty nuts, especially with having to wake-up at such an early time. We have our Big House morning runs, and we do buddy carries up and down the Big House stadium. That’s very tough; especially in the winter time! We’re a winter sport, so we’re going up until it’s snowy. So, we climb up and carry people on our backs when it’s icy! It’s pretty crazy. But, it’s all hard work and it pays off.” 
“I’m blessed for the opportunity to represent the block M and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made deciding to come here.”

“What made you come to Michigan?”
“A lot of people grow up in die-hard UofM families, but that was never me. My Uncle Joe did go here, he was a 2 time All American National Runner-Up, and he was always urging me on to go here. No one really pressured me too much. Out of the schools I visited, I went out west, and east coast. I just looked at UofM and saw that the training facilities were the best in the nation. I love the coaches, and I also looked at my training partners. With UofM being a regional training center, I basically have the best training partners in the nation. They say that ‘Iron sharpens Iron.’ You’re only as good as your training partners, and I figured these were the best. That was a big factor.”


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“What’s one thing you always tell your students?”

“I tell my students that there are only 6 words they need to know to be happy in life. Those 6 words are ‘Quid Pro Quo,’ you get something for something. And the other 3 are really important, ‘Scratch your itch.’ Not society’s itch. Not your parents’ itch. Your itch. If you pay attention to those two things, you’ll be happy and successful.”

“What’s with all of the photos on the wall?”

“It’s like I keep in touch with my family, and I have an extended family by 2,000 children. Well, friends. 2,000 friends.”

What do you love about your job?”

“I like getting to help people in their careers. I right great letters of recommendation and have helped many people get into many different jobs, medical schools, grad schools, etc.”

“Anything else you want to share?”

“I love my dogs. Loki and Mimi.”


What did #UMSocial do in 2015?

On Twitter…

Hosted 11 dynamic #UMichChat panels which highlighed everything from innovation to activism. The engaging live dialogues now trend regionally on a monthly basis.

January Student Life with Royster Harper
February Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Kelly LaPierre, Thomas Zurbuchen, Jeffrey Sorensen, David Merritt, & Michael Finney)
April Violence, Crime, and Social Media (Cliff Lampe, Desmond Patton, Detective Sergeant Boike, Eric Strauss)
May “The King of Twitter” John Dingell’s wisdom on a lifetime of service
June “Students at UMich”
July “Forever Go Blue” Alumni
August ‘Activism and Racial Education’: A discussion of Between the World and Me, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Sept. Welcome hoMe: Resources and advice for a new school year/Feature with President Schlissel (Lindsay Haas, Kyle Stefek, Michael Joiner-Hill)
October Introducing Intraoperative Neuromonitering (Emily Matthews, Josh Mergos, Stephanie Schwartz)
Nov. #GivingBlueday (Katherine Kowalski, Michael Reed, Ashley Howard/Madison Graver)
Dec. Revamping HigherEd in 140 Characters (Matt Adams, Andrew Martin, Aswin Punathambeker)

Provided coverage and promoted collaborative engagement at 34 different presentations and events through #UMichTalks. The hashtag has been widely adopted across campus, allowing our collective audiences unprecedented access and coverage to important events and timely topics.

2/4 Jessy Grizzle 2/10 Roderick Little 2/20 Tyree Guyton 2/23 Tamas Gombosi 3/13 Corey Booker
3/16 CEO of WebMD 3/19 The Big Picture of Small Things 3/23 Rosalind 3/27 Teach-In +50 4/1 Victor Lieberman
4/6 Christin Carter-Su 4/7 The Man Behind The Sandwich, Ari Weinzweig 4/10 The Innovation of Tomorrow: A White House Insider’s Guide 4/13 Higher Education Work For Low-Income Students 5/15 Ford School Academic Engagement Conference
6/1 Wellespring 7/30 Diary of a Young Girl 8/5 UROP Symposia 8/14 Bridge Ceremony 9/15 Big Data
9/25 Entrepalooza 10/1 JSB Symposia 10/5 Michigan Institute for Data Science Kick-Off Symposium 10/8 Orchestras in the 21st Century: A New Paradigm 10/13 Piper Kerman
10/15 “Can College Make You Smarter?” 10/22 #sumit15 10/27 Talk it Up 11/2 Prechter Lecture 11 U-M Diversity Summit
11/24 Cybersecurity 12/1 Historic presentation 12/10 Gamefication and Education 12/18 LSA Honors

On Snapchat…

UMSocial continues to lead the pack in Snapchat storytelling among higher education institutions. Inquires for consultation on the network far outweighed any other requests received by the office in the 2015 calendar year. Stories and feature opportunities have become a key strategy in everyone’s social planning and across departments; and collaborations have replaced traditional outreach efforts such as email. In total, 63 different ephemeral stories were told. The growing popularity also gave birth to the creation of regular content takeovers and weekly features like LSA Tuesdays and Arts and Culture Thursdays. Additionally each story was downloaded and made available in a YouTube playlist.

Geofilter Campaign Snap-a-versary (One Year on Snapchat) Blog Post Dress that Squirrel Travelocity Roaming Gnome SpringFest
MRelay Michigan Engineering Design Expo Dance Marathon WinterFest – #1 Public University LSA Major/Minor Expo
#ABrighterBlue TedX Spring Commencement Spring Term National Best Friends Day
#AskUMich #WolverineSummer Shakespeare in the Arb 4th of July-GeoFilter Curation Swing Dancing at the Cube
Tour of UMMA Educational Theatre Company Tour of Kelsey Museum Taubman Museum New Student Convocation
International Academy Open House Stay In the Blue World Suicide Prevention Day Send Silence Packing Game Day Spirit
So Just, So Fair International Institute Career fair Banned Books exhibit SMTD homecoming
Homecoming game ‘Waiting in line’ UMHS Organ Donor Awareness Law, Justice, and Society minor (w/ LSA) Safe drinking PSA #MakeHealthFest2015
POP X Diversity Summit Big House blood drive Wheelchair basketball Exploring the Institute for the Humanities
MUSKET ‘Spring Awakening’ LSA: ‘Snapchat makes you happy” Comm Dept Entertainment Media Forum LSA: Research in EEB (sweet potatoes) Hail Mail promotion
SQUEST Michigan vs OSU Galens Tag Days Michigan’s best dance crew Amcult hula performance
Kevorkian Collection at Bentley Emoji Snowflakes Study Tips “Night Before Winter Break” video preview New Year’s graphic
Bowl Game snap

Introduced an entire new suite of expanded campus geo-filters, including many limited-edition filters for special events and the first filter to be provided at all three University of Michigan campuses (Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn)
North Campus, Central (2), Big House Stadium, Big House Helmet, Medical Campus, Homecoming (2), Welcome Week (2), MGoGrad (2) and Giving Blue Day


On Instagram…

To capitalize on the continued growth of Instagram in 2015, UMSocial introduced a number of new efforts aimed at diversifying our content offerings and showcasing the breadth and depth of our university programing. Instagram ambassador takeovers and Saturday Michigan News videos are appearing on a monthly and weekly basis. Leveraging this new regular content we also implemented a daily theme that spans all seven day of the week and increased our content on takeover weeks to two posts each day.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Spirit/Pride WOAA Academics Global Bentley Hail Mail News
T-Shirt giveaway at WinterFest Cold Day Gear giveaway
Ann Arbor iPhone Case giveaway Tinder Valentine’s Day Spoof
Spring Break Selfie Promo LSA Major/Minor Expo Hyperlapse
Dear Wolverine (Depression Center) #AlwaysLSA event coverage
Share your cap w/ #MyUMCap Contest #AlwaysUMich
Common concert video Behind-the-scenes Commencement
#WorldWideWednesday #FoodFriday/#UMichFoodie
Ambassador: Jordan Katz Ambassador: Eric Bronson
‘This Week’s Headlines’ ‘On Assignment’ with #umicheeb
Ambassador: Emily Schieffer Ambassador: Engineering Ethiopia collaboration
Ambassador: Austin Thomason Ambassador: Career Center
Ambassador: UMHS Lead cancer doctor Ambassador: Ginsberg Center
Ambassador: Giving Blueday Ambassador: Library collective
Ambassador: UMHS Ghana Collaboration Holiday Motion Graphics
Wolverines of Ann Arbor

On Facebook…

Facebook’s slowed growth and aging demographic presented many negative content results in 2014. To combat the negative environment of the platform and encourage more proactive and positive online dialogue, UMSocial created a number of new campaigns in 2015. Our most popular programs continue to be Michigan Mondays, which provide an opportunity to inspire our audiences with quotes by prominent or unknown alumni, students, and university stakeholders; and Wolverines of Ann Arbor, which has become a powerful platform for depicting diversity and sharing personal narratives. As with Instagram, we have also partnered with other units (LSA, UMHS, and the Bentley) to share themed content on a given day. Lastly, we have seen great success with embedded video, gifs, and photo albums (Michigan Photography).

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Photo of the Week Michigan Monday Health WOAA Bentley LSA Global
Valentine’s Day photo submissions/album and graphic Video: “Messages of Hope” Depression Center
National Reading Month/Women’s History Month content Promotion of Yik Yak Pledge
Spring Commencement album Video: Music Matters
Michigan Softball championship Mothers Day/Fathers day
Album: President’s trip to China Album: President’s trip to China
“Calling all poets” Call to action to write a Michigan poem Video: #WolverineSummer
Album: #InternDetroit Wolverines of Ann Arbor
Album: New Student Convocation Album: Open House
Album: myhoMecoming Album: #UMichMoments
Album: Game Days  

On Pinterest…

UMSocial led a concentrated effort in 2015 to streamline the U-M Pinterest presence across all departments, campuses, and organizations. The amount of content required to properly maintain a robust Pinterest account, and the layout of the network itself, led to the absorption of many erroneous accounts. These efforts not only strengthened our brand presence but also alleviated the burden of updates for many smaller departments and organizations.

Michigan Squirrels (Squirrel Appreciation Day) Absorbed College of LSA
Absorbed Recreational Sports #MGoGrad Bucket List
Introduced Promoted Pins with Blog Post Spring at #UMich
Summer at #UMich Absorbed School of Information
Absorbed School of Public Health New Students at Michigan
Absorbed Michigan Dining Absorbed University Housing
Mcity Dormspiration 2015
STEAM at Michigan/#GirlsWithToys (Efforts with us and LSA) Absorbed Ginsberg Center

On YouTube…

Visuals are critical to social content. First it was images, then memes, and now short engaging video or gifs. In 2015 UMSocial sought to streamline our YouTube footprint and create more dynamic, regular content. By absorbing accounts, we helped content be better recognized; and by creating short videos on timely topics, we created top performing or searched for content. Lastly, we made a conscious effort to better package long ceremonial and event video coverage, thereby substantially increasing content views and shares.

Your Moment: Graduation Hype Video Snapchat playlist
Messages of Hope Major/Minor Expo
Spring Fest Video 2015 Spring Commencement Recap
2015 Spring Commencement Package (Zingerman’s, President, Dean of LSA, Engineering Commencement) Softball Hype Video
FIFA Scandal Rec Sports
InsideTheM: Michigan Dining Lake Erie Algae (Michigan News)
#WolverineSummer Mcity Dedication
Mexico Coffee (Michigan News) Ghana (Michigan News)
Dow Global Impact Series Diversity is…
“What is an Indian” “The Night before Winter Break”

On YikYak…

New social networks appear every day, but few have caused such an uproar in higher education as Yik Yak. After publishing an initial evaluation of the platform in 2014, UMSocial chose to advocate for personal responsibility and proactive online dialogues on the network. Following a potential suicide threat published within the Ann Arbor Yik Yak feed, we rallied with students to show support and promote available resources. After a successful positivity pledge campaign, Yik Yak reached out to us and we partnered to created their first university-wide branded community ‘Hail Mail.’ Content for Hail Mail is created by our first Yik Yak-dedicated student intern in collaboration with our award-winning campus newspaper staff and our Office of Student Life. Additionally, UMSocial now pulls daily ‘Yaks’ and incorporates them into our Twitter streams and a ‘Yak’ of the week that is published on our Instagram. By educating our users on the platform, recognizing their contributions, and creating a steady flow of resources and information on a platform we know they regularly use, we have thus far alleviated many of the large-scale issues that many other universities have encountered at the hand of unchecked anonymity.

In Collaboration With…

Social content is stronger when we leverage the collective. The relationships UMSocial built in 2014 enabled the creation of a strong leadership team of cross campus social media communicators. In collaboration we were able to tell bigger, bolder stories, bring better resources to fruition and set brand goals.

Squirrel Appreciation Day: Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, @UmichStudents
#1 Public University Video/Promo
Valentine’s Day
Messages of Hope
Photos of the Week: Instagram, FB, Twitter
National Best Friends day: Snapchat, Twitter
#WolverineSummer: Snapchat, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram
Dubsmash: Instagram, Twitter
Fourth of July geo-filter campaign: Snapchat, Twitter
#STEAM/GirlswithToys: Throwbacks on FB, Twitter, Pinterest Board
Collaborative efforts with the Career Center
Collaborative efforts with Michigan Photography
Collaborative efforts with News Service: Retweeting Content, Instagram Takeover, Weekly Headlines Instagram Videos
Social Media R&D: Developing key skills to become a successful social media manager
Social Media Vending Machine—Fall 2015
National Media Of Honor
Health and Wellness: Stay in the Blue
#myhomecoming: Snapchat stories, Instagram content, encouraging hashtag usage

By examining the way content performs on a given platform and studying our demographics and how they engage with content on each network, UMSocial often tailors a single content theme across channels uniquely. In 2015 we relied frequently upon our storytelling initiatives to help us provide video in one place, still images in another, live tweeting or interactive dialogue hosting in another—then lastly, looping back home to our website for a full summary recaps of efforts.

Michigan’s 178th Birthday Springfest
MRelay Dance Marathon
GEazy Concert Spring Commencement
New Services Content via Instagram Softball Championship: FB and Twitter
#AskUmich Orientation
LinkedIn | Showcase pages CCRB remodel: Snapchat, Youtube, FB Video
Mcity Dedication: Snapchat, Twitter (Live-tweet), Instagram Video, Pinterest #InternDetroit: FB photo album, Twitter
Vending Machine: Photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Snapchat, YouTube U-M v. MSU: Snapchat PSA, Safe drinking WOAA, Alternative tailgate advertising
Homecoming: Snapchat, Starkid #UmichChat, #myhoMecoming Instagram, Facebook UM vs OSU: Instagram post, FB album
Giving Blueday: UMichChat, Instagram Takeover, UMichStudent student tweeter Diversity Summit: Snapchat Story, #UMichTalks


Our website turned one in February of 2015, celebrating a year of providing resources and information to our peers who have recognized it as a pillar of best practice within higher education. The most-viewed blog posting of the year was of course our in-depth case study of the hacking of three of our athletics Facebook pages. Praised for its transparency and timeliness, has evolved into a site that not only provides internal or higher ed communicators’ resources, but which also curates and explores the best and worst of social media for all.

#UMSocial’s Most A-Maize-Ing Campaigns Yik Yak Pledge
Monthly Recaps #UMichChat Recaps
Major/Minor Expo: LSA Collaboration How #UMSocial uses Slack
TedXUofM Coverage+ #GoBlueDhabi Guest Blog
Squirrel Appreciation Day Michigan Dining Guest Blog
Instagram Use Among Incoming Students Instagram Ambassador Program
Wolverines of Ann Arbor Monthly Recaps Social Vending Machine
Snap-A-Versery Dormspiration Launch
New Semester, New Geofilters! Linkedin for Higher Ed
Pumpkin Stencils One year of #UMichChat
Printable Ornaments WOAA yearly wrap-up
Hacked: A Case Study Year in Review

With the formation of the UMSocial Leadership Team in 2015, we were able to really begin to update and adopt many overarching strategies and best practices across campus. The guidelines, procedures, and tools ensure all accounts properly represent the university and our brand from conception to fruition. Supporting a unified approach to social media strategy, content creation, and analytics ensures quality communications across every platform and provides a clearer view of our return on investment.

Facebook Best Practices
LinkedIn Showcase Pages
Protecting the Brand
Reporting Best Practices
YouTube Best Practices
Annual Report
Social Leadership Team
Social Leadership Meetings
Orientation packet materials distribution
Monthly Analytics Reports (President Schlissel, LSA, Bentley, UMHS, & Global)
Implementation of Proactive Listening Platform – Digital Roots
Creation of Monthly Workshops
Establishment of Bi-weekly consultations (LSA, Athletics, UMHS)
Implementation of Amplify

Top 5 Posts – Facebook

Facebook continues to evolve as it aims to serve as the primary medium for connecting billions of people across the globe. In 2015, #UMSocial sought to elevate the tone of the U-M Facebook communities’ dialogue, provide a robust selection of all-encompassing content, and educate those who ‘Like’ us with thought-provoking features. The introduction of “Michigan Mondays” enabled us to showcase a prominent alumnus, faculty, or stakeholder each week, paired with an inspirational quote or context of achievement. The campaign incorporates the #MotivationMonday concept, inviting individuals to not only share in the acknowledgment of these leaders and best, but to share the uplifting message with others. Each image is also coordinated with national campaigns such as Black History Month or timely movements like #ILookLikeAnEngineer. Mid-year, we introduced our own version of personal narrative storytelling, “Wolverines of Ann Arbor” (WOAA). The ongoing campaign is modeled after the popular Humans of New York (HONY) series. WOAA allows us to showcase the voices of our community, from students to staff to faculty to fans. Like HONY, the impact of this content has reverberated with many, producing media articles and, in 2016, a potential gallery series.

#UMSocial plans to continue to explore new ways to engage our audiences and encourage positive online dialogue in the coming year, while also setting our sights on surpassing one million “Likes.”

Take a look back at our Top 5 highest performing Facebook posts in 2015:

5. U-M claims one of (if not the) largest alumni bases in the world. In 2015, an intentional effort was made to create content that recognize various holidays and milestones celebrated by our diverse and robust community. This included Lunar New Year, Diwali, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. Toward the latter part of the year, these “best wishes” messages evolved into animated gifs, which our community truly enjoyed. More than half a million people (551,491) received our Merry Christmas gif, which garnered 18,249 likes, comments, and shares.

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4. As Wolverines, we are truly grateful for the amazing opportunity to call a world-class institution home. The concept of Michigan as ‘hoMe’ echoes throughout many of our social media campaigns, instilling a sense of pride and nostalgia. As Wolverines gathered around their tables with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, we offered greetings from our ‘Big House’ to theirs. The post registered with 663,367 thankful community members and saw 27,763 likes, comments, and shares.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.55.21 PM

3. We recognize both Michigan moms and dads each year for all they do, but it was moms by far that captured the hearts of our followers. We like to think that our Mother’s Day post prompted all 792,064 of the users it reached to spread the love and gratitude to their mothers as well. The 35,731 likes, comments, and shares it received helped secure its spot as the third most popular post of 2015.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.56.43 PM

2. Game days are always great for content, but this post offered a unique spin. A very special young man, and an enormous fan of our #1 conference rival The Ohio State University received a lifesaving operation at the U-M Health System’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in 2015. His most pressing concern: would the doctors make his heart love maize and blue? Not only did this adorable kid and heartwarming story captivate 867,811 loyal Facebook fans, it also bridged rivalries and brought communities together. The post was liked, commented on, and shared 22,127 times.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.58.17 PM

1. Befitting U-M’s #1 status in the Big Ten, our post reflecting that ranking is also our #1 most popular content piece of 2015. Wolverines everywhere joined us in celebrating the recognition of U-M as the 22nd most prestigious higher educational institution in the world. Over 1.3 million people (1,327,415) saw the accolades, and 44,624 joined in liking, sharing, or commenting on the content.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.59.09 PM

Collectively, the U-M page reached over 75 million Facebook users in 2015, providing 1.5 million impressions, 1.1 million comments, and nearly 1 million likes.

Top 5 Posts – Twitter

Twitter continued to be a strong part of our social media strategy in 2015 and two of our most prominent regular campaigns, #UMichChat & #UMichTalks, helped contribute to another year of outstanding growth. After reaching the 100k milestone just before the end of 2014, we set our sight on 150,000. By year end @UMich had welcomed more than 45,000 new followers, just shy of our goal.

But followers and likes aren’t everything. A critical part of what we do is educating our communities on important programs, keeping them informed about and engaged with current events, and enabling increased transparency between faculty, leadership, and our online advocates. The increased popularity of our live interactive dialogues helps us do that, and has contributed to our trending within the state of Michigan on nearly a monthly basis.

Collectively, the thousands of tweets we authored this year garnered more than 28,000 retweets, 50,000 mentions, and 53,000 favorites. Below is a look at five of our highest-performing pieces of content in 2015:

1. Who doesn’t love a birthday party? U-M may be focused on ringing in our upcoming bicentennial, but our social following was just as happy to help us celebrate our 198th, enabling this collage to be viewed by nearly half a million people.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 2.34.10 PM2. One of our key goals as the overarching university account is to ensure the representation of all our outstanding schools, colleges, organizations, and events. Our content submission form on enables anyone to share an upcoming event or request our assistance in sharing via social. This tweet promoting a performance by American hip-hop artist G-Eazy hosted by Big Ticket Productions at the annual Block M Party really drew a crowd, viewed by more than 250,000 Twitter users.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 2.33.28 PM3. In the spring of 2014, our U-M social communities rallied together to show support for a member in need. This powerful lesson subsequently gave birth to a partnership with Yik Yak to promote and encourage positive online dialogue and proactive communities. The call to action reverberated throughout our user community and within higher education, resulting in 147,846 people who read about the partnership and its potential.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 2.32.14 PM4. Game days are fantastic days for tweets. Our dedicated athletics accounts provide live play-by-play updates for every sport. We also enjoy sharing key highlights and coordinating campaigns to encourage our fans and followers to do the same. The hashtag #myhoMecoming allowed us to curate content from Wolverines around the world eager to tell their stories, relive memories, and share in the celebrations.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 5.19.09 PM5. The year 2015 didn’t just signal the comeback of our football team: we had many outstanding student-athletes find success on the field. The U-M Women’s Softball Team 38 won Twitter’s heart with their journey to the College World Series. While the team did not win the final game, they represented our university on the main stage with pride and excellence, and the internet congratulated them enthusiastically.

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We look forward to continuing to bring you outstanding content in the coming year. Thank you being a part of our ever-growing, ever-evolving community!

Wolverines of Ann Arbor December Recap

What’s one of your favorite spots on campus? 

“I study at the Ugli almost every night during the week and usually all day on Sunday.The second floor is my favorite study spot on campus, even though there is a lot of talking and socializing. I feel like, if you’re going to be stuck doing homework, you might as well have a little bit of fun and surround yourself with others who are on the same struggle bus. Some of my closest friendships happened through bonding at the library: my “Ugli-friends.” In fact, I even networked at the Ugli and met someone who helped me get a job after I graduate! This is how I see it: when I graduate, I’m not going to remember the nights I studied at home, but the long nights I spent with friends studying our lives away together at the Ugli.”



If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would tell yourself? 

“I was a student at U-M in the early 1990s. I remember avoiding taking courses in which I thought I wouldn’t excel, even if I had an interest in the topic. Looking back I find that ridiculous for two reasons. First, you are not expected to be good at something before you have learned how to do it! The whole point of being at an educational institution is that you get to learn new things, often from scratch. You are not expected to be an expert on any topic walking into a classroom. Second, if you are not that good at a particular topic, then so what? Everyone is good at something and not as good at something else. Sometimes we limit ourselves because we fear not being good at something. I would tell my younger self to explore all of my interests and not to be concerned with how good or bad I was at something. This is advice that I would want to pass on to my students.”


Who are you?
“I grew up in Ann Arbor. I’ve lived here practically my entire life. I’m a graduate from Eastern and I’ve worked for Chipotle for about 6 years. It’s been quite awhile, that’s for sure.”

What are you studying?
“I got my Bachelor’s in Communications and I’m actually going to Wayne for this next semester for my Master’s in Public Relations and Organizational Communications.”

What’s your dream?
“I would love to pursue modeling in honesty. I really enjoy being a student, so that’s why I’m going back to school. But, I really enjoy modeling. I choose to model.”

What was the reaction from your Friends and Family when they learned about Chipotle Bae?
“They just tease me, calling me Chipotle Bae when I’m walking into a room. It’s always a lot of excitement because of it, so it’s always good fun.”

Has anyone recognized you at the store?
“Yea, a few people have. It’s not very often which is actually kind of nice.”

Did you realize you were everyone’s Chipotle Bae before the post?
“No, I had no clue. I had no idea.”

What’s your favorite thing to do?
“One of my favorite hobbies, in all honesty, is running. I really enjoy to run. I used to run track in high school. But, besides that, I play a lot of video games. Super Smash Brothers is my favorite.”

What level are you on?
“I’m the greatest Super Smash Brothers player ever. That’s my level.”

What’s your Chipotle Bae order?
“Okay, here it goes: You get the brown rice, because it’s more nutritious than the white rice. Typically the black beans. Steak of course. And then I’ll put cheese on top of the hot sauce, and then tomatoes, guac, and lettuce. That’s what’s in my bowl.”

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
“When I first started working at Chipotle, I was a huge flirt with a lot of my customers. I received a lot of criticism from my boss in front of the customers. So, it was always a little embarrassing. But, it was in good fun. It was definitely a big lesson about professionalism.”

Favorite color?

Favorite song?
“Electric Relaxation by A Tribe Called Quest.”

Favorite food, besides Chipotle?
“Lasagna. It has to be a meaty, cheesy ordeal.”

Where’s your favorite place in the world?

“Zanzibar is probably my favorite place in the world.”

Do you play any instruments?
“I play the piano a bit.”

Favorite season?
“Winter, for some weird reason. But, I have to give it up for Fall because I can run shirtless and it’s awesome. I get the most hardcore tans ever.”

What is the average day in the life of Chipotle Bae like?
“Okay, so typically, from the get go, I usually spend my morning trying to do productive things cause I’m not at work. So, I usually run, work out, and try to read and study. And then, from 4 o’clock on, it’s just, you know Chipotle.”

What are your long term goals?
“That’s a difficult question. For certain, I’m going to have my masters. My larger goal is figuring out where that fits into my plan, in all honesty. I’m really looking forward to studying the subject, but I’d really like to see where I can land myself.”

Did you always know that you wanted to go into Communications?
“Well, actually, it is a more recent thing. But, I definitely see myself more in that field.”

What’s your life motto?
“When there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Anything else you want to say?
“I hope I can see my more typical customers at the Washtenaw Location, since I’ve been moved to that location!”



What inspired you to create the Multi-Ethnic Student Society?

“Growing up biracial is tough- you never feel like you fit in anywhere. I expected it to be different in college but being biracial on this campus really began to wear on me. I had found different niches to fit into, but nowhere that I felt 100% myself; I was always compartmentalizing who I was to fit into whatever the environment called for. It was a classic case of the tragic mulatto, “too white to be black and too black to be white,” and I really felt like that no matter where I was on campus. So I decided to do something about it. Inspired by Mariah Carey’s “Outside,” I went about creating a multi-racial club.
Fast forward a couple weeks and lots of planning, persuading, and coercing later, the Multi-Ethnic Student Society was born. MESS was created in hopes of not only giving other multi-racial/multi-ethnic students somewhere they could feel completely comfortable but also to bring different ethnic backgrounds together to learn, share, and celebrate each other’s cultures.”


How has your end of the semester been?

“Really stressful because I though I would do well with all of my papers, but then I didn’t.”

How many papers did you have to write?

“I had to write two officially, but then create a portfolio that had all of my papers for the entire semester.”

Which class was that for?

“English 223, Creative writing. Most of my writings were about other people, which is really creepy, but it’s fine. They were mostly my friends. I titled the stories but their names, and really liked them. But, everyone said the titles were bad. My friends liked the stories. It was based on things that had happened to us.”

What are some ways you deal with the end of the semester stress?

“I just try to think about other stuff by getting distracted. Like, I just got this Oreo Blast for my roommate with whip cream on top and everything, but then it melted. I just went to the UGLI to look for her for about 10 minutes, but I couldn’t find her. And then, it got all over me, so now it’s a mess.”

Is it yours now?

“Nope, now it’s just a mess.”

Where’s your favorite study spot?

“My bed.”

Is there anything you tell yourself to through finals season?

“Not really, I kind of just pray for my grades.”


What are your favorite things about returning home? 
“So one of my favorite things is getting to see my family and my friends. I’m actually not too far away from here. I’m from Toledo, Ohio. But, one thing I love about being home is the sense of community and just the sense of comfort after being in a very stressful environment where you’re constantly competing. It’s really nice to just go home and relax and be able to be with family. Mine in particular is great because I have an older sister who’s 9 years older than me and she lives in California, so it’s really great for us to all be together. Her, me, my mom and my dad. One funny thing is that our Christmas tree in our basement has been there for three years straight so it’s always interesting to come home and see if it’s up, get some home cooked meals and we also travel during the holidays, which is a fun thing! We’re going to Atlantis this year, but I guess my favorite thing about being home is definitely that sense of warmth and comfort. And also just getting to unravel and see the bigger picture. I think when you’re in college and school you tend to have a focused mindset on ‘I need to do x, y, and z.’ and like say if it’s studying for an exam and you’re really stressed out about it, you’re really worried, and you feel like your life depends on it. Or maybe you’re applying for a job and feel like if this company doesn’t hire you, you don’t know what you’ll do. Going home, I feel like you definitely, at least for me, I tend to let go of those thoughts and needs and get to see the bigger picture and realize that if you start somewhere, you’re always going to end somewhere. At the end of the day, if that test or job interview doesn’t end up going how you wanted it to, you will always have another opportunity in the future. Being with family and friends who support that, is great especially cause, you know, my dad has always really encouraged to follow my passion and never give up, and my sister has always been there as a role model. And my mom has always been a big encourager and supporter. So, it’s great to be around that comfort and know that at the end of the day, succeed or fail, your family and friends will always support you. And secondly, they believe in you and going back to a place that really knows you and supports you, it always really fuels you up to make it through another semester.”

Do you have any funny family memories from around this time of year?
“One funny thing that happened was my family and I went to India, and of course since it’s super hot there, I packed all my really warm clothes and I didn’t realize that I forgot to pack winter boots. So, we get off the plane, walk out of the terminal and walk out of the airport, and that’s when I realized I am wearing flip-flops and socks, and I don’t have tennis shoes, I don’t have boots and it’s snowing outside. We’re in the middle of the Detroit airport, it’s freezing, everyone’s wearing boots, jackets and scarves, and I’m wearing my sandals and socks. So, I was super cold at the airport, and embarrassed. I just felt stupid. But, when we got home, and even after seeing the cultural difference, with it being cold and somewhat lonely after just leaving all of our family in India, we got home and on the counter we had a freshly cooked meal by our friends who surprised us! That was the only thing that I really needed to make me feel more at home. After leaving all of my relatives, and my family in India, coming back to that warmth to the knowledge that you have friends that are always there for you and who are like family, it just made me feel really warm, both figuratively and literally. I got home and didn’t really care about the fact that I forgot my winter boots.” 
“Coming to Michigan, I was actually the only one from my high school, so coming here I was very excited but also a little bit afraid. One experience that kind of changed my outlook on things was by joining APAC’s consulting club. And that was a great experience because I had actually never known too much about consulting before coming to Michigan. I thought I wanted to focus on marketing, but I joined this club on a whim and it taught me almost everything I know right now, and it was great because I was able to connect with other people who had that same passion and also learn a lot more. It was also really cool to be a part of it because I was able to help a client who had an idea about a product, and this semester, we’re actually able to have Zingermans as a client, and so, I was able to meet with Ari Zingerman with my team and tell him our recommendations. I learned a lot about myself, and my peers during that time! I also learned about the cool culture of Zingermans in Ann Arbor.

Another great experience I’ve been a part of is Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan. The reason I joined Dance Marathon, actually, was because back in India I have two cousins who have special needs. I joined not really knowing what to expect and jumped in right away as a dancer captain. Slowly throughout the year, I started realizing how great it was to have that community that I felt like I really needed, being the only one here from my high school. At the marathon, it was amazing because we stood for 24 hours without sitting and a lot of the people around me that felt like acquaintances before, really felt like family in the end because we really pushed each other and motivated each other to not sit down, but to stand. At the end when some of the kids came on stage, it really had a perspective change for me because I had always thought that coming to Michigan and school was a great opportunity. But, I never really valued it as much when I saw how another person has so much less they can do in life because of their disability or special need. So, it really just made me grateful and was a life changing experience. I’m really happy to be continuing it. I’m on the marketing team this year, and we’re working towards the marathon. I’ve definitely gotten to have that sense of community that you don’t find otherwise, and it’s really nice to have a community that supports each other for a common goal who wants to help others.”


How is celebrating Chanukah at Michigan?

Growing up, Chanukah was a special time in my house — it’s not a really religiously important holiday, like Rosh Hashana or anything, but was definitely a time for everyone to pause their day, light the menorah, eat latkes, and sing songs. And I’ve also found in my past three years here at Michigan that that’s how it is at school, too — even though it’s a hectic time of year, with everyone getting ready for finals, every night of Chanukah we lit the menorah in my apartment, and there was always a lot of stuff happening at Hillel, too. It’s just a festive time of year. We sing special tunes to the prayers that are unique to this time of year, and that kind of gives the same kind of warm fuzzy feeling you’d get when you hear Christmas music.

One of my favorite Chanukah customs is called “pirsumei neis,” which means “spreading the miracle.” We basically light the menorah and then place it in the window so it’s visible to everyone who walks by, which is kind of hard to do if you live in an apartment building, but we did it anyway. One meaning for that custom is that we should be proud to be Jewish and of our beautiful traditions and our incredible heritage. And the other meaning is that we should always be working to bring light into the world in whatever way we can. It’s also why Hillel and Chabad and other Jewish organizations on campus do those big, fun menorah lightings on the Diag — to face outward into the whole community and to share the light. Light is pretty much the underlying theme of Chanukah — creating it, sharing it, and spreading it.”


Are you a fan of New Year’s Resolutions? 
“Not particularly. I think the concept is great. A fresh start. A chance to do something you’ve always wanted. But, why do we all have to wait until the 1st of every year to celebrate the choice to do something good for ourselves? When I was little, I used to make a big deal about it and create a list of 10 things I wanted to change. But, like most of us, I didn’t stick to them and all that list did was make me feel disappointed in myself. I’ve since now realized that I don’t do well with the added pressure of New Year’s Resolutions. The best time for me to do what it is that I want to do is when I decide that that is the best time for me to do it. So, I like the idea of the new year and fresh start, but think that we need to understand that any day can be just a “refreshing” as January 1st.” 

What do you hope for 2016? 
“I am hoping 2016 is a better year for many people. I’m hoping we as a community can listen and speak kindly to one another to work together and push back against all that’s trying to divide us. There is so much going on in the world today. Just turn on the news and you hear about all the discrimination and sadness that people have to go through. I think we need to look back in history and learn from our mistakes instead of allowing them to repeat or continue on. 2015 and really, since forever, people have been speaking up and asking to be listened to. Why are we only hearing them, but not listening? You know?”

What are some resolutions you’ve made in the past?
“Growing up from a young age, the top thing on my list would be to lose weight. I’ve always struggled with how I view myself and was definitely that person who’d go to the gym for the first 2 months of the year and then stop. Like I said, I’m not that fond of the added pressure New Year’s resolutions put on people. I put enough pressure on myself to be “perfect”, and actually finally started being serious about taking care of my health this past spring when I was tired of letting myself down and found the time was right for me.”

#UmichChat tackles the future of mobility

Over the past two weeks, the automotive industry has been in the national spotlight as the 29th annual North American International Auto Show takes place in Detroit. So we thought this would be the perfect time to highlight the revolutionary breakthroughs in the future of mobility that are happening in our own backyard. We brought together a panel of mobility experts who shed light on U-M’s role in shaping the future of driverless vehicles.

Three U-M faculty members lent their voices to the conversation: Ed Olson (@MichiganEngineering), assistant professor of computer science; Carol Flannagan (@cacflannagan), interim director of UMTRI (the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute); and Anuj Pradhan, UMTRI research scientist. Our panel also included two experts from the industry: Trish Polinski (@trishpolinski), senior vice president of business development and strategy at Xerox, and Erica Klampfl (@ericaklampfl), global mobility solutions manager at Ford.

Our panelists provided critical insight on the enormous societal impact that driverless technology could ultimately have, and on how Mcity could serve as a critical component of mobility research. The conversation quickly picked up traction as auto enthusiasts from around the country tuned in, and spread the word about the chat.

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Over the course of the conversation, #UMichChat generated 650,000 total impressions and an estimated audience of more than 400,000 people. Additionally, our hashtag was the #1 trending topic in the region. These metrics allow us to conclude that our content was both far-reaching and well received.


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In case you missed it, a full archive of the conversation is available on Storify. We hope you’ll join us next month for another great #UMichChat!

This post was written by Sarah Barnitt, #UMSocial intern and Bachelor of Science in Information junior. #StaySocial with her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahbarnitt