Current’s Guide to College

It’s a quasi-comprehensive survival manual to help you make the most out of your college experience in/around the Ann Arbor area. We put this together to help you learn something, before you have to go to class and pretend like you’re learning something.

If you’re looking for a spot to study, Elle Kay compiled U-M and EMU’s best nooks and forums in which to book down (or nap). Because you’re up late either cramming for an exam or inebriated enough to crave high-lipid snacks, Chris Crowder has you covered on some of Ann Arbor’s quintessential late-night eats. And when your parents are in town, we’ve found the most expensive menu items at restaurants around town that are usually otherwise outside of your budget. (Unless you’re one of those trust fund students whose grandfather has a building named after him, then you can eat a steak whenever you want!) In case you feel like jamming out while you’re in school, Adam Theisen has tips on how to start a band at U-M.

Our Playbook highlights some big-time sporting events outside of football, preview a one-of-a-kind skateboarding/jazz performance (Yeah, you read that right) and talk all about tailgating at the Big House.

We also have an interview with U-M president Mark Schlissel. (You guys, he’s THE PRESIDENT.)

So dive in and enjoy. You’re going to do great.


Mark Schlissel Takes Our Questions

U of M’s chief executive on music, books and diversity

You may know him as the man in a crisp suit wearing an avuncular grin (see right), but University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel runs the show. Current caught up with him via email to figure out what a typical day looks like and what he’s doing to improve diversity on campus. 

Describe your daily routine?  What does a typical day look like for Mark Schlissel?

I’ve been here two years, and not one of those days has been routine! That’s one of the reasons I love the job. On any given day, I could be meeting with alumni in Detroit, talking to students in Dearborn, learning about faculty partnerships with the Flint community, hearing about patient lives being saved in our health system, cheering on our student-athletes, or enjoying a performance by our students or the University Musical Society. I tell people all over the state that I have the best job in all of higher education.

What was the last book you read, or what book would you recommend?

One of my favorite books is Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography, My Beloved World. It is inspiring to read the words of such an influential leader who embodies my belief that talent is uniformly distributed among all parts of society, but opportunity most certainly is not. I just finished reading The Only Woman in the Room by Eileen Pollack, one of our faculty members. It’s about her experiences studying physics and math as an undergrad at Yale, and more generally about the challenges faced by women who aspire to career in science.

How are you working with the University community to improve diversity and race relations on campus?

For more than a year, we have been developing strategic plans in our various units to promote diversity, equity and inclusion – and an overall university-wide plan will be finalized in the fall. The work has been challenging but rewarding. We organized a multitude of forums and other opportunities to allow members of our community to have the difficult conversations that are needed to really tackle an issue of this importance. I’m proud of how we have come together as a university.

We don’t always agree, but the commitment has been inspiring. I am hopeful that our work will lead to a better Michigan. While developing the plans, we have also launched promising new initiatives to help us reach and recruit the most talented students from all communities in the state. You may have heard of our Wolverine Pathways initiative and our HAIL Scholarship program. Both have been successful in the early stages. We are able to reach students we previously had not been able to.

What was your favorite class in college?
Two—my first molecular biology class at Princeton taught by a great scientist, Arnold Levine, and a class on the American Presidency taught by an expert in that arena, Fred Greenstein.

What‘s the most unusual UM spirit item you own? How‘d you acquire it?
I recently acquired and polished my very own Petoskey stone during a family trip to Camp Michigania, a wonderful site on Walloon Lake owned and operated by the University of Michigan Alumni Association. Petoskey stones embody the natural history, and geological richness of our state. In a way, they tell a story, and they are as uniquely Michigan as U-M.

This interview has been
edited for brevity.

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