New addition of UMich LSA building strengthens physical presence on campus

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A few dozen members of the University of Michigan community gathered at the LSA Building on Friday morning for the dedication of its new addition more than a year and a half after the addition opened in January 2020.

LSA Dean Anne Curzan began the dedication with a speech on the need for $ 35 million in renovations and the usefulness of the new space. Curzan said the addition now allows LSA to have a physical presence on campus that it did not previously have.

“We have sometimes said that until recently LSA was both everywhere and nowhere,” said Curzan. “What if you ask the students, ‘Where is LSA? They gave you that look, like ‘What kind of a question is that?’ and they would say sometimes, “Maybe the fish bowl?” because that was a difficult question to answer.

Curzan said this addition gives LSA students a real home and community on campus. She noted that the building now houses various services and organizations for LSA students, including the LSA Opportunity Hub, LSA Student Government, and LSA Scholarships Office, among others.

The new addition features huge windows and a prominent glass staircase. Curzan compared it to the LSA building before the addition, which she recalls using as a college graduate student.

“We’re just thrilled that this space has been transformed and that we already have students who will never experience this ocean of linoleum,” said Curzan.

Next, Curzan introduced University Regent Jordan Acker (D), Chairman of the Board of Regents, who graduated from LSA in 2006. Acker said the LSA building was under construction throughout. her time in college, but that dedication has a special place in her heart because of her connection to college.

“I have to say it makes me a little jealous to see less linoleum and more nice bricks and nice windows that we have here today,” Acker said. “It really invites the liberal arts community to collaborate, access the full range of LSA resources and connect in a comfortable setting, and that’s where great ideas are born. ”

University President Mark Schlissel spoke after Acker, commenting on the importance of the liberal arts. Schlissel said the new space will enhance the experiences of LSA students by providing a space for them to interact and use various LSA organizations.

“With so much conflict and injustice, with ethical dilemmas and thorny societal issues demanding our attention, the ability of the liberal arts to create fully and widely educated people remains more essential than ever,” Schlissel said. “This addition reinforces its importance, as its impact will far exceed the 21,000 new square feet. “

Schlissel also recognized the addition’s Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification – this is the University’s 17th LEED certification. project – and its various green features, including windows that deter birds from colliding with them.

The dedication then focused on LSA students, with a speech by LSA student government president Tyler Watt, an LSA senior.

Watt discussed what LSA SG has accomplished since the start of the pandemic, including funding dozens of student organizations. He said the new space would provide a home for LSA SG and allow them to be better connected to their constituency.

After the event, Watt said in an interview with the Michigan Daily that he hadn’t thought about LSA’s previous lack of a centralized location on campus until Curzan reported it.

“This building, I guess it represents the heart of the College of LSA, a center of the College of LSA,” Watt said. “And I think it’s very precious, for each diploma unit to have its hub.”

Watt said he particularly enjoyed the performances of LSA junior Giovanni Smith, who read an original poem during the program, and LSA junior Cecilia Duran, who closed the event with an original song called “Barcelona” about her experience. move to Ann Arbor from Barcelona.

“I am very grateful that the administration is interested in having the students participate, both myself and the artists,” Watt said. “I think it shows that they want this to be a space for everyone, especially the students, so it was exciting for me.”

LSA sophomore Peter Tam is an elected representative of LSA’s student government who said he appreciated the performance of the students as well. Tam said he felt Duran’s song was particularly meaningful to him, as he also moved to Ann Arbor from New York.

“I think it was a big event,” Tam said. “Very good turnout for something like this, especially since it’s in the middle of the semester and mid-term is approaching. It’s great to see people coming here, great to see people supporting the LSA building .

Daily Staff Reporter Eli Friedman can be contacted at [email protected].


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