For most University of Michigan students, the first home football game looked different than it usually would. In the East Quadrangle dorms (made up mainly of members of the LSA’s Residential College), students resorted to watching the game on laptops and dorm televisions instead of in the Big House.
This year, students cannot attend games in person, and the University’s recent crackdown enforcing the stay-at-home order put even more pressure on game-watching plans. Complying with the restrictions, students in East Quad avoided gathering in dorms.
Despite these constraints, East Quad residents and staffers made do in a variety of ways. A group of freshmen watched the game on a laptop in the building’s lower level lounge.
“We all would have been there,” said Henry, a freshman in the Ross School of Business, shaking his head. His friends nodded in agreement; this was not how they expected to watch their first home Michigan game of college.
The game was playing on the television behind East Quad’s Community Center desk, while the RAs working in the mail room watched on another laptop.
Deanna Miree, the Resident Adviser of Hayden House on the first floor, said that any other year she would have requested a different shift so she could attend the game. This year, however, she multitasked, sorting mail with one eye on the score.
In the staff lounge in the RC’s basement, several dining hall workers watched on a big TV. For them, they said, this was normal — they would be working even if in-person attendance was allowed.
Though subdued, the spirit of game day was still in the air. Many students wore football jerseys, and sports bars showed the game on large street-facing televisions. On the blocks surrounding East Quad, many restaurants played the game on sidewalk-facing televisions.
The empty Big House had no effect on Rié, Aarushi and Bea, residents of East Quad who sat at a table near Henry and his friends, working on homework as they would on any other Saturday. If this were any other year, they said, they still would not have gone — just not football fans.
When the game ended unfavorably for the Wolverines, a friend of Henry’s found a silver lining: At least they had not paid for tickets.