FLINT — The setting was ideal. While the University’s Board of Regents convened in Flint Thursday for their monthly meeting, they approved a $6 million property acquisition for the University’s satellite campus here.
The 160,000-square-foot office building is located directly adjacent to the UM-Flint campus at 328 S. Saginaw St. The purchase also includes a north-south connector between buildings, a skywalk and an adjacent parking structure.
Previously owned by FirstMerit Corporation Bank, the building is part of a three-building complex. UM-Flint administrators said the purchase will provide needed classroom and administrative space to accommodate the campus’ rising student enrollment.
University President Mark Schlissel said Thursday he hopes the purchase will facilitate program growth as well as allow for the addition of new student resources.
“It’s a wonderful, opportunistic purchase, and I applaud the groups that came together to make this happen,” he said.
During the meeting, the regents also heard from Douglas Knerr, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UM-Flint. He highlighted the success of engaged learning on campus and introduced UM-Flint students Sean Tabor and Jennifer Wenzlick, who started Ground Floor Market, a recently-opened business in downtown Flint.
While interning at SkyPoint Ventures, a company owned by UM-Flint donors, Wenzlick and Tabor were challenged to start a business of their own. They soon opened Ground Floor Market, a sandwich shop located on Saginaw Street in Flint.
“We walked into a completely blank canvas with only the knowledge that we learned in the classroom on how to run a business,” Wenzlick said. “Luckily we’ve had such tremendous support from our professors, who were always ready and available for us whenever we had questions, whether it came to accounting or bookkeeping and for that we really thank the University.”
She added that the name, Ground Floor Market, signifies not only SkyPoint Ventures’ hope that the store will motivate economic growth in Flint, but also their hope that the shop is just the start of Wenzlick's and Tabor’s entrepreneurial careers.
Student government reports
Student government leaders from both Ann Arbor and Flint also delivered reports to the regents Thursday.
Amged Eidelsafy, UM-Flint’s student government president, discussed the need for more internship opportunities for students on campus, calling for an initiative to encourage more recruiters to consider connecting with UM-Flint students.
“Each campus receives a University of Michigan education, but we don’t all have access to University of Michigan opportunities, and it shouldn’t be based on which campus students are coming from,” Eidelsafy said.
Members of the Board also received an update from CSG Vice President Steven Halperin, an LSA junior.
Halperin said CSG is currently working with faculty and administration to make course evaluations accessible to students when they are registering for classes. CSG hopes this will help students make better informed decisions when completing their schedules. The release of course evaluation data has recently generated debate within the University’s Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, who have called on the University to delay the release of this data.
Halperin also noted that throughout the month of October, CSG is partnering with other campus groups to host roundtables focusing on sexual assault policy. Halperin thanked E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, and Holly Rider-Milkovich, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, for their support and efforts to collaborate on combatting sexual assault on campus.