Correction appended: An earlier version of this story inaccurately identified E. Royster Harper. She is the University’s vice president for student affairs.
With a marimba playing, food flowing and students, faculty and staff mingling, University leaders gathered yesterday to celebrate the completion and opening of North Quadrangle.
The housewarming, for the University’s newest residence hall and academic center, included speeches from key administrators, student activities, tours and a reception.
Speaking at the event, E. Royster Harper, the University’s vice president for student affairs, called the new facility a “vibrant center for teaching, learning and discovering.”
Harper also shared her excitement for the new facility, the first new residence hall at the University in over four decades.
“It’s been 43 years since we last opened a new residence hall and I imagine there was a great deal of excitement among the first residents of Bursley Hall,” Harper said to a light laughter in the audience.
“One of the things about a housewarming is that you get to feel the very people in the woodwork and it’s what makes the building or the home so different, when you have family and guests here,” she added.
University Provost Philip Hanlon also spoke at the event, saying North Quad offered the University community an entirely new type of facility to grow in.
“Say what you will about the North Quad, one thing you have to admit is it’s really different,” Hanlon said. “It’s unlike anything this University has ever tried before.”
At the center of the innovative University building, Hanlon said, is the strong connection between living and learning.
“Imagine in this one magnificent facility, we’re housing an upper-class residence hall, three of our best academic units, two of our busiest academic support units, this swanky dining hall, as well as advanced media and technology in the classrooms and common spaces,” Hanlon said, looking out over the crowd gathered at the event. “Those are the pieces we’ve thrown together in North Quad and the glue is the global engagement theme.”
University President Mary Sue Coleman was also on hand at the event, echoing Hanlon’s comments and challenging residents to embrace the unique opportunities and resources offered by the North Quad facility.
“This afternoon’s housewarming is really for the residents and faculty and staff, the students who are living and learning in the North Quad, but it’s an exciting day for all of us at the University,” she said. “The promise and potential is limitless.”
Following Coleman’s remarks, several University officials gathered on stage to tie a string of flags together, a gesture to the global living and learning emphasis that will be the hallmark of North Quad.
And while most of those in attendance were faculty and staff, several students were on hand to take part in the festivities.
LSA senior Tanya Zora, a part of the residence hall staff at North Quad, also spoke at the event. Zora said that in her experience, having lived in Alice Lloyd, West Quad, East Quad, and Baits residence halls, North Quad offered the best experience.
“I feel like out of all the residence halls I’ve lived in, North Quad has really encapsulated what I want out of my experience at Michigan,” Zora said.
But Zora wasn’t the only student at the event who gave the new facility high marks.
LSA junior Ramya Purushothaman, who lives in North Quad and attended yesterday’s event, said she enjoys living in the new residence hall.
“I like it so far,” Purushothaman said. “The rooms are nice, the people are nice, the cafeteria is alright.”
However, Purushothaman, who previously lived in West Quad, said she’s still adjusting to her new home.
“In some ways (it’s) better, but I still need to get used to it,” she said, comparing her experience in North Quad to that in West Quad. “I guess I expected it to be a little different, but overall it’s a good experience.”
Engineering senior Ashley Pollock, who has lived in Stockwell and Mary Markley residence halls, said she enjoys the atmosphere of North Quad.
“I think it feels more like a community,” Pollock said, explaining the smaller dining hall and Global Scholars Program provide students with a more intimate setting.
She added: “There’s obviously a lot of technology around that you wouldn’t really see in Stockwell or Markley, like Wi-Fi and air conditioning.”