For those who missed Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Friday’s
Michigras provided a carnival atmosphere and a chance for
University students to introduce their younger siblings to campus
life in the Michigan Union.

The purpose of Michigras, which included a casino, live music
and an exotic animal display, is to entertain students’
siblings in the historic Michigan Union, which is celebrating its
100th anniversary this year, said LSA senior Lisa Pang, a member of
the Michigan Union Program Board.

“Michigras has always been a tradition here in the
Union,” she said. “As usual, we just want to reach out
to the campus community.”

The Detroit Project, the Golden Key National Honor Society and
the Persian Students Association volunteered to host activities for
Michigras, a springtime tradition that dates back to 1937.

A restaurant by day, the Union’s University Club featured
live music during the evening. Jake Gerard, a student at Western
Michigan University, explained that his band, Albatross, was
excited to play for the students and their siblings.
“Hopefully they will enjoy our playing and have a good
time,” he said.

The Pendleton Room of the Union was home to games including
“Tip a Troll” and “Pepsi Toss,” as well as
a display of exotic animals. While fifth grade student Mariah
Robinette recoiled from having an albino Burmese python placed
around her neck, she consented to a picture taken with the thick
yellow snake. She said that her favorite part of Michigras was
hanging out with her sister, LSA senior Jessica Chaise.

LSA junior Evan Major, a member of the Detroit Project,
presented students and their siblings with twists of blue cotton
candy. Sporting a shiny green mask, Major said he felt Michigras
was a chance for siblings to come together and enjoy a night of
fun. “The point of this event is to foster better
relationships between siblings and give them a chance to experience
college,” he said.

Meanwhile, fifth grade student Katie Steiner waited patiently to
have her picture taken in the antique photo room. “I want to
dress up as a European queen,” Steiner declared. She added
that she was happy to visit her sister, LSA freshman Karen Milam.
“She invited me, and I wouldn’t say no to my

The Persian Students Association transformed the Kuenzel Room of
the Union into a casino with poker, blackjack and roulette tables.
Engineering sophomore Amin Farokhrani said his group hoped to raise
money for the city of Bam, Iran, where about 43,000 people were
killed in an earthquake last December. “We’re trying to
raise awareness of the disaster and also trying to get our culture
out,” he said.

Students were able to buy casino chips and later redeem them for
raffle tickets. The prizes for the raffle included a DVD player and
two tickets to the Persian Cultural Show on March 27.

The event was sponsored by the Michigan Union Program Board, the
Residence Hall Association’s Siblings Weekend and Michigan
Union Arts and Programs.

The Union Ballroom featured an inflated obstacle course and
boxing ring, as well as a bungee cord race. Engineering freshman
Laura Lacasse and her brother Kevin Lacasse were a few of the many
students and younger siblings who enjoyed these activities.

“I don’t get to see her very often, and I like to
spend time with her,” said Kevin Lacasse, a fifth grade
student, as he and his sister prepared for a match in the boxing
ring with inflatable helmets and gloves.

Twin brothers Alonzo and Brennon Edwards, 11th grade students,
accompanied their sister Rayna Edwards, an LSA freshman, during
Michigras. Brennon Edwards said he was considering the University
as one of his college choices. “I like the academic prestige
of Michigan,” he said. “I’ve been enjoying all
the people on campus and the free stuff.”

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