University of Michigan-Dearborn ushered in a new era in student life September 1 as more than 400 students moved into The Union at Dearborn. The privately owned complex is the first housing option specifically designed for UM-Dearborn students in more than 25 years.
“It was an exceptional day for our students as they will now have the opportunity to experience residential life while pursuing their studies,” said Chancellor Daniel E. Little. “This was also a great day for the campus community, bringing to fruition many years of hard work aimed at providing our students with a housing option.”
For students like Nick Church, the desire for a residential college experience was a huge draw to The Union. Church, a junior mechanical engineering student, had been living with his parents in Allen Park.
“I decided to live at The Union because I was looking more for that total college life experience. With living so close to campus and becoming part of The Union community, I am hoping that school can become more of a ‘lifestyle,’” he said.
That lifestyle includes attending campus events and getting to know his new neighbors at The Union.
Maria Rodriguez, a sophomore marketing/pre-business student from Dearborn Heights, echoed Church’s sentiments as she moved into her apartment. And as a student-athlete, the proximity to campus will let her make the most of her spare moments.
“I felt like living on campus would be a good experience,” she said. “And now I can stop at the apartment between classes and practice.”
Construction of the complex took just less than a year to complete, as developer Urban Campus Communities (UCC) broke ground last September. On August 21 of this year, UCC joined with UM-Dearborn and community members for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This project, we believe, will be transformative to the future of campus and to the nature of student life on campus,” Little said during the ceremony.
Little believes The Union will lay the foundation for enrollment growth. Already, The Union has welcomed students from across Michigan and from 11 different states.
Students by area of residence (as of Aug. 15):
- Wayne County: 145 students
- Oakland County: 62 students
- Washtenaw County: 22 students
- Macomb County: 17 students
- All other Michigan counties: 25 students
- United States (outside of Michigan): 11 students
- International: 90 students
A large portion of The Union will be open to all members of the university community. UM-Dearborn has leased 15,000 square feet within the facility for student life activities, called The Victors’ Den. The area includes informal gathering spaces, meeting and study rooms, a performance space and several student life offices.
“The majority of students will continue to commute to campus, but The Union and Victors’ Den will bring a breath of fresh air to what we know as student life,” Wedad Ibrahim, student government president, said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The Union now allows for a place where students can continue their growth as individuals and as agents of change on this campus.”