Recreational Sports and University Unions

Students planning with architects

Over 100 years ago, the University of Michigan was the founder of the recreational sports and student union movements in the U.S. and built the first facilities dedicated to these purposes. The Intramural Sports Building is the oldest recreation building in the nation and the Michigan Union is the third oldest student union in the nation.

Michigan is one of the few institutions in the country that has multiple Recreational Sports and University Unions facilities to serve the needs of students and the larger campus community. Although many universities have one of each facility, Michigan has three unions (Michigan Union, Michigan League, & Pierpont Commons) and three recreation centers across campus (IMSB, CCRB, & NRCB). Together, these facilities serve as vibrant centers for student life, where students learn to lead, make healthy choices, and engage in co-curricular pursuits.  

In 2011 student leaders from the Michigan Union Board of Representatives (MUBR) and the Advisory Committee for Recreational Sports (ACRS) formed a new student coalition called Building a Better Michigan (BBM). Their goal was to raise awareness of the facilities, now aged and no longer meeting the needs of today's student. These students advocated that these Unions and Recreational facilities were vital to the student experience at Michigan and were in desperate need of upgrades.  BBM advocated for a student fee of $130 per semester to support the much needed renovations in the rec and union facilities and the Board of Regents approved a $65 per semester fee. Along with MUBR and ACRS, BBM has provided input to ensure that these projects truly support the needs of students.

So far, this initiative has renovated the dining area at Pierpont Commons to create the Fireside Cafe  and made significant improvements to Mitchell Fields. Currently underway is the IMSB project and the Michigan Union is in the concept planning stages.  We are also planning renovation to the NCRB and the CCRB. During the meetings with architects, we are excited to have student representatives at the table who give voice to their experience as well as reach out to other students for their insights and perspectives on the aspects of the renovations.

Through the renovations, we continue to keep the student experience at the core. We know that the work being completed through this initiative will impact the health, wellness, leadership, and civic engagement for Wolverines now and in the future.