13 Things You Didn't Know…

1. Roll Out the Welcome Mat

The EMU Board of Regents approved initial steps in a plan that significantly upgrades on-campus student housing. This three-year $200 million initiative, dubbed Welcome Home 2025,” includes the construction of high-quality and affordable new housing facilities and renovations to existing housing. The signature element will be a new 400-bed apartment-style residence hall next to the Student Center. Keeping student needs in mind, the new and renovated units will include state-of-the-art technology that meets the demands of today’s academic world.

2. Chill New Name

EMU’s home arena is now named after George “The Iceman” Gervin. The George Gervin GameAbove Center had been called the Convocation Center for 24 years until the name change in December 2021. Gervin starred for the EMU men’s basketball team from 1970-72 and he was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1996. The second portion of the new name—GameAbove—is a nod to a team of passionate EMU alumni who have made unprecedented contributions to support Eastern students and faculty.

3. $2.2 Million in 24

Last November, 800 donors raised more than $2.2 million in just 24 hours during EMU’s annual day of giving: #GIVINGTRUEDAY. These funds—which will benefit a variety of scholarships, programs and services—represent the greatest day of giving in Eastern’s history. Matching and leadership challenge gifts helped bolster the campaign. EMU Student Government matched all donations up to $10,000 made to the EMU Student Emergency Fund. Emeritus regent and EMU alumnus Phil Incarnati was among those who made a significant leadership gift on the record-setting day.

4. The Most Convenient Test on Campus

To help minimize exposure to COVID-19 in the campus community, Eastern is offering free and convenient coronavirus testing to students, faculty and staff. The COVID Testing Center offers a self-administered, non-invasive rapid test. Results are available within a couple of hours. EMU medical laboratory science and exercise science students process the tests. Since it’s easy to sign up and walk in for free test, Eastern hopes to keep a handle on small COVID outbreaks while providing an easier alternative to visiting a medical or urgent care center.

5. Moving On Up

The U.S. News & World Report recently recognized Eastern as one of the nation’s best universities for social mobility. EMU ranked 82nd among 391 national universities. The news outlet based its rankings on the opportunities colleges offer disadvantaged students through federal Pell Grants. Students who struggle economically are less likely than others to finish college. Recognizing this, EMU offers partial forgiveness of outstanding debt owed to the university after completing 30 hours of volunteer service. Students can also learn skills essential to achieving financial security through university-led financial literacy programs.

6. Autonomous Olli

Don’t panic if you see a driverless vehicle on campus. It’s just Olli. The “Eagle Shuttle,” as it is known at Eastern, is a low-speed, electric, self-driving vehicle that transports students and other passengers to various spots on campus and in the community. This initiative, developed through the (EMU) GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology, includes the opening of research and development space at the American Center for Mobility (ACM) in Ypsilanti. EMU engineering and technology students have hands-on experience with the two Olli vehicles on campus while conducting research on autonomous vehicle cybersecurity in the ACM space.

7. Art Collective

The impressive works produced by students in Eastern’s School of Art and Design will only become more inventive and inspired with the 2023 opening of a new 3D Arts Complex on campus. Presently, programs in sculpture, ceramics, furniture design, digital fabrication, 3D design, and metalsmithing are spread across several campus buildings. A $2.2 million grant from the Windgate Foundation with matching funds of $400,000 in fundraising from the EMU Foundation, along with $2 million from EMU, will support the $4.6 million project. The dynamic and highly functional space will advance opportunities for students by establishing a collaborative and creative environment for artmaking.

8. Cross Country Three-peat

When it matters most, EMU’s men’s Cross Country team comes through. Eastern dominated the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships last October from start to finish, winning its third consecutive conference title. Eight Eagles finished in the top 20, including junior Baldvin Magnusson, who earned his first individual MAC title by placing first in the 8K race. The Iceland native became the first Eastern runner to claim the MAC top spot since 2017.

9. Hip Historian

A lecture by Kevin Boyle is hardly a simple recitation of historical names and dates. As the McAndless Distinguished Professor Chair in the Humanities at EMU for 2021-22, he delivers messages about how we got to be who and where we are. Boyle, who is professor of American History at Northwestern University, has led student workshops at Eastern on themes centered on historical research and writing methods, the craft of writing historical narratives, and translating history into cinema.

10. Virtual Reality Isn't Just for Games

Good health starts at home. Unfortunately, obstacles in the physical environment and cultural beliefs and practices creates health inequities for Asian Americans. Eastern’s nursing program is working to change that by helping students learn best practices to improve patient outcomes. The program received a $72,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop clinical simulation tools like 360-degree videos and virtual reality simulation. These innovative teaching strategies will help students better understand the health experiences of Asian Americans as well as the social determinants of health, cultural awareness and health literacy.

11. International Honors

Carla Damiano, professor of German, received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany—the highest tribute the country can give to individuals for service to the nation. German governmental officials honored her during a Ceremony of Bestowal held on the Eastern campus. The awardees recognized Damiano for her career-long commitment to furthering the German language and literature in the United States, supporting German students, and the role she plays in academic exchange and keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive.

12. Smart Policing

For many years, communities of color have experienced harsh and unjust treatments from police departments across the country. Now, Eastern is helping to address those inequalities and promote transformation in public safety. EMU’s Southeast Michigan Criminal Justice Policy Research Project (SMART) is providing technical guidance and training to local groups to create community-driven, substantive changes in the way local law enforcement agencies perform policing and public safety services. Collaborating agencies include the Ann Arbor Police Department and Independent Community Police Oversight Commission, the East Dearborn Downtown Development Association, and the Eastern Michigan University Public Safety Oversight Committee.

13. How Does Free Tuition Sound?

The smile in the Amazon corporate logo just grew a little wider for the company’s 750,000 hourly employees. That’s because they now can enjoy full college tuition funding through the company’s Career Choice partnerships program. Michigan employees of the online retail giant have access to classes to Eastern as well as three other educational institutions in the state. The program partners with more than 140 universities nationwide. With classes offered in fully-remote as well as in-person and hybrid formats, even more prospective students across Michigan have the opportunity to fulfill their dream of earning a degree from Eastern.