By SARAH LEWIS, Editor-in-Chief
ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Managing Editor
In Fall 2013, students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn will proudly be able to say “It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine.”
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Dearborn have been discussing collaboration of the universities’ athletics during the last year, and it was agreed a mascot name association would help unite the campuses.
Growing campus life, including intramural, recreational, and varsity sports would be a “collateral benefit” for both commuters and future housing residents. “It’s a great time to think about making this change with housing coming up in the fall. We want what we do for housing to be available for all of our students,” Vice Chancellor Stanley E. Henderson said.
According to Henderson, the idea was conceived when Dearborn Athletic Director Steve Rotta and Ann Arbor Athletic Director David Brandon had a conversation about further collaboration between the athletic departments.
“It seemed like there really wasn’t a bad side to doing it. The disadvantages are so minimal; you have to say, ‘Well, why wouldn’t we do it?’” Henderson said.
Brandon saw that changing the name to Wolverines would increase opportunities for Dearborn athletics including use of retired Ann Arbor sports equipment, uniforms, and occasional use of Ann Arbor athletic facilities.
“All the options available for our name being Wolverines make it an easy decision. Whether it is additional athletic resources or the marketing opportunities across campus that it will create, the Wolverine brand is really something that University of Michigan has turned into one of the most recognizable names across the country. I look forward to seeing the name change being a huge advantage for this campus in the future,” Student Government President Dennis Lienhardt said.
A survey was taken by over 1,100 faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and emeriti faculty about a united athletics systems and conversion of Wolves to Wolverines. According to Henderson there was “overwhelming support from each group approached about the name change.”
“Just like any other students, us in Student Government knew this was an option they were considering to pursue. It’s an option I felt very strongly for, and I think it will be a great decision moving forward,” Lienhardt said.
Henderson brought up an argument that was put forth that the Dearborn identity would be “subsumed” by Ann Arbor. Although, according to the survey, 87 percent felt the collaboration would benefit UM-Dearborn athletics and 77 percent already identify themselves as Wolverines.
“We’re matching what people already think,” Henderson said.
“I’m very excited for the name change to the Wolverines. While I’m a proud student at UM-Dearborn, the name change really reflects us being a large part of the University of Michigan community,” Lienhardt said.
With the change comes new branding for the UM-Dearborn campus, which will be developed before Fall 2013.