Cabin fever? Some suggestions for things to do on campus


Another long winter is nearly done. You’re ready for fun, and so is the family.

So shake off those winter blues and explore activities available on campus. See a live music or theater performance, a new museum exhibit, or bring the family to campus to see student athletes compete.

Here are five popular things to do on the Ann Arbor campus, in coming weeks and beyond:

1. See a School of Music,​ Theatre & Dance show

“It is refreshing to slow down, take a time-out, and absorb a great SMTD performance,” says David Munson Jr., Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, who attends performances often.

“SMTD has a world-class faculty and student body. It is a special treat to see student performers who are destined to become stars on the national performing arts scene.”

Former Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid Sheldon says she and her husband, Cliff Sheldon, have attended SMTD shows for more than 20 years.

“We are getting first-class entertainment just a few miles down the road and it’s one of the reasons living in Ann Arbor is as special as it is,” she says.

The University Symphony Orchestra, University Philharmonia Orchestra, University Opera Theater and other student orchestras and ensembles, and U-M and guest faculty perform at venues including Hill Auditorium, Britton Recital Hall at SMTD’s Moore Building, and Stamps Auditorium in the Walgreen Drama Center. Most events are free.

Go to, for details. Highlights include the Jazz Showcase concert at 7:30 p.m. April 12 at Rackham Auditorium (ticketed).

The University Musical Society also presents live performances of professional touring musicians, dance companies and more, September through April.

This 2014 production of “Les Miserables” was one of various offerings by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. (Photo by Peter Smith Photography)

2. See exhibits

The U-M Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History and Kelsey Museum of Archaeology offer free exhibits (donations accepted).

The Kelsey Museum now through May 3 presents “Death Dogs: The Jackal Gods of Ancient Egypt.”

“These gods are immediately identifiable symbols of ancient Egypt, but their specific identities and roles are often unclear,” says Terry Wilfong, professor of Egyptology and exhibition curator.

Opening May 2 is the UMMA exhibit “Sophie Calle: North Pole,” on the French conceptual artist’s trip to honor her mother.

The Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design presents exhibits of student, faculty or alumni work at various times and locations.

The U-M Health System’s Gifts of Arts presents art in exhibit spaces in UMHS facilities, and 12:10 p.m. music performances most Thursdays at the University Hospital.

3. Watch U-M athletes compete

“We have 31 varsity teams representing the University of Michigan Athletic Department. There are a wide variety of activities to attend with tickets that are affordable for families, and some events that are free to the public,” says David Ablauf, associate athletic director for media and public relations.

Spring sports are baseball, softball, men’s golf and women’s golf, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse, men’s tennis and women’s tennis, men’s outdoor track & field and women’s outdoor track & field, rowing, and water polo.

For schedules and ticket information, go to

4. Go to a free poetry or prose reading

The Zell Writers Series is a prominent presenter of readings, typically at 5:10 p.m. Thursdays at the U-M Museum of Art.

This Thursday, author Norton Juster, known for his children’s classic, “The Phantom Tollbooth,” reads at 5:10 p.m. at the UMMA Stern Auditorium.

5. Get active

Join open public skating sessions (skate rentals available) at Yost Ice Arena:, or consider a Recreational Sports membership.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum offer viewing opportunities, activities and programs year round.

Yost Ice Arena offers public skating hours throughout the week. (Photo by Scott R. Galvin, Michigan Photography)


  1. Enarvee Storm
    on March 10, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Nothing cures the winter blahs like an hour of indoor ice skating.

  2. Jennifer Sporer
    on March 10, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Awesome article–I am going to keep these ideas and use them. Our campus offers so many great opportunities to have fun!

  3. Michelle Krell Kydd
    on March 10, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Where else can you smell gardenia, jasmine, plumeria, osmanthus and other beautiful flowers when it’s winter outside? A trip to the conservatory is a treat for the senses all year long.

Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article. Please read our comment guidelines for more information.