"This is really important to be here," Lewan said. "I'm here to give back and help out my teammate."
I was going to post this in the thread below, but I thought it would be better as a new forum topic (or maybe a diary I guess?) since I witnessed the whole situation and so there will be less rampant speculation.
I got to the stadium around 2:30am with my tent, and was turned away by the security guard. Went home, slept for a couple of hours, got back at 5:30. There was a line forming at the bus stop at the corner where you can go up to the big house or towards Crisler. I was about 30th in line.
At about 6:45, the people at the front of the line (now about 100 strong) started walking up towards Crisler, meaning to get the line going over there. Some people towards the back started running and then basically everyone was. We lined up at the gate where they generally let people in. The security guard came up to check us out but didn't really say anything to us about moving or leaving.
Maybe 10 minutes later, one of the Maize Rage leaders (not sure who) came up and started talking to the security guard. Apparently it was a big issue that we had lined up at the gate at 6:50 rather than 7. Long story short, she started a new line (at about 7:15) down in the parking lot without really making it clear that it was happening to the people at the front of the original line. This started a new stampede, mostly from the back of the line (now about 200-300 strong).
The people at the front of the line (me included), once this had happened and it looked like they were getting kicked out of the bleachers despite arriving earlier than the people in the other line, pretty much decided that they were staying put. A few security guys tried to get us to move and then they called the cops. The officers told us that if we didn't move, they would get a bus with 20 officers and arrest all of us. Some went to the other line (now of about 500 people) and about 100 stayed put.
Eventually (looking to avoid the PR issue) they convinced us to move to the parking lot. Associate Athletic Director Rob Rademacher took us inside the football visitor locker room (119 people total) and told us that they were going to reserve the front 12-13 rows of Section 130 for us as a compromise. He also took all of our names and uniquenames and presumably will be emailing us to get feedback on this situation. We then (a few hours later) were taken through the facility and the tunnel, and up to the section. The seats weren't quite as good as the bleachers, but it turned out pretty well and the game was obviously amazing.
My personal takeaway: the Maize Rage leader was put in a tough situation, and made a really bad kneejerk decision rather than figuring it out with the people that had lined up early. She then couldn't really backtrack from it without pissing off some group of students or another. The Associate AD was really awesome and made a good compromise from a bad situation.
Others who were there, let me know if you had a different experience.
This summer I'm going to the Pantanal region of Brazil with a small group of Michigan alums and current students to teach orchestral music at an orphanage. We're trying to raise money for various pieces of the project, including instruments, maintenance, accessories (stands, bows, etc), living costs for the teachers, and others. Our fundraising site has a lot more info on the project and is at the link here: http://www.indiegogo.
The Nazaré Orphanage in rural Brazil is home to sixty boys whose lives have been scarred by domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Orphanage founder Father Joaquim Tébar secured a donation of numerous violins, violas, and cellos to teach the children music. Tragically, he died before he could turn his idea into reality. We began this project to carry on his vision to bring music to lives that have known little else but adversity and hardship.
While working to set up workshops with the kids at Nazaré on public health, CPR, English, and sustainable technologies last summer, the director revealed a room full of stringed instruments that were collecting dust. We immediately decided to start putting them to use, and did our best to give some basic string lessons. The excitement and energy this brought out of the kids was immediately apparent, and we couldn’t help but want to see it continue. This summer we plan to expand the program into a full string orchestra through daily rehearsals over a two month period.
The Pantanal Music Exchange (PME) aims to cultivate creativity in the lives of these boys. We want the project to grow out of the excitement of the kids, so much of the music we teach will be pop and traditional songs that the kids know and want to learn, a model we had great success with last summer. Local support and involvement is crucial, and we are working with musicians and community members in Poconé so that the program can continue and grow even while we're not there. We're currently organizing partnerships with other youth orchestra programs in both Brazil and America.
We have built a team of dedicated individuals to lead PME, including regional experts, local Brazilian musicians, energetic college students, and recent graduates. All of us have been playing, writing, and teaching music for over a decade. Those who didn’t grow up speaking Portuguese have worked hard to learn it over the past year. We are also a relatively young group, which should help the kids relate to us and see us as role models.
I think MGoBlog users will be interested in the project for a couple of reasons. It helps rep UM in an area that doesn't get a lot of attention and exposure, it's just generally good for the world (which MGoBloggers are usually in favor of), and this video (warning: small cute children playing the Victors sort of poorly):
Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d love if you would be able to donate or even just pass on to your networks. I’m at email@example.com.