Final Project — Unity in Michigan

First click on the link below, then watch the YouTube video please

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “unity” as “the quality or state of not being multiple : oneness”. We are introduced to the lesson of unity form a very early age, since we comprehend that interdependence and cooperation amongst our peers is a very important quality to have. Unity defies all boundaries – race, gender, wealth, political party affiliation, sexual orientation do not matter. From the slaves that revolted against Ancient Rome during the Servile Wars to the group project in 5th grade I was assigned to do with two of my classmates, being unified is often associated with action and accomplishment.

The very same concept can be applied to life here at the University of Michigan. With students and faculty hailing from around the world, we are surrounded by a variety of faces. By just walking down the pathway that connects Observatory Avenue and North University Avenue, I see a bunch of people from all walks of life. Despite our differences, we are unified in the fact that we are getting an education from one of the most famous and respected universities in the world. Those all-nighters for reports, exam cramming, and of the course, the dreaded Math 115 team homework assignments bring us together. It’s that sort of unity I have experienced in my freshman year here at Michigan. For the first time, I had to depend solely on my peers, not my family, to assist me in adjusting to the new setting of college.

Moreover, how can I, or anyone who was ever affiliated with the university, omit the sheer significance of Football Saturdays. In addition to the students “maizing out” from Sections 29 to 33 in the Big House, alumni from near and afar flock to Ann Arbor for the special occasion. The city’s population triples and the streets are packed. As an NYC native, I am accustomed to the hustle and bustle that surrounds me. However, the fact this “hustle and bustle” was due to one cause – a football game – totally caught me off guard. It’s amazing how Wolverines of the past, present, and even the future can rejoice together every Saturday afternoon for the last few months of every year. Even as the weather gets colder and nastier, there will always be more than 100,000 screaming fans at the Big House.

The link I provided (above the YouTube video) displays the spectacle that was the Michigan-Notre Dame game, the first night football game ever played in Ann Arbor. As you can see, the fans were jubilant throughout and simply downright crazy when Michigan won on a last-second touchdown. Looking at the video now, I get pumped for this upcoming season. However, there is also a ton a pride, knowing that you are a fan of the most successful college football team. The enormity of the stadium combined with constant cheering from the crowd takes you aback, but you also appreciate the school spirit students have for their school. They really love Michigan.

Yes, it is easy to relegate “unity in Michigan” to Football Saturdays, but there is so much more to the unity. As mentioned in the definition, being unified is the state of being one – this does not simply apply to people. Manmade objects and the natural settings have their own unity, a major point I want to prove in my project. In a lot of occasions, this unity seems to be involuntary.

One important detail is the progression from “inside to outside.” I initially start in the classroom, but I eventually transition into the outer environment. By placing the pictures in this order, the theme of unity already sticks out – those pictures with similar environments are adjacent in video. This is easily noticeable, since I put a white flash transition between every different environment.

As a result of the technological boom in the 21st century, it should not be a surprise when you walk pass a student staring at their smartphone or laptop. In fact if one has nothing to do, he or she immediately looks at text messages or Facebook photos. As seen in these first two photos, students in columns and rows stare at their laptop screens. This was by no means planned, but instead a result of an involuntary unity of acceptance. In other words, it is now permissible for students to utilize their laptops during class. As we all know, students are WAY more productive when they use their laptops (that was sarcastic).

The pictures focusing on the unity of the chairs are my favorites in this project. The caption for the first picture, “The chairs stand – undisturbed” is a bit ironic. Chairs are used for sitting down on, but when left alone, they “stand” together in silence, until the next day of classes begins. The second picture was taken during a recent all-nighter. With the misery writing an organic chemistry lab report entails, I snapped this photo of three all-nighter-ers versus the chairs in the foreground. Each group seems to have their own little union – the lazy chairs and the stressed students. After thoroughly looking at the picture, you might notice how the position of the chairs mirrors those of the students. Therefore, the six of us are unified – albeit in rather abstract way.

From now on, the photos transition to the exterior. Students as well as most people in general, tend to overlook the precision that comes with the architecture of a building. Each beam or column has to be perfect, since a faulty one will result in a collapse. Therefore, every beam has to do their part in supporting the structure. One might even make the case that they are the most unified of anything, due to the significant role of interdependence between the beams.

For the final few pictures, I snapped photos at, where else, the Diag. Thousands of people walk pass the unnoticed flyers, but yet the flyers stay resilient, enduring the wind and rain. Hopefully this projects gives them a shout-out for their brash unity in informing Ann Arbor what’s going on around town. The similarities between the Bell Tower and the Rackham Graduate Building are very surprising. Sure the buildings vary greatly in height in purpose, but both contain green roofs and beige bodies. Who knows, maybe the two are long-lost cousins. As for the last picture – who says unity has to be orderly. The zigzag structures of tree branches are just part of Mother Nature’s plan. And simply because of that, they are unified in their randomness despite the uniqueness of each branch.

As aforementioned, I want to exhibit the different forms of unity around campus. Sure the unity shown during a football game will always be the most popular image, but the unity of involuntary action, architecture, and nature are also prevalent throughout campus. I can’t believe the semester is almost at its end, but hopefully “The Victors” will remind us of how proud we should be of our great university.