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Winter 2024 Newsletter

The Cube, a rotating metal cube

In This Issue

Facts & Snacks Tip

Looking for ways to support the university’s sustainability goals? Katie Massa, our conference and events sales manager, offers a few sustainable tips to consider in 2024.

Spring Commencement

Students at commencement in graduation gowns

Are you planning a graduation ceremony for your school or college? Or maybe you have a group of student employees you’d like to honor? Our team can assist you with planning your menu, reserving a room in one of our venues, securing a permit to reserve a venue, setting up, and more. Just get in touch with us to start planning!

Remember to mark your calendars for Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 10 a.m. The event will be held at Michigan Stadium, with doors opening at 9 a.m. The graduation procession begins at 9:30 a.m.

After the ceremony, we’ll be hosting our annual Commencement Brunch at the historic Michigan Union (Central Campus) and Pierpont Commons (North Campus). Tickets are on sale now. If you’re intending to go, snatch up your ticket soon. This event fills up quickly!

Reasons to Plan a Canopy Event

Outdoor events with canopies are a popular choice at the University of Michigan because they are a fresh new way to get together and celebrate. If you’re planning a graduation party or summer event and want to reserve an outdoor canopy, we can help!

Our tents are 60’x120’ and come with tables, chairs, table coverings, and centerpieces, providing you with a one-stop shop for your event. And that’s not all! Did you know outdoor canopies offer social, health, and environmental perks?

  • Socially, canopy events provide an inviting and community-centered environment that helps students, faculty, and guests connect and interact.
  • Health-wise, outdoor events with canopies allow participants to soak up ample natural light, and they also offer protection from elements such as rain or excessive sun.
  • Environmentally, holding events outdoors reduces the energy consumption associated with indoor ventilation, lighting, and air conditioning. Canopies, specifically, typically have a lower environmental impact than more permanent outdoor structures.

We are currently accepting canopy rentals for Commencement events in May, including May 3, 4, and 5, 2024. Contact Ann-Marie Davis at [email protected] for availability, pricing, and other details.

Michigan Catering Mocktails

Bright red strawberry mocktails

Mocktails are a great alternative for those who want to enjoy the taste and experience of a cocktail without the alcohol. They’ve become increasingly popular in recent years as people become more health-conscious. And because they usually feature fresh ingredients and garnishes, they can make even a simple lunch or dinner feel special.

If you’re interested in serving mocktails at your event, Michigan Catering offers a variety of fun and exciting options. See the menu!

Fall Recap

Michigan father and son

At Conference and Event Services, we pride ourselves on our ability to adapt to any event challenge and find creative solutions. Here are just a few of the events we assisted with in Fall 2023.

Central Campus Housing Groundbreaking

On October 13, 2023, nearly 150 university members gathered with shovels and hard hats at the construction site of the new U-M housing development project, including the Board of Regents, U-M President Santa J. Ono, Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon, and Dr. E. Royster Harper, a longtime campus leader who served as vice president for Student Life for 18 years before retiring in 2019. One of the buildings will be named in her honor.

Of course, no ceremony would be complete without delicious food, and Michigan Catering did not disappoint. They served up a variety of mouthwatering menu items like za’atar tofu skewers, jicama salad, butternut squash bruschetta, smoked whitefish, and curried chicken salad.

Thanks to our University Development Events partners and local vendors for executing the event seamlessly from start to finish. And a warm thanks to all of our guests who joined us to celebrate this exciting new development for Michigan Housing and U-M.

Faculty Awards Dinner

The U-M Faculty Awards Dinner was a night of celebration to recognize the outstanding work of university faculty members. Held in October at the Michigan League, the event was attended by 80 guests including President Ono.

Michigan Catering prepared delicious offerings like Mediterranean lemon garlic chicken and sorghum roasted vegetables, and CES coordinated with various partners to source local vendors.

We’re grateful for these partnerships and look forward to executing another successful celebration next year!

Parent and Family Weekend

This year’s Parent and Family Weekend was bustling with activity and excitement as students, parents, and families came together to enjoy the festivities. The Conference and Event Services team played a key role in making the event a success, assisting over 2,200 guests with registration, check-in, and wayfinding. And there was no shortage of things to do with over two dozen events held in facilities across campus!

Highlights from the weekend included Michigan Catering’s delicious tailgating spread featuring burgers, hot dogs, and vegan chickpea burgers. At the Michigan Union Watch Party, guests enjoyed late-night snacks like soft pretzels and seven-layer dip. Activities included inflatable axe throwing, giant Jenga, and making custom license plates and plushy stuffed animals. And, of course, the DJ in the courtyard kept the energy high all evening long.

We were thrilled to welcome so many families to campus for this special event, and we look forward to creating another meaningful experience next fall.

Contact us to start planning your upcoming events!

Test Your Sustainability Knowledge

Take a closer look at sustainability with this short quiz! We think you’ll be surprised to learn how much (or little) you’re doing correctly when it comes to recycling, composting, and the landfill. And if it turns out you’re not an expert, remember, CES is here to help with all of your Zero Waste needs.

Where to Throw?

For each disposable item, select the category in which it should be thrown out.

Where do you throw PAPER PLATES?



Summer Programs

Students in front of the Union

We understand the importance of a hassle-free event—that’s why we partner with Michigan Housing and Michigan Dining to offer a one-stop shop for summer programs! Held every year on U-M’s beautiful campus, our expert teams can help with:

  • Lodging in on-campus residence halls or possible assistance with local hotel accommodations
  • Meal plans in one of the three on-campus dining halls
  • Meeting room reservations
  • Group outings to museums, restaurants, and other locations in Ann Arbor and beyond
  • Transportation for small and large groups

This summer we’re excited to be hosting 170+ groups, from academic and athletic camps to research and graduate courses, leadership training activities, and more. We’d be thrilled to assist with your summer needs, too. Contact us today to start planning!

Staff News

Clare Leidy joins Conference & Events Services with seven years of experience. Before joining CES as Conference Manager, she served as a general manager at Arbor Brewing Co. where she oversaw taproom hospitality, operational flow, staff development, and executed various public and private events. Clare obtained a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. When she is not working she enjoys hiking with her two Great Danes, listening to audiobooks, and gardening.

Jane Lloyd, Assistant Director of Social Sales, recently left CES after 10+ years with the department. Originally hired as a Special Events Manager, she was promoted to the role of Assistant Director soon thereafter. In addition to planning and executing thousands of events over the years, Jane oversaw all of our in-office student staff, the student staff for NTI, and the Special Events Assistant team. She also ran point on our annual Wedding Tasting event every February. Jane will remain on campus as she begins a new role as a Stewardship Officer with the Rackham Graduate School development team. Her last day was January 19th. We thank Jane for her years of service and wish her well in her new role!

Tax Seminar Recap

A graphic with money and calendar icons

U-M Tax Seminars have been educating tax preparers and financial professionals for over 30 years. This year, close to 450 attendees joined instructor Jim Sullivan to cover the latest tax topics and updates.

The CES team worked hard behind the scenes to create a seamless experience for participants. We handled registration, executed in-person sessions at the Junge Family Champions Center, and coordinated virtual sessions for participants who prefer learning from the comfort of their office or home.

Know someone who could benefit from our seminar? Please spread the word!

Featured Recipe Kale Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Looking to try a new dish that will leave you feeling nourished and satisfied? Get your daily dose of greens with this nutrient-rich dish packed with flavor! It’s quick and easy to make. And, you can enjoy it any time of the day. Enjoy!


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (Michigan syrup if you can!)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • pepper to taste


  • 1 package slaw hearty blend (or 5 cups baby kale)
  • 1 cup colored bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 apples, sliced (Granny Smith or Macintosh if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • ¼ cup goat cheese crumbles or feta cheese


  1. Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the ingredients. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. In a large salad bowl, toss the slaw blend (or kale leaves) with the bell pepper and cheese. Add two tablespoons of the dressing, then toss until thoroughly coated. (Optional: Add more dressing or reserve the remainder to pass at the table.)
  3. Top the salad with apple slices and pumpkin seeds, then serve.

Want more great tips, tricks, and inside information from Conference and Event Services? Visit our newsletter archive!