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Posted on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

University of Michigan and city of Ann Arbor looking for volunteers for Notre Dame night game

By Kellie Woodhouse

University of Michigan is hosting its second-ever night game on Sept. 7 and it's seeking volunteers to serve as "community ambassadors."


A barricade was set up on Main and Keech before the Michigan football game against Notre Dame on Sept. 10, 2011.

Angela J. Cesere |

The volunteers will help people with directions, answer visitors' questions and supplement the workers U-M usually has lined up for home games. The last, and first, night game broke Michigan Stadium attendance records and officials are expecting another high turnout this year.

The Wolverines will be playing Notre Dame starting at 8 p.m.

Volunteers will be provided with distinct ambassador shirts so they will be easily recognizable.

"Feedback from the first year of the program was tremendous, stating that the visibility of the ambassadors helped the crowds move along smoothly despite the increased traffic in the city," Mary Jo Desprez, Wolverine Wellness director at the University Health Service, said in a release.

Volunteers will be scheduled in pairs for a two-hour shift between the hours of 1 p.m. and 1 a.m. Ambassadors will be near the stadium but not within the stadium gates - they won't receive tickets or access to the game.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, participate in a 90-minute training session and have access to a cellphone for use on game day.

During the 2011 night game, 93 people volunteered to be ambassadors. This year U-M is hoping for between 100 and 150.

For additional information, those interested can email

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

i can't believe you couldn't keep the t-shirts....


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 3 p.m.

Reading this just sucked the air out of me. I am constantly amazed at how determined U of M is to take as much as they can and give as little in return. And, I know that everyone keeps bringing up the fact that they provide jobs and income, etc., and that is great. But, I truly see them as an elite group that as much as possible would like to distance itself from the general riffraff- unless something is needed and they can glamor desperate wannabes to their exclusive club to bend and scrape if only for a brief moment in the rarified air. It would be truly be inspiring to read about U of M giving back to the community with no attachment to gaining something from doing so.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

Read the annual report. It is EASILY found on the UM web site. You can read about the hundreds of millions in scholarship granted. You can read about the over $100,000,000 in unreimbursed medical care provided to residents state wide. Or, even more simple, you can look at the lists that the posters on this board deride relative to Ann Arbor's rankings on various top ranking lists, and then compare that profile and the jobs and housing sectors with Detroit or Flint or Saginaw or just about any other city in the country. Your "...bending and scrape..." fragment speaks to some sort of eisegesis, not necessarily reality. But don't let the facts confuse your narrative: I'm sure that UM asking for volunteers will cause the imminent collapse of the private/not-for-profit firewall and civilization is likely to vanish.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 5:33 a.m.

well if their going to volunteer the least the U of M can do is give these workers some food, like Krazy Jim's Blimpy burgers & fries


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 3:47 a.m.

Now as I hear it the U used to pay people to do this...


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

That is surprising the number was low last year. You would think every one including the mothers uncle would want to do this. Wow.

Jay Thomas

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

Forgot to mention they just gave the head sports big wig a 33% raise in 2012. Whatever they save here can be used for more raises, so volunteer away, Michigan football lovers. You are ambassadors to future raises!


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

"Forgot to mention they just gave the head sports big wig a 33% raise in 2012." Yes, raises were granted. Yes, the departmental revenue went up roughly $22,000,000. What is your point. When was the last time you received merit pay based on that sort of exceptional performance? When was the last time you took and organization and revamped it and added $22,000,000 to the bottom line?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

can i do it from my livingroom.

Jay Thomas

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

I would be happy to volunteer but I expect everyone else involved at the stadium to volunteer for the day as well.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

How about some of the elites in the AD volunteer at my grandsons school?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

that is an AWESOME idea. get a a coach and an athlete from every sport and a prof from math, english, chemistry, music class etc to volunteer three hours of their time in our classrooms...maybe A2 wouldn't have to start charging for 7th hour classes.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

I think it's the fact that they are making millions of dollars for the football games and then asking people to work unpaid that's ruffling people's feathers. U of M football is not the Salvation Army or your local soup kitchen barely scraping by making ends meet, they are a huge institution with a lot of money, and for them to ask people to volunteer instead of offering to compensate them for their time and energy looks cheap. Like Scrooge or something


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

Jay, you said: "Based upon what the top people are paid it certainly acts like a "for profit". Based on your experience in organization behavior and design, and based on your knowledge of what pay levels are in both the private and public sectors, what should UM senior officers be paid?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

To retain their not-for-profit status all they have to do is spend as much as they make. They seem to have no problem spending money. I think the UM's non-profit status should only apply to buildings and structures used for actual educational purposes. All other fixed assets and structures should be paying local taxes. Parking lots, athletic facilities charging admittance fees, housing, etc. should be paying the city property taxes.

Jay Thomas

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Based upon what the top people are paid it certainly acts like a "for profit".


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

I'm sure you're aware that those millions of dollars aren't exactly profit ... they fund all the other athletics, not to mention drawing lots of money towards university research and so forth. Is that as worthy as a soup kitchen? Probably not, but I think a lot of the posters are framing this incorrectly. The university, as a state institution, is not for-profit. So go ahead and vote down.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Free food and entry into the stadium would be an excellent return for investing 3.5 hours of my time, gas money and cell phone to be an ambassador serving the wealthy football ticket holders. I believe they can afford it. Do you think the police donate their time? Try getting the UM to give something back to the community. They always want money, even for the use of the athletic buildings my tax dollars pay to support. They recently kicked a local charity fundraiser out of using the Stadium because the school wanted to run the event themselves and keep the money. Not very charitable.

Jay Thomas

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

That's the U we've come to love. They are their only charity.

harry b

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

As long as you people continue to volunteer they will never pay anybody to do this job. U of M is not a charity. They make MILLIONS of dollars on this game. How about if you donate your time to take orders at McDonalds. The owners would really appreciate it. U of M has a lot of nerve asking for volunteers to work.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

"As long as you people continue to volunteer they will never pay anybody to do this job. U of M is not a charity. They make MILLIONS of dollars on this game." And they spend millions on scholarships. They also spend millions on coaches and facilities to attract kids to the university. Research in this domain suggests kids pick schools, in part, due to atmosphere and other similar amenities. The athletic department is self-funded and generates a consequential reputational margin for the university at no cost to the academic side. And, loosely speaking, you are wrong about UM being a charity: they are tax-exempt and use that status, in part, to bring in out of state kids who pay, in part, for the education of in state kids which the state can't be bothered to pay for. UM takes you off of the hook from a tax basis. The volunteers keep the margins up, which recycle to your indirect benefit.

you can't handle the truth

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

What about having the giant local homeless population volunteer? Everyone wins that way. The residents can volunteer in exchange for their very generous living conditions. Plus they can make some money on the side by panhandling while pointing visitors in the direction of the stadium.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

I've with you there, "you can't". They say the 1960s are coming back, maybe the free T-shirts are saffron in color, and they teach you the Hare Krishna chant, so that a few of the volunteers can stand alongside and ask "spare change?".


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

This is ludicrous. They hold an event for 120,000 people whom they charge absurd prices, raking in boatloads of money and then prevail upon the mightily inconvenienced citizenry to contribute time and energy, gratis. They've got to be joking, right?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Maybe the volunteers will be given license to panhandle $1 from everyone they see going to the game?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Slam on the brakes. While conducting an internship in a congressman's office I came across a great article was published about how many places are inappropriately using non paid volunteers, interns that may violate federal law regarding wages. Since then, I see from a simple search, much ado has been conducted on this, including a federal district court ruling. To change the word from interns to volunteers or "district ambassadors," does not change the fact that one is asked to do work for no compensation. And here, you don't even get a ticket or admission to the game. Here is the article including the court ruling: Note that the court ruling includes people who work but receive no training, but the U of M does require a 90 minute training, indicating this is work that must be done properly.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:44 p.m.

The training and the volunteering are the compensation for the effort expended. It seems likely that the courts will be able to distinguish between kids working entire summers and kids working for a few hours. When this event is over, these kids will have experience and a line-item for their resume. What will your child/children have? Unless they are going to law school and bring a pro se lawsuit against the university for practice, it seems there will be no reward for them. I agree that pretending to train a kid in publishing or some other field, and then having them mop the floor is very little different than fraud. This seems like less of a time sink and gets kids outside for a few hours and seems easily distinguishable from a summer of mopping floors and/or fetching coffee for no pay.

Dean Combs II

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Bunch of onewayers


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

I was going to volunteer. Then I found out what they are paying.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

I guess I missed the requirement about having to be an A2 taxpayer. Lighten up people, sheesh!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

The headline says "UM *and* city" but everything in the article talks only of the U. What is the city's involvement?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

(Non related to this story but the same issue) I have seen flyers on certain city events that ask for people to volunteer to help so these events can proceed.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

Thanks for that clarification.

Kellie Woodhouse

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:34 p.m.

They're also calling for volunteers for the program. From the release: Ann Arbor Chief of Police John Seto voiced support for the program. "For such a high profile event like a U-M night football game, this collaboration between the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Police Department and the community is an excellent example of working together and we look forward to a great event," he said.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Seriously? Are they at least going to background checks on these "suckers?"


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Kind of like the "donation" you HAVE to make to keep your seats!

Longtime A2

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Wow - how about "the glass half empty" mentality. My nephew did this same thing at the Super Bowl in Indy - had a great time, lots of fun and a memory he will always talk about. I will be willing to bet there are lots of people that will jump at this just for experience. I am sick of hearing....Ann Arbor, U of M always taking advantage of us. My response: If you don't like it, move away.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

Longtime A2: I agree with you. This will be, potentially, fun for the kids and it is good experience in interacting with and/or managing people for kids of that age. Many of the posters on this board seem to be: 1) incredibly negative about everything UM-related; 2) seem to dislike people or the idea of interacting with them; 3) don't understand the concept of a charitable enterprise; 4) are fearful of the success of others and/or the institution in the abstract. Despite what those people think and write: 1) UM adds literally billions of dollars to the local economy; 2) UM provides a platform for teaching kids how to be successful; 3) despite what they think, UM is indeed not-for-profit and the literally hundreds of millions of dollars in student aid and un-reimbursed medical care expended state wide are but two bits of evidence supporting that comment; 4) somehow feel left out or don't want to participate and want to rain on everybody else's parade. I don't' think their glass is half empty, from the comments made, they are a pretty grim collective of people who are not satisfied with their life choices. They don't seem to be able to think outside of their own narrow ambit/orbit. Their parents need to tell them to get out of the house...maybe take a field trip to Syria and see how the other 95% live...then they reappraise whether or not volunteers at UM football games really is likely to destroy the universe.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

that will not happen and you know it.people like having an Ann Arbor address.I believe people have the right to complain if they want to as u yourself are doing.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

I'm on your side Longtime A2. Although I work full-time, I still find time to volunteer during the Ann Arbor Art Fairs and at the Huron Valley Humane Society. I don't always need to be paid to assist the city or UM campus for special events or causes. I'll be one of the "93 suckers" happily enjoying the atmosphere while making a small contribution to safety, security, and positive experiences.

harry b

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Longtime You're taking money away from people who could have jobs. U of M is not a charity. The make MILLIONS of dollars on this football game. There is no reason they can't pay people to do this. How about you volunteer to take orders at McDonalds. Just one day a week. They would really appreciate it.

Philip Santini

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

'lots of people that will JUMP (emphasis mine) at this ' Really? Out of a town of 114,000+, 93 suckers volunteered two years ago. I'll be looking for you in your distinct ambassador T-shirt.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

Longtime A2 You Say ... "I am sick of hearing....Ann Arbor, U of M always taking advantage of us." "If you don't like it, move away. My response: If you don't like what I write don't read it!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Did we mention that the T-shirts make you look like little leprechauns?

Jack Gladney

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

There are at least 100 people who would give up six hours of their time and go through the rest of the hassles of a $3.97 t-shirt in order to aid a wildly profitable enterprise. For next year's game, the U just needs go to Best Buy on Thanksgiving eve and offer the people who are camping out in the tents for the chance to buy a $10 DVD player the opportunity. They'll be all over it.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

There's one born every minute. But someone will need to be pointing the tourists that have been tailgating for ten hours in the right direction.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

why should we "DONATE' our time when their gonna rake in millions from ticket sales,tv revenue, parking, consessions.etc.? your not even allowed to enter the stadium after your shift is over!!!screw them!

Shawn Letwin

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Wow! or your special efforts in helping fill the tax coffers of the city, fill the till of the local businesses and in helping make millions in tax free revenue for UofM, you will receive one single t-shirt...and all you have to do is... -drive into UofM for a 90 minute training session (and probably pay for parking) -spend 90 minutes of time training -drive back into UofM game day -bring your cell phone that you pay the bill for -spend 2 hours volunteering and did you remember that you get a special t-shirt that probably cost about $5 for your 4-5 hours of time? If the UofM can plan to shut down public streets and make millions in doing so (tv revenue, ticket sales that the average citizen can't afford, even more increased ticket sales revenue from the plan to increase game day ticket prices by scaling the price based on scarcity, concession sales, merchandise sales, etc.), they can figure out a way to pay their own people to be the ambassador for their event, or use UofM students who are in a work study programs or in academic studies that such experiences would be invaluable...sheesh! Hoping we never read the story about who will be responsible when one of these volunteer ambassadors gets hurt, assaulted or worse in the wee hours of the night? The chances of encountering rouge, drunken person/people who make bad choices is very real. The idea of having the ambassadors is great, but the plan and need to use the community to be self-serving to the city and UofM is ridiculous.. Your game, use your people! Volunteering is for helping those people who cannot afford to help themselves.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Shawn, I take it you're not gonna be a volunteer? Many people like to be a part of the festivities in some way and they may have the time to donate. Not everyone feels that they have to submit billable hours to the U and the City for everything they do. I wish I had the extra time because I would do it!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

Go get 'em tiger!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Shawn....all I can say is hit that nail right on the head and drove it in!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Besides then you also know the participants are true believers.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Volunteer. Yeah - right! Go figure!


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

"Volunteers will be provided with distinct ambassador shirts" With what they get for tickets, you would think they could pay minimum wage to a few people.