Life at SEAS

It's not all classes and research at SEAS. Working hard to become part of the next generation of environmental leaders is only part of your University of Michigan experience. You'll also network and bond with colleagues at events, join in SEAS annual traditions, enjoy Big 10 athletics, and explore all the culture and fun Ann Arbor has to offer.

Our community

At SEAS, we believe that environmental challenges can only be solved by working together. This philosophy permeates everything we do. We take great pride in our collaborative community of scholars who openly share ideas and push each other to the next level. These core relationships are often built outside the classroom, from student-organized, school-wide bike rides, to impromptu policy debates in the kitchen. When you join the SEAS community, you’ll experience this personal and professional support from day one – and become a key part of our communal success.


Just before the fall semester begins, incoming students participate in an orientation at the University of Michigan Biological Station, where they spend three days preparing for their academic programs with faculty and current students. With activities like swimming, kayaking, and even howling at the moon, the experience truly bonds the incoming class. Watch video >

In the fall, SEAS hosts a campfire for students, faculty, and alumni at Saginaw Forest, a university research property in Ann Arbor. While Saginaw Forest is often used for field classes, on this night it is the place where SEAS alumni, students, faculty, staff, and extended family gather for fun, food, and some interesting contests. Can you say pumpkin-seed spitting? See photos >

Winter Solstice
Each December brings a celebratory winter solstice celebration. Hosted before the holiday break, the solstice brings students, faculty, and staff together for music by the Eco-Tones, a faculty band, conversation, and festive organic fare. See photos >

SEAS students go all out for this annual semi-formal dance. The ball is a chance to give the flannel shirt and waders the night off! Students get decked out or don costumes inspired by themes like “Rise of the Charismatic Megafauna” and “Enchantment Under the Marine Protected Area.” See photos >

The Dana Building

Students do much of their classwork inside the century-old Samuel T. Dana Building. Despite its historic registry, the Dana Building is a state-of-the-art example of a green renovation, featuring materials that were recycled or manufactured from renewable resources.

Inside the Dana Building, environmental principles are not only taught but also upheld and demonstrated to the community. Its sun and shade gardens are landscaped exclusively with native plants, and it has earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Dana Building is home to many labs, the Enviro Art Gallery, and common areas include cozy spaces for individual or group study, impromptu debriefings after class, or even naps.

About Ann Arbor

Because city and campus life are elaborately interwoven, Ann Arbor has a bustling and varied nightlife with restaurants, bars, cafes, and entertainment venues for every taste and temperament. With nearly 114,000 permanent residents, there are things to do year-round. Visit Uniquely Michigan to find out more.

Ranked the #1 most educated city in America by Forbes magazine, Ann Arbor cherishes its reputation as a national center for the arts, and the University of Michigan is a large part of that. Almost every day you will find cultural and intellectual events such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Capitol Steps brought to campus by the University Musical Society. Nationally acclaimed events like the Ann Arbor Art Fair draw nearly a half-million visitors every year.

Running through the city is the Huron River, an ideal spot for outdoor recreation. Many other rivers, forests, and a whopping 147 parks of all shapes and sizes can be found in the area. 

Ann Arbor and the university community are safe, friendly, and accessible. Here, students enjoy an environment that is rich and diverse, both culturally and intellectually.

Things to do

SEAS events
You'll find a full slate of environmental career forums; lectures by the likes of National Geographic photographer Jimmy Chin, prominent geographer Mei-Po Kwan, father of environmental justice Dr. Bob Bullard, and the Dalai Lama; cider mill excursions and more on the SEAS events calendar.

University events
When you’re ready to explore beyond SEAS’ quiet corner of the Diag, there is always something to do on University of Michigan’s active campus. Check the U-M events website for everything from sports and films to symposia and performances.

From classic rivalries to football games at the Big House with more than 100,000 screaming fans, Michigan Athletics are undoubtedly the most spirited in the country. And don't just take our word for it. Forbes magazine has repeatedly named Ann Arbor the No. 1 college sports town in the United States. For a regular fix on Maize and Blue sports news and scores, bookmark

Student organizations

Health & Fitness

As an enrolled SEAS student, you’ll have automatic access to the university’s wide array of fitness centers and intramural activities, in addition to physical and mental health services.

Housing & Transportation

The University of Michigan offers many on-campus housing options for graduate students, including those with families. If you wish to live off-campus, Beyond the Diag has information about neighborhoods, roommates, and a Housing Listing Service.

No car? No problem. The university provides campus bus service 360 days a year with roughly 60 buses serving 12 routes, and offers vanpools and other alternative transportation options to the campus community. Learn more on the Parking & Transportation website. In addition, the U-M campus and Ann Arbor in general are extremely bike-friendly.

Public safety

The university’s Division of Public Safety and Security includes a full service law enforcement agency that patrols all campus buildings and grounds 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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