FAQ sheet for incoming students

Hello Hello!

I bet right now you’re thinking, “Oh University of Michigan, what do you want now?!” Well, first of all, HI! We are the SACNAS chapter here at UM and we are an all-inclusive student run chapter geared towards increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education STEM! Like you, we were once contemplating the important decision of what graduate school to commit to. We just wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know that if you’re still on the fence about coming here or have questions about what it would mean to come here for grad school, we can help answer them.

Here are some questions you may have and that we CAN answer!


  1. Where would be a good place to be closest to campus? Island Drive apts, kerrytown, or near South University.
  2. Where would be the best place to live if I have children? Near north campus, Ponds at Georgetown.
  3. Do students normally live closer or further away from campus? Usually closer to campus but further away is cheaper.
  4. If I want to buy a house, is that feasible in A2? Yes it is. Some people purchase condominiums.
  5. Where do I start to find a place to live on or off campus? One can start by looking on available units online or contact someone you know at Michigan. A good website is apartments.com
  6. Does the University have graduate housing? Yes, Northwood Apartments has 1 to 2 bedroom apartments located in North Campus while Munger Graduate Residences located in Central Campus has 6 to 7 bedroom suites with each student having their own bathroom but sharing common areas. Both are reasonably priced (as far as college town goes anyways) and come with all utilities included and UMICH campus internet (blazing fast!).


  1. Do you need a car to get around? No, Michigan has its own line of buses but one can also use the city buses for free with a student ID.
  2. Do I have to pay to use the local city bus? No, it is included with your ID.
  3. Do I need a parking pass on campus? If you want to park on campus yes otherwise you pay city parking/hour. How and where can I get one? That depends if looking for parking passes for the University parking lots or city parking lot permits.
  4. Are there any “cost effective ways” to get to and from the airport from campus if I don’t have a car? Yes, the Michigan flyer cost about $15 one way. The University also offers a limited AirBus at the end of each semester and during breaks that transports to and from the airport.
  5. Where can I rent a car? Herzt, Enterprise, Zipcars, Maven etc.


  1. Where can I buy tortilla? Kimchi? Kroger, Costco, La Libertad Tienda, Manna International Foods, etc.
  2. Are there any cultural specific stores nearby? Manna International Foods (Korean), Galleria Asian Market, Way 1 Supermarket (Chinese and Korean), La Liberta Tienda, Dos hermanos (located in Ypsilanti).
  3. Any farmer markets? Yes in Kerrytown and in Detroit.
  4. Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods? Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
  5. Any good bakeries? Zingerman’s, Avalon Bakery, Pastry Peddler, Lunchroom, SongBird Cafe, etc.
  6. Where can I buy delicious local ice cream or gelato? Blank Slate Creamery, Washtenaw Dairy, Iorio’s for gelato, Kilwin’s for ice cream, Stucchi’s ice cream and Frozen Yogurt, and Ben and Jerry’s.
  7. Where can I buy food if I am a vegetarian or vegan? The people’s Co-op in Kerry town. Whole foods and Trader Joes. The Lunch Room and Sava is a great vegan restaurant. In addition to supermarkets like Kroger or Mejir,  the Farmer’s Market in Kerrytown (local produce), Sparrow’s Market in Kerrytown (organic and local produce), and Argus Farm (local and organic produce).


  1. Is there a mall in A2? Yes, Briarwood mall is only 2.5 miles from Central Campus and is about a 10 minute bus ride or a 45 minute walk if you are feeling adventurous.
  2. Is there a target near by? Yes, about a 10-15 minutes bus ride from central campus Walmart? Kinda, Walmart is in Ypsilanti or about 6 miles east of Ann Arbor and is available by bus (30-40 minute bus ride) Costco? Costco is near Briarwood mall so about ~2.5 miles from central campus.
  3. How about IKEA? There is an ikea about 20 minutes from Ann Arbor located in Canton, MI
  4. Thrift shops? There are several throughout Ann Arbor. Some are walking distance from main central campus.
  5. Where can I buy a bicycle? In regular stores like Walmart and Target but if you have some extra cash and want to invest in a good bike I recommend Sic Transit Cycles, Wheels in Motion, or The local bike shop A2.


  1. Where are the best parks? Nichols arboretum, There are several parks just around campus but if you have a car there are several up north one can visit.
  2. Where can I find a list of student orgs on campus? Maizepages at https://maizepages.umich.edu/organizations
  3. What type of events happen during summertime? Art festival (Mid-to-late July)/ Summer Festival (Late June)
  4. Fun things or places to do/see in the winter? You can go north of Michigan for skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding etc… You will also be able to see and walk (if you like adventure) the frozen lakes. You can do cross country skiing in Ann Arbor but you just have to wait until there is enough snow.
  5. What if I am not a big “football” fan, will I feel left out at U of M? Yes, Football is king! GO BLUE! Not really, some of us are not fans of sports however I have attended 2 games in 6 years and they have been ok. One can always find a group of friends to do additional activities on game days or as you become a more senior student you spend most of the games in lab.
  6. Is there anything to do in Detroit? YES! Like what? Bars, food, theater, baseball, football, Belle Isle Park, Mexican town, etc
  7. Where can I go canoeing, kayaking, or tubing? Argo Canoe Livery and Gallup Park Canoe and Kayak Livery.
  8. Where can I go for swim? The CCRB Bell pool or my favorite the NCRB pool (free for students). You can also go to the Fuller Outdoor Park (this is also open to the public) the cost is minimal $3.
  9. Where can I rent a plot of land to plant my own herbs or garden? Info at http://projectgrowgardens.org/


  1. Are there CAPS services available to graduate students? Yes, for more info https://caps.umich.edu/  What is CAPS? Counseling and Psychological Services. These services are free with your student health care plan.
  2. How does the health insurance work here? For more info visit link below https://hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness/health/health-plans/gradcare.
  3. Quarterly taxes…what?! There are workshops to help you with this! Also you can ask another graduate student for help or one of the Sacnistas.
  4. VA services? https://www.annarbor.va.gov/
  5. Is the gym free? Yes. Where is it? There are 3 gyms and membership is included as a graduate students. The gyms are CCRB, NCRB, and IMSB. How many gyms does U of M have? 3
  6. Does U of M provide emergency funds if I need to go home unexpectedly? Yes
  7. What kind of funding opportunities does U of M provide for graduate students? Research grants or fellowships? Rackham has scholarship and some of the PIBS departments have their own internal fellowships. Rackham has different types of scholarships: fellowships, merit based, and travel grants. Students are eligible for one travel grant per academic year and you can use these funds for conferences. They award ~$750 for national conferences and ~$1050 for international ones.
  8. What kind of support is there for students mental health disorders? CAPS. Does health insurance cover it? Yes


  1. Where can I go for a quick inexpensive coffee or tea? Tim Hortons, Espresso Royale, Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea, Starbucks
  2. Are there any good coffee shops? YES, Mighty Good, Roos Roast, Lab Cafe, Comet Coffee.
  3. Are there any good tea shops? YES, Tea Haus in Kerrytown and at the Briarwood Mall they have Teavana. Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea have good teas too and Crazy Wisdom.
  4. What are some popular local stores? Many can be found at the Kerrytown Market and Shop
  5. What are some popular craft stores? Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics and crafts
  6. Any good bookstores? Yes Literati Bookstore, Dawn Treader Book Shop, West Side Book Shop, Common Language Books and many more in Kerrytown.
  7. Is there a place where I can learn pottery? Yes, Ann Arbor Art Center
  8. Where can I go for a movie night for $5/person? Wednesday, Rave cinemas on Carpenter near Ypsilanti.
  9. Good restaurant that are inexpensive? Frank’s Restaurant, Fleetwood Diner, Benny’s Family Dining, Cloverleaf Restaurant, and more.
  10. Fancy good restaurants? Vinology, Gratzi, Aventura, The Earl, Taste Kitchen, Pacific Rim, Mani Osteria and Bar, Isalita, and The Chop house.
  11. Any good vegan or vegetarian restaurants? The Lunch Room, Seva, and Jerusalem Garden.

Please feel free to contact us with your questions or with one of the questions from the list above at sacnasboard@umich.edu

Hope to hear from you,

SACNAS UMich chapter board