The Diag
At the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census places the population at 113,934, making it the sixth largest city in Michigan. The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 344,791 as of 2010...

, the Diag (ˈdaɪ.æɡ ) is a large open space in the middle of the university's Central Campus. Originally known as the Diagonal Green, the Diag derives its name from the many sidewalks running near or through it in diagonal directions. It is one of the busiest sites on the university campus, hosting a variety of events including outdoor concerts, fundraisers, demonstrations
Demonstration (people)
A demonstration or street protest is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause; it normally consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers.Actions such as...

, and sun bathing.

A brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

 block "M", a symbol of the university, is embedded at the center of the Diag. Local legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

 has it that if a UM student steps on the M before taking his or her first blue book exam at the university, the student will fail his or her first blue book exam
Blue book exam
A blue book exam is a type of test administered at many post-secondary schools in the United States. Blue book exams typically include one or more essays or short-answer questions.Butler University was the first to introduce exam blue books...

. The only way to reverse this "curse" was to run naked from the campus belltower
Burton Tower
The Burton Memorial Tower is a clock tower located on Central Campus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor at 230 South Ingalls Street. Housing a grand carillon, the tower was built in 1936 as a memorial for University President Marion Leroy Burton...

 during the strokes of midnight to two statues of pumas at the Natural Science Museum, then back to the tower before it stopped ringing. This has been made considerably more difficult in recent years as the belltower no longer rings at midnight.

During the week before the annual football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 game against Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Michigan State University is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer land-grant institution and served as a model for future land-grant colleges in the United States under the 1862 Morrill Act.MSU pioneered the studies of packaging,...

, members of the Theta Xi
Theta Xi
Theta Xi was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York on 29 April 1864. Theta Xi Fraternity was originally founded as an engineering fraternity, the first professional fraternity...

 fraternity take turns guarding the inlaid "M" against vandalism by rival fans. A similar vigil takes place at Michigan State University known as "Sparty Watch" or "Sparty Guard" where members of the Spartan Marching Band
Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band
The Spartan Marching Band is Michigan State University's Marching Band. Founded in 1870 as a 10-member student group, the 300-member SMB has since grown into one of the premier college bands in the nation...

 guard the Sparty
Sparty is the mascot of Michigan State University. Sparty is usually depicted as a muscular male Spartan warrior/athlete dressed in stylized Greek costume. After changing the team name from "Aggies" to "Spartans" in 1925, various incarnations of a Spartan warrior with a prominent chin appeared at...

 statue against vandalism.

In April 2008, spring commencement ceremonies were held at the Diag for the first time in the university's 191-year history, as the traditional commencement ceremony location, Michigan Stadium
Michigan Stadium
Michigan Stadium, nicknamed "The Big House," is the football stadium for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan Stadium was built in 1927 at a cost of $950,000 and had an original capacity of 72,000. Before playing football at the stadium, the Wolverines played on Ferry Field...

, was undergoing construction. Rynearson Stadium
Rynearson Stadium
Rynearson Stadium is a stadium in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It is primarily used for American football, and is the home field of the Eastern Michigan University Eagles. It held its first game on September 27, 1969 when EMU upset the University of Akron, 10-3. Currently, the stadium has seating for...

, located at nearby Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University is a comprehensive, co-educational public university located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ypsilanti is west of Detroit and eight miles east of Ann Arbor. The university was founded in 1849 as Michigan State Normal School...

, was initially chosen by UM administration as the alternate commencement site, but a large volume of complaints led an alternate commencement site to be chosen, finally settling on the Diag.

External links

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