- Associated Press - Friday, January 8, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Engineering fairies seem to be making themselves at home on the University of Michigan’s North Campus.

This week, a fairy door - sporting a block M and a small football, of course - made its debut right outside Chesebrough Auditorium in the Crisler Center; but this follows closely on the heels of a fairy door (made from a circuitboard) appearing at a lower level entrance of the Crisler Center, adjacent to Pierpont Commons; and North Campus’ first known fairy door, with two fairy windows, on a computer near the entrance of the Bob and Betty Beyster Building, appeared in November.

U-M electrical engineering and computer science professor Rada Mihalcea and her daughter Zara “discovered” the first door at the Beyster Building. (Pressing the power button on that door’s computer illuminates a winged fairy inside.) Meanwhile, Kylee Clemens, a student administrative assistant for U-M’s College of Engineering, and Alicia Rigoni, a recruiting assistant for U-M’s School of Engineering, designed created the newest door outside Chesebrough Auditorium.

“After the first one showed up at BBB, we thought it would be fun to have one in Crisler,” Clemens told The Ann Arbor News ( https://bit.ly/1ReycEL ).

Clemens and Rigoni started with preliminary sketches before the holidays, and after a few hours of labor, the Chesebrough fairy door was ready for installation. The official unveiling happened Monday, before classes started, so that students could be surprised by it upon their return.

“This place is full before class,” said Shawn Salata Ricoy, an academic adviser for U-M’s engineering department. “(Chesebrough) is a big lecture hall, so lots of students come through here.”

“Plus lots of students study or eat their lunch in here,” Rigoni added.

The circuitboard fairy door located on the lower level of Crisler Center was placed with visiting students in mind, since prospective students are often led through that space.

Will any more fairy doors be appearing on North Campus?

“It’s possible,” said Rigoni. “They might just keep popping up.”

North Campus’ new fairy doors were inspired by the ones that have appeared at different businesses around Ann Arbor over the past decade. Jonathan B. Wright, Ann Arbor’s resident fairyologist, first “found” them in his home; and Sweetwater’s Cafe was where the first door appeared downtown in 2005.

Since then, Ann Arbor’s fairy population seems to have boomed, with doors not only at local businesses - so many that families can plan for multiple fairy door walking tours - but also at many local residents’ homes and gardens. Plus, Ann Arbor-based furniture maker Bob Simmons has founded a successful business by crafting fairy doors in his home woodshop.

As for the STEM-friendly fairies suddenly matriculating to U-M’s North Campus, you have to wonder if the high demand for housing in downtown Ann Arbor pushed them to explore new alternatives. To answer that question, we’ll have to see where they turn up next.


Information from: The Ann Arbor News, https://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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