In 2009, a group of University of Michigan students decided to give back to the community in appreciation for the scholarships they had received. They founded Appreciate + Reciprocate (A+R) to raise money for the LSA Emergency Scholarship Fund, which provides aid for undergrads facing an unforeseen financial hardship. Dedicated to the notion that finances shouldn’t pose a barrier to education, A+R raises money through bake sales, postgame cleanups, and benefit concerts to help students pay for textbooks or their rent. The organization also sponsors volunteer activities at a tutoring center, a residential home for the elderly, and local parks to help students make a positive impact on the community.
See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand at the Groupon Grassroots blog.
The Douglas J Aveda Institute is a beauty school in which students under the watchful eye of knowledgeable instructors pamper and soothe exteriors and extremities during salon services. Groupon holders can revitalize tired mugs with a 60-minute elemental nature facial, a customizable toning treatment complete with exfoliation, massage, and spirit-animal reading ($37), or have their features accented with defining brushstrokes and complementary shades during a makeup application or lesson ($22–$25). Elemental nature manicures ($24) and pedicures ($35) scrub and moisturize extremities before decorating talons with fresh paint jobs. Spa-goers can keep rogue follicles at bay with a brow or lip wax ($11), or keep faces as smooth and manicured as a topiary sculpture of the Fonz with a full facial wax ($33).
Before they were household names, Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Allen, and Drew Carey were performers at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. The establishment, once dubbed by Rolling Stone as “one of the best clubs between the coasts,” has been corralling burgeoning stars to its stage since its 1984 inception when it was called Mainstreet Comedy Showcase. Several nights a week, nationally touring comedians who’ve graced the stages of Late Show with David Letterman and Showtime’s Comics Without Borders share witty observations, humorous songs, and intense eye contact with brave audience members in the front row.
As if inspired by the visitors stretching at the fitness center below, a glass spiral staircase extends to the high ceiling, where skylights illuminate the floor below. Heather DuPuis designed Vie Fitness & Spa as an oasis for healthy living, blending health-club amenities and fitness services with a light, airy atmosphere and soaring architecture.
Certified trainers keep clients engaged in an active lifestyle through programs tailored to each individual's goals and lifestyle. In barre classes, an amalgamation of Pilates, ballet, and strength exercises set to up-tempo music work to tighten abs and thighs, and spinning classes test students' endurance while reminding them of their first bicycle's eventual theft.
An onsite juice bar refuels bodies, which stay refreshed with the boutique shop's designer water bottles and hand-poured Illume candles. To unwind after a taxing workout, patrons can stop by the facility spa for a massage or facial or head to the locker rooms equipped with fluffy towels and Pure Fiji bath products with which to wash the towels.
To understand the aim of shiatsu massage, it's helpful to look back to the ancient Eastern philosophies that bore it. These philosophies espouse a holistic understanding of the body centered on “energy rivers” that unite every aspect of the being. Shiatsu massage therapists, such as Cynthia Conklin of Eastern Sun Shiatsu, focus their practice on balancing these energy rivers to stimulate the body's own self-healing powers.
During a typical zen-style shiatsu massage with Cynthia, her client lies facedown on a mat as she holds, stretches, and stimulates the body. These targeted pressures may have benefits that extend beyond a deep state of relaxation: Shiatsu devotees claim that it can provide relief from chronic aches and boost the body's resistance to stress and mind-controlling super villains. When she isn't soothing sore backs and shoulders, Cynthia teaches classes that introduce participants to basic shiatsu techniques.
Mélange's chefs merge European and Asian flavors and presentation techniques to construct a menu of elegant entrees flecked with contemporary American influences. Dishes unite high-quality proteins including Scottish Atlantic salmon and meats marinated with continent-crossing ingredients such as soy, yuzu, and miso, forging a gastronomic alliance as unique as a snowflake-flavored lollipop. A fleet of sushi rolls totes fresh seafood and umami-packed garnishes, and a cellar with more than 1,500 bottles of wine from France, Italy, and California accessorize any mouthful. Mélange's dining area draws inspiration from old Parisian restaurants, with bamboo furnishings bolstering the multicultural ambiance and 10-foot-tall booths fostering intimate conversing and adrenaline-fueled rappelling.