Michigan Branch (MBTA)

Michigan Branch (MBTA)

A residential community at the University of Michigan, Telluride House brings together students who share a passion for intellectual interchange, a dedication to improving public life, and a commitment to self-government. It was chartered in 2000.


Life at the House

Telluride House offers full room and board scholarships to twenty to thirty University of Michigan undergraduate and graduate students with a variety of academic backgrounds, political views, and cultural perspectives.  These students form a vibrant community, sharing lively conversation, joint projects, and the dynamic experience of democratic life.  Each year, Telluride students plan and implement a major project that improves public life in the Ann Arbor area.


Whether through planned events or informal discussions over meals, life at Telluride House challenges members to explore ideas together and to think seriously about the pressing political, scientific, philosophical and aesthetic questions.

The Public Speaking Program

mbta1 All members of Telluride House participate in a public speaking program that allows them to share their interests with other members as well as to improve their speaking skills in a supportive environment. These hour-long presentations are known familiarly in the House as “PubSpeaks.”

New Ideas Forums

House members often invite faculty to the House for formal lectures and seminars.  Others organize reading groups, visit museums, attend films, plays, and poetry readings.  Whatever the format, these forums are an important staple of the House’s intellectual life.

The Telluride Lecture Series

The Telluride Lecture Series brings prominent alumni of Telluride Association programs to speak to the University of Michigan community.  All events are free and open to the public.  Previous Telluride Lectures have been delivered by Kathleen Frankovic, director of polling at CBS News; noted scholar Francis Fukuyama; Harold Levy, former New York City Schools Chancellor; Kenneth Pomeranz, Chair of History at the University of California at Irvine; and Kathleen Sullivan, Dean of the Stanford Law School.


Telluride House is governed democratically by its residents.  House members enjoy tremendous autonomy, controlling the day-to-day operation of their community, helping to select new members, and determining the goals and focus of lifein Telluride House.  This power of self-government is a unique and central facet of the House.

House Meetings

The precise shape of the House’s political rules and structures evolves over time in response to the needs and desires of the community.  Currently, House members meet every other week. In these House Meetings, a variety of issues are discussed and decisions made, ranging from budget appropriations to planning the next year’s service project to choosing House magazine subscriptions.

Working with Telluride Association

Telluride House is a program run by Telluride Association, a national educational nonprofit.  Members of the House and the trustees of Telluride Association work together to select new House members, to create budgets, and to implement House programs.  House members also involve themselves in the Association’s national projects.  A House representative sits on the Association committee overseeing the Telluride House, and every House member is invited to apply to become a trustee of Telluride Association.


The Annual Project

A focal point of House life is the yearly community-based project that brings issues of governance and public involvement to life.  The project integrates direct service with research and analysis, aiming to improve public life in the Ann Arbor area.  Through the project House members have an opportunity to explore the intersections of community involvement, self-government and intellectual inquiry.  Each year’s House executes its own project while selecting and planning a project for the following year.  Project proposals are developed in collaboration with Telluride Association, which approves the proposal and budget at its annual Convention in June.  Since Telluride Association fully funds the House project each year, no fund-raising is necessary.  All House members are expected to contribute their energies to the project each year.

Projects and Project Themes from Previous Years

  • 2006-2007 Project Theme: Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty
  • 2005-2006 Projects: Project Watershed; Youth Literacy Project; International Aid Project
  • 2004-2005 Projects: Youth Literacy Project & International Aid Project; Business of Service Project
  • 2003-2004 Project: Workshops Program
  • 2002-2003 Project: Eldercare
  • 2001-2002 Project: At Risk Youth
  • 2000-2001 Project: Arts in Elementary Education
  • 1999-2000 Project: (Adult) Literacy

Faculty Fellows

Each year, housemembers recruit and select a small number of faculty to live at Telluride House. Faculty Fellows enjoy free room and board while teaching or conducting research at the University of Michigan. The presence of Faculty Fellows allows housemembers to engage with prominent scholars during their day to day activities.

Faculty Fellows often provide the House with seminars or lectures, as well as contributing to dinnertime conversation and generally enriching the intellectual interchange that takes place in Telluride House. In addition to year- or semester-long Faculty Fellows, the House offers hospitality to visiting scholars in town for lectures or performances. For additional information on becoming a Faculty Fellow at Telluride House, please contact the Ann Arbor Office of Telluride Association at 734-668-6039 or mpm@tellurideassociation.org.

For more information, please visit the House’s own website, at www.telluride-house.com.