Palmer Commons

About Us

At the center of the Life Sciences Complex, we proudly offer a warm environment to collaborate with colleagues, rejuvenate over food, gather with study groups and connect with friends. Through use of leading-edge technology and attention to hospitality details, the on-site service team is committed to achieving the event planning, meeting, programming and general gathering needs of the University and Ann Arbor communities.

Our Mission

Palmer Commons serves the University of Michigan community by providing conference and event spaces and services, dining facilities and departmental office spaces as provisioned by the Office of the Provost, managed in accordance to University Unions guidelines. We strive to create an inclusive environment incorporating sustainable efforts where students, faculty, staff and guests come together as a community on common ground.

Univeristy Unions Virtual Student Job Fair


Are you looking for employment for the next academic year? University Unions will be hosting a virtual job fair on June 23rd from 2-4pm. We will have plenty of positions for late summer and for the 2021-2022 academic year! Jobs such as Building Managers, Welcome Services, Event Staff, Set-up and AV staff and Art Coordinator are available at Palmer Commons.

Sign up at to receive a link to the virtual job fair.

COVID-19 Testing Information


In order to keep our campus safe, we are only allowing people from the UM community with active MCards to enter our building. We are open Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm. You must display your ResponsiBlue app result upon entrance to rooms.  For more information on testing, please see the links below.

Palmer Commons Spring/Summer FAQ

Palmer Commons continues to provide the safest environment possible for students and community during the spring/summer terms. Even with public health informed practices, meaningful opportunities for cultivating community and belonging, and student involvement and development with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion remain essential to our mission. In order to ensure Palmer Commons is open for your use, each of us has a responsibility for protecting the health of the community.

Users of Palmer Commons need to commit to the following fundamental public health practices. These actions are some of the most powerful things we can do, and they depend on each one of us doing our part.

  • Wearing face coverings at all times in the public areas, lounges, food courts, corridors, elevators, and office suites.
  • Practice physical distancing.
  • Maintaining good hand hygiene.
  • Limit gathering size.

What will be open?

Commons spaces such as lounges, study areas will be open with social distancing protocols in place. Fields Cafe will remain closed and departments such as DCM&B and CRLT will be working remotely.

Will masks/face coverings be required?

As we implement significant steps to improve health and safety, we also need your help to protect all members of our community. Face coverings, such as disposable masks or cloth face coverings, must be worn by all individuals at all times in public areas. This includes common space lounges, study lounges, food operations, hallways, stairwells, office suites and elevators. CDC Guidance on Face Coverings

What sanitization protocols will be in place?

Our Building Services team will be using enhanced cleaning protocols, especially high-touch areas like door handles, flat surfaces, elevators, and handrails. Deep cleaning of spaces will occur overnight. Meeting rooms will be cleaned between each use. Bathrooms will be cleaned and sanitized regularly with techniques proven effective against viral transmission. Visitors to Palmer Commons also have a role to play in limiting virus transmission through frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer, wearing a face covering, and maintaining at least 6 feet from others. We will have signage throughout the building stating health and safety protocol, along with extra sanitizing stations.

Will the lounges and food areas reopen?

These spaces will reopen with significant public health informed practices. Furniture will be reduced and the remaining furniture repositioned to allow for social distancing and decreased capacity. Capacity of spaces will be posted. We encourage you to use mobile-ordering and pick-up for food vendors when they re-open. As we do everything we can to put in place protections for health and safety, we also need your help to protect all members of our community so please refrain from moving furniture.

Classroom Use

Will classes be held in Palmer Commons?

No. Most classes will take place remotely for the spring/summer terms.


Will there be capacity limits?

Yes, capacity limits will follow State of Michigan Executive Orders and CDC guidance for group size. Seating in each room will be configured with six feet of distance between seats and the anticipated placement of people in each room. Aisleways will be wider, and there will be additional spacing for tables with people stationed at them such as buffet tables and registration tables. These new configurations will significantly decrease the room capacities from the stated fire code capacity. No matter the size of the meeting room, no meetings or events will exceed the gathering size limitations as dictated by U-M and the Governor.

Should in-person team meetings be discouraged even if social distancing?

Yes, in person meetings are discouraged. We recognize not all University and student activities can be done virtually and we all miss seeing each other in-person. If having an in-person meeting is critical, consider everything you can do to reduce risk and offer a hybrid option of joining virtually. Our Event Services team is ready to assist you with planning in person and virtual events using Zoom, BlueJeans and Google Meet..

Can my event/meeting still be catered? Yes!

  • MCatering will continue to offer a robust variety of menu options and meet dietary preferences. The service style may be different than you are used to, for instance, servers will be wearing masks and items that were previously self-serve (beverages, buffets) will now be served by MCatering staff. Group size restrictions, physical distancing and other public health considerations may impact the level of available catering.
  • Katherine’s Catering: They are in full swing, offering lots of pre-packaged meal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and appetizers. They have invested in the necessary equipment to provide safe events, including plexiglass shields, sneeze guards and individual salt and pepper shakers to name a few. They also conducted staff training to ensure their team is well informed and understand the new event protocol. There is a detailed section on their website outlining the current COVID plan. (under the about tab)
  • Zingerman’s Catering: Zingerman’s Catering and Events’ sales staff, kitchen crew, event planners, drivers and service staff, thank you for your continued loyalty as we navigate the current health situation in our community. As always, we appreciate the opportunity to be part of your special occasions and your everyday meals. Our motto says that we deliver “great taste that you can trust” and that continues to be our number one priority. When you are offering Zingerman’s full flavored food to your friends, family and coworkers, we know that you are trusting us to be vigilant in our food safety practices. We will continue to deliver great food to your door, ready for you to enjoy with confidence.For more information, see the following Google document.
  • Pizza House: The delivery option will continue to be contact-free with pre-payment online. For information regarding catererd events contact Sue Baker, Asst.General Manager/Catering,

On This Topic

COVID-19 Testing Information


In order to keep our campus safe, we are only allowing people from the UM community with active MCards to enter our building. We are open Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm. You must display your ResponsiBlue app result upon entrance to rooms.  For more information on testing, please see the links below.

Places to Study

Explore places to meet, collaborate, or study at Palmer Commons

Hours of Operation

Sping/Summer Hours of Operation

Monday - Thursday: 8am - 5pm 

Closed Weekends


July 4th Weekend Hours of Operation

Friday, July 2: 8am - 3pm

Closed: July 3 - 5



What's New

Posted: Monday, June 14, 2021 - 11:25am