HOUGHTON — With an average snowfall of 218 inches, the Houghton / Hancock area makes for the perfect winter playground. Many come to ski and snowmobile in the Keweenaw snow, and for Michigan Tech students, it’s time to build something with it. Students at Michigan Tech returned to campus from the holiday break, and wasted no time digging into a long standing Husky tradition.
“Tonight we are making forms,” said Hannah Badger, the Carnival Chairperson for Delta Phi Epsilon. “We usually do about 2 forms a night, tonight we’re only doing one. We’re actually wrapping up because we do not have enough materials right now. We need more rope, or ratchet straps for another form, but we should be getting more materials this week.”
One by one, each sorority, fraternity, and group of like minded engineering students put their obtained knowledge to the test as they compete in the community wide celebrated snow sculpture build. Over the next few weeks, throughout the town of Houghton, students will be working around the clock as they practice their frozen craft of forming their creations using only snow an water as ingredients. Another essential element.. is teamwork.
“We usually have a full crowd, which is really nice,” said Badger. “We have statue hours that we do. About 12 this week for everyone.”
These girls began building their structure a few days ago, and although we will have to wait until it’s complete to see exactly what it is, we’re told it fits into this year’s theme quite nicely.
“The theme is ‘Years of innovation STEM from this Snowy Situation,” Badger added. “It’s supposed to be more secret but, probably something related to unicorns will be coming on this statue site.”
Some of these sculptures reach as high as 30 feet in height, and require scaffolding to build. Both re-positioning of the scaffold, and working on a wobbly structure require a lot of collaboration and serve as a team building experience. For the girls at Delta Phi Epsilon Winter Carnival is about much more than just playing in the snow, they collaborate an annual fund raising event as well.
“We’re really excited. We actually do a 36 hour teeter tauter for cystic fibrosis, it’s one of our philanthropies,” said Badger. “We do it right outside the library during All Nighter of winter carnival and we raise money for that foundation. It’s something we’re really passionate about and we love to share with everyone, and we’ll have a go fund me for that. It’s a good time and we’re raising for a good cause.”
After the shift is over its back to the sorority house for warming up.
“A long day, a lot of us go back to the house we all huddle around the TV and watch some movies, but more just getting warm after this.”
Other pre-Carnival activities taking place on campus include Broomball practices, and games with winter volleyball and curling competitions set to take place next weekend. A full list of events can be found at www.mtu.edu.