HOUGHTON — No sleep on campus last night for the students of Michigan Tech as the magic of winter brings several weeks of snow sculpting to completion, earning the honor of display across the university and its reaches even across the Portage Canal. The University’s Winter Carnival event known as all-nighter took place throughout the midnight hours allowing snow sculptors to finalize their displays before judging this morning.
This years theme refers to Innovation, STEM education, and of course snowy Situations. And every group who participated has a different application to that theme. Statues this year include a farm setting by Tia Kappa Epsilon which comes complete with a barn and a silo, along with a combine harvester and a cornfield with corn stalks ready for harvest.
Phi Kappa Tau’s typical fashion has a monstrous structure sporting bridges and waterwheels and as much snow both high and wide as contest regulation or property lines permit.
It may have appeared that more law enforcement were present on campus this year, but they weren’t necessarily on patrol. The Michigan State Police in an officer recruitment program is spreading the word that applications are being accepted and has well over a dozen troopers onsite to talk with potential candidates.
“Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival brings in a huge amount of people from outside the area,” said Post Commander Randy Danison of the Michigan State Police Calumet Post. “Our department is in the process of hiring a lot of people and we’re here looking for people who want to join the Michigan State Police.”
This is the first year that the Post has held a booth at the event, but Danison believes that it’s an important opportunity and a chance to meet potential future state troopers.
“We’re here to answer questions and talk to people,” said Danison. “And just be a part of the community.”
Interested parties can contact the Calumet or an other State Police Post to find out more information. Another event that’s new this year is X Games level snowmobile jumping on a course that filled the Rosa Center’s parking lot with inflatable snowmobile ramps and a very engaged audience.
Student Tia Fedor single-handedly spearheaded the effort to make the event possible and bring two X Game sled riders to the Keweenaw for a couple of short shows.
“They’re doing front flips, back flips, you name it, they’re in the air,” said Fedor. “It was kind of a matter of orchestrating between the different groups in the school and the actual vendor. They’re halfway across the country. My first call to Tyler, the vendor was in June or July, so it’s been about 8 months or 9 months, but it’s total worth it. Everything is worth it.”
Another long standing favorite all-nighter tradition that took place is the Free Chili, handed out by members and volunteers with the Michigan Tech Alumni Association.
“It was started by the Library Restaurant many many years ago,” said Jim Rathbun, a volunteer with the Alumni association. “Since then it’s been taken over by the Michigan Alumni Association.”
Hungry Spectators enjoyed a warm bowl until supplies ran out later in the night.
“40 years ago, it was part of my being her and I still remember the chili wagon coming around,” Rathbun said. “Everybody loves the free chili.”
Although statue building is now complete, many more events are scheduled throughout the weekend with a full list if events at mtu.edu/carnival.