Month: February 2024

Gift to Blue Key Provides Solid Footing to Future of Winter Carnival Tradition

Pulicks with members of Blue Key.
Pictured (l-r): Aracely Hernandez-Ramos, Skylar Spitzley, Michael Pulick, Elizabeth Pulick, Joe Dlugos, and Sara Goheen.

When you think of Michigan Technological University, there is one tradition that stands out amongst the rest: Winter Carnival. Its reputation is second only to the University’s outstanding academic reputation and job placement rate.

Winter Carnival is organized and run by Michigan Tech’s premier student leadership organization, Blue Key National Honor Society. Blue Key’s mission at Tech is “to organize and coordinate Winter Carnival in a fair and equitable manner to serve the surrounding community.” The organization strives for excellence in academics, development of leadership, and service to the community. Student volunteers in Tech’s Blue Key chapter put their leadership acumen on display every year as they successfully plan, fundraise, organize, and execute the University’s most time honored tradition.

While the lack of snow certainly made this year’s edition historic, Blue Key and Michigan Tech had another milestone reason to celebrate Winter Carnival 2024. Blue Key recently received a generous gift from Elizabeth (Schumacher) Pulick ’88 and Michael Pulick ’86. The former Blue Key members know how important the student experience is to Michigan Tech Huskies. They wanted to make a gift to Michigan Tech that supported all students and the community by endowing Winter Carnival. The funds Blue Key will receive from the endowment will go directly to supporting the annual costs of putting on a major community event plus a scholarship for the Blue Key president.

“Blue Key was special for me,” said Elizabeth. “It allowed me to be a leader and hone those skills working with people.”

Michael added, “Blue Key put me into situations like managing a budget and meeting with community leaders and the media. It was pressure that I hadn’t felt before. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun.”

“This was a genuine surprise and absolutely wonderful,” said Joe Dlugos, a senior environmental engineering student and current president of Blue Key. “This gift will not only help Blue Key, but everyone who enjoys Winter Carnival.”

“We will be able to provide students with scaffolding, shovels, and lighting for snow statues,” said Dlugos. “We have plans to add fire pits for people to stay warm during the all-nighter. The possibilities are endless, and we couldn’t be more grateful to the Pulicks for their support.”

The Pulicks credit their experience in Blue Key and as Michigan Tech students for amplifying their personal growth. “We always talk to others about how special Tech is,” said Michael. “We want Winter Carnival to go on forever, and hope this gift takes some of the pressure off of students in Blue Key.”

Elizabeth echoed the sentiments. “We are really passionate about the student experience and wanted to pay back what we received. We’re excited to help Blue Key make Winter Carnival better for the whole community.”

Annually, Winter Carnival occurs the second weekend in February with events including snow statues, broomball, stage revue, royalty competition, human dog sled races, and Michigan Tech hockey. The event not only brings students, alumni, and the community together, but it also has a considerable economic impact on the Keweenaw.

Laura Bulleit, vice president for student affairs, underscored the significance of Blue Key and Winter Carnival. “The impact of Winter Carnival isn’t limited to just a fun weekend for our students. It’s so much more than that. It is a major draw for alumni, families, and tourists, and has an enormous impact on our local economy. Very few student organizations have the opportunity to plan and execute something as large as Winter Carnival. To know that it’s our students, and not faculty and staff, who are behind all of this really highlights the capability and excellence of our Michigan Tech students.”

Blue Key has put on Winter Carnival for 90 years. The Pulicks’ gift helps ensure that Blue Key has the resources to continue the tradition into the future.

“This endowment will preserve one of Tech’s most well-known traditions in perpetuity,” said Bill Roberts, vice president for advancement and alumni engagement. “I’m so glad the Pulicks have led the way with this gift that will ensure Winter Carnival for generations to come.”

Michigan Tech’s endowment is a collection of funds which were given by donors to provide support to Michigan Tech in perpetuity. When an endowment gift is received, it is placed in a long-term investment fund. The investment returns generated from that principal are used on a continual basis while the principal is preserved for the future. The endowment provides the University with future financial stability.

Others may join the Pulicks to further support the Blue Key endowment with a one-time or annual gift. Those interested can contact the Office of Gift Planning at 906-487-3325.

Seasonal Sports in the Copper Country

In the wake of an unseasonably warm Winter Carnival, it makes sense to wonder what season we are really in! The snow that usually lingers until late spring, and even early summer in the deep woods, is nearly nonexistent so spring seems right on the horizon. Even though broomball, skiing, and other winter sports have been scarce this year, it is still possible to get some fresh air by hiking the trails or a good old-fashioned game of mud ball! When the weather gets warmer and the snow starts to go, what is your favorite thing to do in the Copper Country? Let us know in the comments.

2024 Alumni “Snow” Statue Results

Thanks to all the Michigan Tech alumni and friends who participated in the fourth annual Alumni “Snow” Statue Contest. Congratulations to the winners!

“Snow” Category — Winner

Title: In the Woods and Water Sasquatch Says Winters Are Getting Hotter
Participants: Kristen ’08 and Paul ’08 Roell, and their little Huskies Abigail (7), Philip (4), and Mae (1)
Location: Rapid City, Michigan

When camping in the UP forests or exploring the Lake Superior shore, has anyone seen this guy before? Whether the kids are watching for him while driving the Seney stretch or listening to scary stories about him around the campfire, Sasquatch brings fun to our family outdoor adventures. Our snow squatch began has a 6+ foot pile of snow, but with the warm temperatures, this elusive squatch is quickly melting away!

“Snow” Category — Runner Up

Title: Land of the Icy Blue Waters
Participants: Susan ’94, Scott ’90, and Erica Conradson
Location: Cadillac, Michigan

Sascha, the Hamms bear, has taken a wrong turn and ended up in the Land of the Icy Blue Waters, located in Michigan instead of her native Minnesota. She enjoys the Great Outdoors by fishing out of her hallowed canoe, having a cold drink, and singing “From the land of icy blue waters, from the land of pines and lofty balsams…” She better pay attention because the big fish is about to swim away. In keeping with the theme this year, she loves the outdoors, and she is partaking in the Tech Carnival tradition of celebrating winter and having a beverage.

“No Snow” Category — Winner

Title: Michigan Birds of Winter Will Enjoy This Gourmet Dinner!
Participants: Lisa ’88 and Stephen ’86 Williams
Location: Cadillac, Michigan

Considering how much the birds (and other critters) enjoyed our entry last year, we decided to apply the craft to this year’s theme. Our statue pays tribute to those tough feathered friends that stick around during the (usually) brutal Michigan winters and roam our forests and shores. This statue is constructed in Cadillac, Michigan, out of completely consumable food products and bird/sunflower seeds. Representing some of our finest forest creatures (frogs, fish, birds, and squirrels), the sunflower seed-filled dough animals have been baked golden brown and are served up on a remaining snow drift. The backdrop is a sunflower seed-covered mountain that falls into the birdseed river. To ensure anyone who sees this has no doubt of the origin, we’ve thrown in a silhouette of the UP, a Piano Dog, and a couple of pasties! Now that the pics are snapped, it’s already under siege by our local feathered and furry friends!

“No Snow” Category — Runner Up

Title: Wilbrrr’s Winter Wednesday
Participants: Ben Thompson ’09, with his children Aspen and Laurel, and Drew Vettel ’05, with his children Maeda and Jackson
Location: Woodruff, Wisconsin

We took a family vacation with friends to Woodruff, Wisconsin, and stayed at an Airbnb on a quiet little lake. The statue was built at the end of the dock at the place we are staying at. We harvested some broken pine boughs and flower parts from a kiddo craft project to add some character to the entry. Wilbrrr is sporting a pine mustache and mohawk. The statue was mostly built by Ben and Drew, but our eldest daughters helped a bit and we had plenty of playtime in the snow with them too (sledding, making snow angels, learning cross-country skiing, etc.).