Day: September 12, 2019

President Koubek’s Fall Letter to Families:

Welcome class of 2023!

A Message to Families from President Koubek 

The following message is a written adaptation of a speech given to students and families by President Koubek at Michigan Tech’s first year student welcome night on August 24, 2019.  

“Good evening! First, pep band, I am a fan. Thank you. Second, welcome class of 2023. I can tell you that this week campus has been abuzz with excitement about you joining us today because we know the incredible talents you are going to bring to our campus. This incoming class has the highest academic credentials in the history of MTU. Congratulations! 

As you were comparing other universities with Michigan Tech during your college search, I am sure you came to realize just how special Michigan Tech is among the approximately 4,600 universities in the United States. Of the 4,600 new freshman classes engaging in orientation activities just as you are, Michigan Tech is one of two universities in the United States where you have your own ski hill. There is no other university that can lay claim to its very own Mushing team. Your university is the only one in the state of Michigan that has its own College of Computing. And, Michigan Tech is the only public university in the state with a varsity esports team. It’s by no accident that we have been ranked the safest college campus in America. And, lastly – I can suspect that no other university lets classes out early so students can build life-size ice sculptures in the middle of February. Truly, there is no other place like it. 

As mentioned, I’ve been the president of Michigan Tech for a year now. And you will find, like I did, that Michigan Tech is indeed a special place. I talked about the many things that I think are unique, but I will tell you what I believe to be the secret of success at our university. It is not what we are as an institution, but rather who we are. The people are what define our institution. You saw all of those people in yellow shirts today. Those folks came out and volunteered because they are excited for you to be here and they want to help you. What you are going to find at Michigan Tech is that our faculty, our staff, and our students are committed to your success in a special way.  

As I was preparing for tonight’s talk, a colleague asked, “So, are you going to give them the speech? You know…the look to your left, look to your right…only one of us will graduate speech.” 

I said, “Yes, but I am going to give the Michigan Tech version…which is look to your left, now look to your right…because we want all of you to be together at graduation four years from now.” And, that is what this institution is committed to do. That in four years all of you are sitting here again. Only this time, it’s to celebrate graduation. 

So, I have one request for you. 

That is to ask. Everyone here is oriented toward you succeeding. If you are having an issue with your roommate, ask. If you are not sure how to solve a math problem, ask. If you are missing home and need to talk to someone, ask. If you don’t know where a building is, ask. 

Please know our entire university is set up for you to succeed here. All you have to do is ask.” 


MTU’s Moonshot!

Click the image above to watch the Keweenaw Rocket Range team’s amazing journey to liftoff.

The Michigan Tech student organization Keweenaw Rocket Range — aptly named after an isolated NASA launch pad once located on the northern tip of the peninsula — participated in their first Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Challenge at Spaceport America in New Mexico this past June. The rookie team of ten’s hard work definitely paid off as they successfully launched and recovered their rocket. Click to watch their amazing journey to liftoff.  


It Takes A Village…

By Amber Bennett, Counseling Services

The modern day interpretation of the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” suggests that an entire community of people must interact with children for them to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. And, yes, while technically Michigan Tech students are now young adults, we realize the importance of creating an inclusive, caring environment for our students to thrive. As a counseling professional, I know that the years spent in college are typically among some of the most tumultuous times an individual experiences in their lifetime. Normalizing these stressors and validating the feelings that come with these experiences is a simple, but critical component that families can provide. 

We find many students begin to struggle with confidence, sadness, isolation, and academic distress between weeks four to seven. This is typically when their first exams are scheduled, and it may be the point when material in classes is more challenging than anticipated. First year and transfer students are not always prepared for the difficulty of the course material and exams, and therefore may receive lower grades than anticipated. Sleep schedules and healthy diets are often sacrificed to complete homework and study for the next round of exams. 

Families are encouraged to keep a constant dialogue going with their students via regular texts, calls, and video chats. Initiating an open and honest conversation with your student about how they are doing and encouraging them to let you know how they are handling the stressors of college life may set the stage for later conversations when they are struggling. Here are a few questions to help jumpstart those conversations. 

How are you sleeping?

How is your appetite? Are you finding enough to eat in the dining hall?

Tell me about the best part of the semester: What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? What is your favorite part of the day? 

Signs of distress may include: 

Difficulty getting to class or completing academic work. 

-or-

Difficulty falling or staying asleep, trouble getting out of bed, forgetting to eat, lack of appetite, eating too much or too little, or facing challenges to complete the daily activities necessary to take care of themselves (showering, brushing teeth, doing laundry, etc.). 

-or-

Difficulty feeling connected to others, believing everyone else is making friends more easily than they are and expressing a lack of belonging on-campus. 

You know your student best. If you feel their behavior has changed significantly or you have cause for concern, encourage them to make an appointment with Michigan Tech’s Counseling Services or you may use the Report a Concern tool to express your concerns to us.  We are happy to assist.