Archives—July 2009

What to bring to campus

Students gathered during orientationWith only about four weeks left before the beginning of the school year, there’s a lot to get prepared for. It can be difficult to imagine living with another person, let alone three others, but its amazing how many of the situations work out as perfectly as possible. An important part to making your experience living in the residence halls enjoyable is to know what is important to bring and what can be left behind. One recommendation I will make is to have your student talk to their assigned room-mates. Together, they decide who will contribute toward the room, since it is a group effort. This team work is a good way start communication between the students and allows for an easier transition when moving in. In addition to talking about what is important to bring, I’ll also be discussing information about book shopping as many students can get their books ahead of time, so they aren’t worrying about it during Orientation Week.

Academic Supplies

For many students, this is an easy subject for them to prep for as many of the items are common to what they would have used during their early school years, but there are a few items that might escape their minds as they begin packing. A backpack is important, especially one that will be comfortable and fit everything they might need for their courses. Sometimes the schedule of classes doesn’t allow the student to return to his or her room and so they’ll have to pack the books and supplies for all the necessary courses, thus the importance of a backpack that will be able to fit everything. Other necessities include a dictionary/thesaurus, graphing calculator (a TI-89 is the recommended model, but the student can choose which graphing calculator they prefer), computer disks/CD-ROMs, stamps/envelopes, and a calendar. In terms of writing utensils and other mechanical tools for school work the list includes pencils/pens, highlighters, scissors, ruler, stapler/staples, tape and a hole-punch. Some of these items might seem a little unnecessary, but trust me when I say that all of these items have come in handy several times during my time at Michigan Tech.

Room Items/Personal Items/Electronic Items

This list will help with some of the things that students will need for their beds and general room, electronics that are allowed, and general personal items that come in handy. For many of the room items, this is where the students should coordinate what they can contribute in terms of a microwave, iron, mini-fridge, tools, etc. This way the room won’t get cluttered with double items that take up space.  Other necessary room items include blankets/comforter and mattress pad and sheets (keep in mind that the bed is an extra long twin 36”x80” and most stores carry the sheets that will fit on-sale during the back-to-school time), pillows, desk lamp, fan, hangers, storage boxes/tubs, and poster adhesive just to mention a few.  For personal Items it is important to make sure that students bring all the necessary medications they need and it helps to pack a first-aid kit for small emergencies. Other items include hair dryers, shower caddy (used to carry shower items back and forth), toiletries, and towels. Electronic items are what a lot of students like to bring along and again it helps if the students work together on some of these items, like the television. Other considered necessities are an alarm clock, camera, coaxial cable, computer equipment, extension cords, power strips, radio/cd player, and telephone. As a heads up for any parent who doesn’t know, the students will have internet coming into the room available for their use as well as a phone line with FREE long-distance calling.

Clothing and Laundry Items

This is a pretty easy list to pack for, because many of these items are used every day by the students. It is recommended that students pack several different pairs of shoes including athletic, dress, casual, and boots. From personal experience, some of the winter items (boots, winter coat, snow-pants, etc.) can wait until about Family Weekend (early October) or when students return home for Thanksgiving they can pick the winter items up then. Other things to pack include a bathrobe, casual clothing, dress clothes, pajamas, shower shoes/sandals, slippers, socks, sweaters/sweatshirts, and underwear. For the laundry supplies it is important to bring fabric softener, laundry basket/bag, laundry detergent, stain remover, bleach, and don’t forget a supply of quarters. I took a jar and every time I got quarters I would add them to the jar so that I would have a decent supply for doing laundry.

Miscellaneous Items & What NOT to Bring

Under the category of miscellaneous items is where you’d find the listing for batteries, camera, flashlights, health insurance cards (which are very important to have), photo ID, recreational equipment, sewing kit, social security card, umbrella, etc. Usually students know what they need, but remind them to keep in mind the space they have to work with and that they are sharing the space with others. There is some space for storage on campus, but it is expected that students have the majority of their items in the room. Now onto what not to bring. Specific rules in the Residence Halls limit the use of certain items, which include candles/incense, electric heaters, air conditioners, halogen lights, high school textbooks, too many suitcases, toasters, and toaster ovens/hot plates. The reason is that many of these items are a fire hazard and therefore unnecessary in the room.

For more information about what is important for the students to bring, check out Orientation On-Campus Living website. Also, it might be important to know some of the Residence Hall rules before coming to campus as a way of clearing up any confusion about what is and isn’t allowed within the halls.

Book Shopping

For many students there schedule is already set up and therefore they can get a jump start on book shopping. For students to check out what books they will be needing for the upcoming school year they simply go to the Campus Bookstore to purchase textbooks. Express Text is set-up where the student can put in their User ID and Password and get the complete listing of books needed. Then they can pre-order on-line and the books will be waiting for them when they get to campus, or students can wait and purchase them once they arrive. Just to clarify, your student’s username is the first part of their email (anything before and then the password that was given to them by Michigan Tech for logging into their email. It is alright to wait to purchase textbooks until you arrive on campus, because extra staff will be available to assist the increase in students searching for textbooks during Orientation week as well as the first week of classes. The Campus Bookstore does price-match, so if your student finds the book they need at a cheaper price (including shipping), say at or any other credible bookstore then the bookstore will sell it to your student for that price and then they won’t have to wait for the book to come in.

Other areas to find books in the area include the College Bookshelf located just off campus in the Pearl Street Mall near Jim’s IGA.  Also, the Barkboard Forum is great for finding used books at great prices, as this is the place where other Michigan Tech students will sell the books they no longer need. Some things to keep in mind and to let your students know about:  It can be very helpful to keep the receipts on books that you purchase from either the Campus Bookstore or the College Bookshelf as this will help with returning the books should the need arise. Also, some books come packaged in plastic wrap and once the wrap is off, the bookstores will not accept them back. So, it is important to make sure that your student absolutely needs the books before they open them or have to return them. The professor will let the students know exactly what books are necessary for the class. So as a suggestion, make sure your student holds on to all receipts and to hold off on opening plastic-wrapped books until the professor states that they will be specifically using those items in the course.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing specific information about Amplify Your Success for both parents and students, which will be details about Orientation Week. I hope you and your student(s) are getting excited for Orientation week!

My Extended Weekend in Houghton

campus-constructionI decided to head to Houghton for the weekend with a friend, and saw lots of changes to the local area. The construction has been going great and is even considered ahead of schedule. My reason for visiting Houghton this weekend wasn’t because of any big festival, but rather to assist my friends at the Copper Country Humane Society (CCHS) with their Big Bash. Below you will read about the updates to construction and the CCHS Big Bash.


As of Monday, at the construction of Downtown Houghton site, crews were working on removing the fifth block of Sheldon Avenue and the bricks are being laid in the area of the third block. The third block is then expected to be open to traffic by the middle of next week. There is still vehicular access available to parts of Sheldon Avenue that are not under construction yet. These areas allow for angular parking to accommodate anyone wishing to access the local businesses. The entrances by Franklin Square Inn and from the side streets are available for vehicles to access. Continued updates on the construction can be found on the Streetscape Renovation Announcements website. The Daily Mining Gazette article, “Construction ahead of schedule”, also shares information about how construction is going and the work they intend to be completing within the upcoming weeks.

In terms of the construction in front of Michigan Tech, things are going superbly. Paving is nearly completed and it looks like the stretch of road between MacInnes Avenue and Cliff Drive will be opening up as early as next week, which is three weeks ahead of schedule! The remainder of the work is finishing up with the guard rail they are putting into place and a few patches of sidewalk. The image above shows you the work that they have done with putting in the crosswalks for students to use between the residence halls on the south side of campus and the main buildings to the north. When I saw the work they that have done I was amazed. It looks great and will definitely be a change for the first several weeks, but I feel that students will adjust quickly to the visual changes. Another article, “Road work ahead of schedule”, discusses the work they have completed and what remains to be done in more detail.

Big Bash!

While I attended Michigan Tech I spent several years volunteering time at the Copper Country Humane Society and so when my friend informed me that she was heading up to help out with their annual Big Bash, I wanted to offer my services again. The Big Bash is when the shelter brings in the most fundraised money to help out with the cats and dogs they take in. Located in the Nara Nature Park, the shelter operates as a “no time limit” for all domestic dogs and cats from three surrounding counties. The Big Bash is held at the shelter every year where raffles for gift baskets, an auction of over 50 donated goods (this year included 4 tickets to a Lion’s game), a prize wheel, free food, music, and lots of fun and games. Plus we can’t forget those lovable animals. Opportunities to walk dogs, visit with our cats, and of course adoptions were also a part of this weekend’s festivities. The shelter provides a great service to the local community, and if any of your students are looking to volunteer, I highly recommend they check out CCHS and become a frequent helper. The CCHS website also has a link that discusses the many ways in which a volunteer can “Help Us Out” (

I had a great weekend visiting Houghton and might even be returning very soon to adopt another feline friend to play with my first adopted cat from CCHS. It was also exciting to see the changes to the downtown area and to get a look at campus construction as well. It’s great that everything is ahead of schedule and will be completed early. As mentioned last week we are coming up on the Orientation week, and I sat down with some Orientation staff to get the information you and your students will need to know. So be looking for Orientation 2009 articles to be coming out real soon

Michigan Tech’s Student Organizations (Part 2)

campusContinuing where I left off last week, I’ll be highlighting three more student organization categories. These three categories are Media and Literary, Greek both Fraternity and Sorority and lastly Other Interests.

Media and Literary

So many fun things take place on campus, and what better way to spread this entertainment than through the media and literary sources? On campus such groups that fall under this category include the Camera Club of Michigan Tech , Cross Reference, Film Board, the Lode, Splash: The Visual Art Club, and Technobabe Times just to name a few. Within these organizations students will have the opportunity to meet with others who share their interest in photography, movies, current campus events, and so much more. For example, Technobabe Times is a monthly publication and active group that is “dedicated to the empowerment of women in all aspects of technology and culture”. Cross Reference is a new publication started up this past school year where Christian news, entertainment and features that take place on campus can be read. All of these organizations in this category are in the area of entertaining and providing the campus with information relevant to the student body in different ways.

Greek – Fraternity & Sorority

There are over 30 different Fraternities and Sororities on campus that provide a wide range of services to the Michigan Tech students and campus. Some of them are even geared towards a specific field of study, for example the Alpha Kappa Psi was established as a professional business fraternity, offering professional and social activities to both men and women attending Michigan Tech. Others are affiliated with professional groups such as the Boys of America. All in all the Fraternities and Sororities work together upholding the traditions and ideals upon which the organization was founded on.

Other Interests


Now there are so many different types of organizations that this last category I’m mentioning ties in a lot of the various groups we have on campus. Some of them are sports related (Alpine Racing Team, Copper Country Running Club), some music related (DAWGS) and some are suited to personal interests and hobbies (Birdbums of Michigan Tech, Medievalist Club). Other opportunities for students include Mont Ripley Ski Patrol, where students help promote public safety when skiing the slopes at Ripley, Houghton Anime Review Organization (HARO), a group that is interested in the Japanese animation (anime), and Mitch’s Misfits, a group of students “who are bringing life back into the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena” by supporting our Division I hockey team.

I can’t say enough how much fun it is to be involved in a student organization on campus. Whatever your interest may be, there is something for everyone on Michigan Tech’s campus. The student organizations are available to help our students make everlasting friendships and provide them with the opportunity to enjoy their college experience. I’ve only mentioned a handful of the organizations that are available, so please, if you son or daughter has a different interest than those that I have mentioned, check out the full listing of Student Organizations online. Looking ahead, articles will be discussing the upcoming Orientation Week 2009 and what parents and students need to know to get prepared for the 2009-10 school year.

Michigan Tech’s Student Organizations (Part 1)

campusWhile I attended Michigan Tech it was very important to me to get involved with different activities on campus. The university offers over 200 different student organizations for everyone to choose from. One great aspect is that if a student cannot find an organization that suits their hobbies, then chances are they will find other individuals who have the same interests and they can all work together to start a new group. Within this article I’ll list three different student organization categories highlighting different groups within each category.

Electronics and Computing

Over the years Michigan Tech has become a more diversified university with its students expanding the types of activities that take place on campus. This category of student organizations includes groups such as the Audio Engineering Society, WMTU, Television Production, Linux/Unix Users Group and several others. The Audio Engineering Society (AES) has provided campus with some great sound throughout the years, as they usually build an awesome stereo speakers snow sculpture for Winter Carnival. The MTU chapter of AES encourages educational interest in audio design, theory and production for all new members and advanced members are encouraged to participate in the investigation towards new and innovated audio technologies, process, approaches and theories. This group is definitely a great opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted to work with audio. WMTU is Michigan Tech’s radio station located in the basement of West Wadsworth Residence Hall and can be heard on 91.9fm on your radio dial and online. This radio station provides entertaining music of all varieties based on who the dj is for a specific time. WMTU gives students the opportunity to be live on the air playing their favorites and taking requests. In addition to playing music on the air waves, throughout the year they also sponsor different events such as Keweenawsomefest, where different music groups come up to Michigan Tech to perform for a couple of days.

Governance and Political

If your student has an interest in politics or being a student leader there are lots of governing and politics groups on campus. These groups range from the College Democrats of Michigan Tech to being a member of a Residence Hall Council. Other groups that are a part of this category include Students of Liberty, who work to promote and spread the ideals upon which the United States Constitution was written and our founding fathers beliefs, Memorial Union Board, a group of students that facilitate the use of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) for the benefit of all Michigan Tech students, and Graduate Student Council which was established to help represent the intellectual, professional and academic interests of the graduate students on campus. Many of these leadership opportunities look great on resumes and each group works hard to promote many great ideals and benefit campus in various ways.

Recreation and Gaming

The Keweenaw Peninsula is in the top 10 for greatest places for outdoor recreation in the United States. Many students choose to come to Michigan Tech because Houghton and surrounding areas provide this opportunity for those that love to explore and get outdoors. Such clubs include the Copper Country Cycling Club (C4), Disc Golf Club, Geology Club, Lacrosse Club of Michigan Tech, Snowmobile Club of MTU (Sledheads), and the Sailing Club of Michigan Tech, just to name a few of the outdoor side of this category of student orgs. Other types of groups that are more on the indoor side include Dance Dance Revolution Club, Gamers Anonymous, Indoor Track and Field Club, Social Dance, Swing Club, Table Tennis Club, and Water Polo Club. Each group has different events that they hold throughout the year and a lot of other activities that they get involved in on campus. For many students this is a great opportunity to get out and explore the unknown territory that is the Keweenaw Peninsula and for others is a chance to continue doing what they enjoy while in college.

For each of these categories I’ve only listed a handful of clubs. A more complete list can be found on the Student Organization’s website where there is a list alphabetically and by category. Through this list you can find more information about each group and a link to their websites. Next week I’ll continue on with student organizations doing a couple more categories from the big list. I also wrote two articles last year about student organizations, so looking back at the ParentNet archives is where these two articles can be found (entitled: Student Organizations Part 1 and Part 2). If there are any questions or comments about this article please email me at my personal email address. Any suggestions for future articles are welcome as well.