Archives—August 2009


AngelaHello to you all! My name is Angela Hoffman and I would like to introduce myself as the new writer for ParentNet. Before I tell you all a little bit about myself I would like to thank Katie, the previous writer, for the dedication and knowledge she brought to ParentNet throughout the past year and a half. Katie did an amazing job writing the weekly articles and I wish her the best in all her upcoming endeavors. I am honored to serve as the new writer for ParentNet and I can only hope that I can connect with you all and help you all in the way that Katie did.

Since this is my first article I would like to give you all the opportunity to get to know a little more about myself and my experiences here at Michigan Tech. I am currently starting my second year as a Psychology major with a minor in Spanish and Social and Behavioral Studies. I absolutely love my classes and I find it completely fascinating to learn about the human mind and human behavior. I am planning on graduating in Spring of 2011 and upon graduating I am hoping to pursue a Masters degree in Psychology or Social Work. I was born and raised in Midland, MI, 8 hours away from Michigan Tech in the Lower Peninsula. I choose to attend Michigan Tech because of the university’s great reputation, the financial aid I received, the beautiful surroundings, and the wonderful administration, faculty, and staff. The first time I visited Michigan Tech I knew this was where I belonged, it just felt like home.

Although I did find Midland and Houghton to have several differences, many of these differences having to do with the location or lack of nearby shopping malls, I have found myself successfully transitioned into college life here in Houghton, Michigan. Having just completed my first year here at Michigan Tech I can’t believe how many great experiences and opportunities I have already had here as a student. Besides classes, I am also an active member of several student organizations and am involved with some organizations in the local community.

I really enjoy volunteering and I am a member of Circle K Service Organization. With Circle K I have completed various service projects in the local area. One of my favorite things to do with this organization is to go dog walking and cat cuddling every week at the Copper Country Humane Society.

As a psychology major I am involved in Association of Psychology Students and will be serving as the secretary this year. This organization gives me the opportunity to get to know other Psychology majors or minors and to do some volunteer work in the community.

Another academic organization I am involved with is Sigma Alpha Pi, The National Society of Leadership and Success. This organization has helped me further develop my leadership skills and has helped me maximize my success by placing members in Success Networking Teams. I meet with my team every month to set goals and to discuss my achievement towards those goals.

I am also involved in Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), one of the many Campus Ministries. This group has helped me continue to practice my faith even with my hectic college schedule. I sing in the praise band from time to time and I attend a weekly bible study in my residence hall that is organized by CCC.

As for further academic involvement, I also have some interest in soil science and throughout this past year I have been doing research with several other students. Together we have formed the Terra Preta Working Group. For the past year we have been doing research and experiments on biochar, a form of charcoal that is produced by burning biomass in a kiln, in the absence of oxygen. This biochar has been found in other research studies to increase soil fertility and store carbon for hundreds of years. With the Terra Preta Working Group I have had the opportunity to present the group’s findings in several research conferences on campus.

Along with my involvement in these student organizations I also really enjoy the great outdoors that the Upper Peninsula has to offer. My favorite place to go hiking is Hungarian Falls. I actually took a short little afternoon trip there this past week and the falls were as beautiful as ever. In the winter months I also really enjoy going snowshoeing on the Michigan Tech trails. In addition, of course, as a good Michigan Tech student I love getting decked out in my Michigan Tech apparel and cheering on the Michigan Tech Huskies at the football and hockey games!

If any of you happen to be visiting campus you may have the opportunity to see me at work. I am employed as a campus Tour Guide with the Admissions office and I as a Deskie at the McNair Reception Desk. This summer I also had the opportunity to work as a Residence Counselor with Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs and as an Orientation Team Leader so perhaps I have already met some of you! I really enjoy working on campus. I love meeting new people and having the opportunity to share with others just what exactly makes Michigan Tech so special. I love to be able to help others in any way possible, so please, if you ever have any questions feel free to email me at!

Well hopefully now you all have gotten the chance now to know a little bit more about myself. I am really looking forward to all the upcoming campus activities and events, and I can’t wait to begin sharing them with you through the weekly articles! Throughout my time as the ParentNet writer please let me know if you ever have any specific topics you would like me to write about, or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for me. I am here for you, to share with you the Michigan Tech experience. Next week I will be writing about some of the upcoming campus activities, such as the annual Keweenaw Day festivities and Family Weekend.

Orientation Week Has Officially Begun

kdayThis past weekend many of our First-year students and their parents moved into Residence Halls on campus and now they are involved in all the Orientation week activities that are planned. Remembering back four years from now, I recall how many people I was meeting all the time. Many of these individuals became great friends that shared so many wonderful college experiences with me. Perhaps that’s why I like Michigan Tech’s Orientation Week so much; just the opportunities to meet so many people, make friends, and transition smoothly into college life.

The semester kicks off on August 31, and for the first week and beginning of week 2 there will be lots of events going on to help get both First-year students and returning students into the Michigan Tech spirit. Known as “Welcome Week”, events include Campus Maps and Breakfast, the NEW Coffee House (in Library), Campus Expo (local businesses and organizations set up booths to talk to students about their services), and a huge Labor Day concert featuring country music artist Chris Cagle! So as you can read, our students will be having the best start to their school year. And there’s a lot more to come this semester in terms of student activities and events. Be sure to be checking out the Michigan Tech Calendar for details on many student events. Of course you can always check in with ParentNet as we try our best to keep you informed on events taking place as well.

My Farewell

I always have a hard time saying goodbye, even if I know it’s not a permanent goodbye, and this situation is no different. The last year and a half with ParentNet has been a wonderful time and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the parents, hearing your stories, receiving input on article ideas and just emailing back and forth for fun in general. I’ve learned so much from all of you and have enjoyed reading your feedback to one another on the email discussion list.  As I say goodbye, all of you will be introduced shortly to Angela Hoffman, a student who is involved in many aspects of the University and student life. She will lead you into the new ParentNet with more information to be coming shortly.

Michigan Tech was my home for the last four years and not going back to school this fall has left me feeling homesick. I don’t regret one day I had while attending Michigan Tech, because I know that I did what I wanted to accomplish. I made friends, had wonderful memories to share, and experienced life. A big part of college for me was catering to the perspective students and their families, as well as current students and their parents. I’m really going to miss this contact, but I know that I’m leaving you in capable hands. I wish all the very best for you and your students as they attend Michigan Tech. My biggest piece of advice for your students would be to TRY EVERYTHING! They never know who they will meet and what opportunities they will receive. I leave here with a quote as it is a reminder to me always:

“Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”  ~Theodor Seuss Geisel

Best wishes in the future!

Summer Coming to the End

Students walking to and from class on campusIt has come down to this, the last week of summer before First-year Michigan Tech students begin their orientation to college. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re enjoying your summer, right? For many this is going to be an interesting time in their life as they get to experience a change that takes them away from home to challenge their intellect and help them grow as individuals. As you, the parents, prepare yourselves for the journey to the Upper Peninsula, there are some important things to remember when getting to campus. Although much of the information in here might seem like repeat information, I think it is important to have all the necessary info for what to do when first arriving to campus.

The first stop needs to be the Rozsa Building, as this is where your student can check-in. Once inside the main lobby of the Rozsa, there will be several check-in desks marked by categories of last name (ex: A-L, M-S, and T-Z). Here students will receive their packet for Orientation Week. This is very important as it contains information to help them get through the week. In addition to having your students Orientation Schedule it also contains their housing schedule, room key, Orientation Team number, Parent Orientation schedule, etc. In addition to checking-in, there will be Student Services tables available. These Student Services are representatives from Financial Aid, Housing and Residence Life, Cashier’s Office, Student Billing, and the Registrar’s Office that will be happy to help you or answer any questions you or your student may have. Here’s the schedule for check-in:

  • Saturday, August 22: 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Rozsa Lobby
  • Sunday, August 23: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Rozsa Lobby

Once your student has successfully checked-in, make your way to your student’s assigned Residence Hall and begin moving in. For those students that show up after the designated check-in times listed above, it is still possible to take care of check-in/move-in the day you get in to town. All your student would have to do is go to Wadsworth Residence Hall and check-in at the Reception Desk. The Reception Desk in Wadsworth will handle all check-ins after 7pm on Saturday and after 4pm on Sunday. They will help get you checked-in and explain what you would need to do from there. As a heads up, the Reception Desk is only open until 10 p.m. and so after that time your student would have to get a hold of a Management Assistant (MA) to get them checked-in.

Move-in for each Residence Hall lasts 30 minutes for each family and with the help of student, faculty, and staff volunteers it usually takes less than thirty minutes. In the front and back of each Residence Hall is available parking for unloading all your student’s room materials. Move-in material will be in the check-in packet your student receives, so it will help make things run smoothly if you and your student review the move-in process before heading to the Residence halls. The times for move-in are 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, August 22-23.

After moving your student in completely, you’ll need to move your vehicles to allow the next family to move in. Visitors can park their vehicles either in Lot 9 in front of the Rozsa center or in Lot 10 which is across from the Rozsa Center. If your student is bringing a vehicle to campus, then they should register it early. The online Registration Form will require your student to sign-in with their ISO information (username and password) and then it will ask you to fill out the information about the vehicle. The vehicle decal for the registered parking lot will be included in your student’s check-in packet. Your student should park their car then as soon as possible in the assigned lot (9, 10, 21, or 24). If your student is unable to register their car early, you can still register once you get to campus at the Housing Facilities Office G044 in the ground floor of Douglass Houghton Hall.

One of the most important things that your student will need to pick up when they arrive to campus (I call this item their lifeline to campus as it gets you into just about everything they’ll need) is their Tech Express Identification Card. This ID card is used for meal passes, getting into computer labs, getting into sporting events, purchasing tickets for Rozsa events, etc. Picking it up as soon as possible is highly recommended, especially before August 24. The Tech Express Service Center is where the Tech IDs can be picked up and is located in the Memorial Union Building. Your student will also need a form of photo ID and their M-number to receive their Tech ID. Here is the schedule for getting the Tech ID Cards:

  • Saturday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m./Sunday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • Monday-Friday Regular Hours: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Another important thing to remind your student about is a required online program that must be completed by August 20! Students received information about this program in their Orientation Pamphlet page 11 titled “ALCOHOLEDU® FOR COLLEGE”. Students need to finish Part 1, which is approximately 2 hours, before they arrive on campus. For more information visit the AlcholoEdu website.

Some of the common lingo you might hear when you arrive on campus is OTL and RA. To help clarify, these are the acronyms for Orientation Team Leader and Resident Assistant. The Orientation Team Leaders, also being called “agent” to fit this year’s theme, is current Michigan Tech student that will be in charge of an Orientation Team. They will lead the team to events, facilitate discussions and meetings, share their experiences and answer questions. The Resident Assistant is the person in charge of your student’s hall and will lead Hall Meetings, help direct the students if they have questions, need assistance, or anything else that might come up during the school year.

Hopefully this information has helped get you prepared for the upcoming Orientation week. The Orientation team is also able to help you if you have any questions specifically regarding some aspect of Orientation. Again, their email is and their phone is (906) 487-3558. Next week I’ll be saying my goodbyes as I hand over the ParentNet reigns to my successor who will start on August 31.

Amplify Your Success: First-year Orientation

A presentation during orientationLast week’s article was all about Parent Orientation and what is important for parents to know. This week, it’s all the information about what your first-year student(s) needs to know and what key events are planned for them during Orientation week. Trust me, this year is going to be great! There are so many great events planned to help your students easily transition into college life.

Once you and your student have arrived on campus, make your way to the Rozsa Center to check-in and pick up your check-in packet that contains all the pertinent information for the week ahead, as well as some other details including your room assignment and key. Next, your student can move in to their Residence Hall with the help of some student and staff volunteers, our “stage crew”. At this time, your students’ Residence Assistant (RA) within your students hallway will be floating around, so be sure to introduce yourselves and get to know them.

Same as before, we break down students into Orientation teams (“bands”) based on their major. These “bands” will be lead by an Orientation Team Leader (OTL), also known as “agent”. These “agents” will be leading your students through the week’s activities, including facilitating the “band” meetings, having dinner together and in general having some fun. Within the Orientation packet there will be the “band” number that your son/daughter will be a part of and all corresponding information.

“What’s new this year?” you might ask, well there are a few new events that have been changed for this year’s incoming class. A First-year class photo will be taken during Orientation week as a way of bringing everyone together and establishing a bond between the students. Also, there is going to be an in-general Safety session, a newer version of the scavenger hunt that is put on every year for a little friendly competition, and the Office of Information Technology is sponsoring C. L. Lindsay to present information about Safety On-line. C. L. Lindsay is the founder of the Coalition for Student and Academic Rights (CO-STAR), which has become a national student rights organization that aids thousands of college students with their legal problems (free of charge) every year. He’ll be presenting mostly on on-line problems and has come to Michigan Tech before to discus the similar issues in a talk titled “Trouble On-line: Campus Computing and the Law”.

Summer reading as mentioned last week is required by all First-year students to read before coming to Michigan Tech’s campus. The book for this year: “Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands” by Susan Carol McCarthy is a very interesting story that will make for great discussions. Each “band” will have the opportunity to discuss this novel with their “band-mates”, “agents” and a staff member during their Orientation discussions. Also, the author along with a special guest will be making a visit and giving a Public Address the night before the First-year Orientation Discussions take place to give students an opportunity to learn a little more about the book. Your student should have received a brochure in the mail highlighting the summer reading and general information about the book.

Placement tests will also be offered during the week, and this includes:

  • Spatial Visualization – required of all engineering majors to take
  • Computer Science – for computer science, computer systems science, software engineering, computer engineering, and electrical engineering majors with programming experience
  • Modern Language (German, French, Spanish) – test to place students at the respective course level if they have had previous classes in the modern languages
  • Mathematics Diagnostic – used for students to challenge their math placement; required for those students who do not have ACT or SAT scores to be placed

This is all basic information about these tests. More information including times and locations will be including in your student’s check-in packet. The online Orientation website has more information about Academics which also lists information about the various placements available.

Your students will have an extraordinary week filled with lots of fun events, such as team meetings, presentations, and social events. An example of some of the evening activities include: WMTU Concert, Movie on the Lawn (Iron Man), film: The Great Debaters, Vegas Night, Banana Split Ice-cream desert, Bowling and Billiards, Capture the Flag, Scholastic Bowl, McNair Hall Association (MHA) Dance, comedians: Rob Little and Iliza Shlesinger, Craig Karges illusionist, Greek Life Luau, and Fall Nighter. Most of these fun events take place during the evening hours to help the students relax and enjoy some free time. In addition to having these fun events during the weekdays, on the weekends there are several fun trips/excursions planned. These include a Geological Excursion, Sylvania Wilderness Area Canoe Trip (overnight), Copper Harbor Trip (overnight), Porkies Trip, Little Huskies Community Service, and many more. One fun trip to highlight for your students is the Keweenaw Waterway Tour on Saturday August 29. Students will have the opportunity to ride aboard the Keweenaw Star for a couple of hours and enjoy the gorgeous Portage Canal, while stopping at several landmark sties. For those students that are looking for a fun trip to participate in while still being close to campus to enjoy other fun events, this is the trip for them to experience. It is possible and recommended to sign up for these trips early, and you can do so by visiting the Orientation Trips. Keep in mind that there is limited room for some of the trips, so if any of your students are interested in these excursions they should be signing up now.

There is so much more that will be taking place during Orientation week, but I don’t want to give it all away. You and your student can learn all about them when your student checks in and receives their Orientation packet. Also, the Orientation staff is available to answer any of your questions as well, by email: or by phone: (906) 487-3558.

Amplify Your Success: Parent Orientation

Student handing out bags to carry orientation materials inGetting ready to move your son or daughter to college can be a difficult transition to make regardless of how happy you are for them. Michigan Tech tries to provide a great experience not only for the students, but for the first-year parents as well. This helps make the journey a little easier and a lot more fun. The following paragraphs will have information that will be useful for you, the parents to know and what you can expect to happen during Orientation Week.

Orientation Week will take place from Sunday, August 23 and end on Saturday August 29, 2009 for the students. First-year students are allowed to move as early as Saturday, August 22 and have an opportunity to settle in before all the major events take place. This year’s theme for Orientation is called “Amplify Your Success”, a music-based theme that many students can relate to.

For a couple of days during the beginning part of First-Year Student Orientation, there will be events that are set in place so that parents and families can have an opportunity to as questions and become informed about different aspects of Michigan Tech. New Student Check-in, where students receive their room keys, packet of Orientation materials, etc. to help get them through the week, begins at 9am and lasts until 7pm picking up again Sunday morning. New students are required to check-in first at the Rozsa Center before heading on to the residence hall to move in. Within the packet should also be all the information for Parent/Family Orientation. In addition to receiving a packet of information you and your student can find information from student service representatives from Financial Aid, Cashier’s Office, Housing, Residence Life, and COMPASS. Move-in begins Saturday August 22 at 9am. Just the same as previous years, there will be lots of students and staff volunteers from the university ready to assist you and your students with move-in. I remember how easy my experience was 4 years ago; it took less than 15 minutes to get all my belongings into my room. Overall move-in is a breeze and with it not taking lots of time, you can continue on your way to the next event. Saturday events also include campus tours and Parents & Family Summer Reading Discussion. Campus Tours last from 4:00pm until 5:30pm and give students and families a chance to see most of the buildings on campus to help familiarize everyone with campus. More information about the Summer Reading Discussion for Parents & Family can be found below where I go into details about what the summer reading is.

Sunday, August 23 continues new student check-in at 9am and by 4pm most students should be checked-in and ready to go for Orientation week. The Residence Halls will continue to be open for move-in from 9am to 10pm. Then comes the big Orientation events, and for families and parents it begins with a Welcome and Opening Session at 10am until noon. For the remainder of the day there will be campus tours (11am-12:30pm and 3pm-5pm), 45 minute Information Sessions (three separate sessions with a 15 minute break in between) starting at 1pm and lasting until 3:45. Some of the session topics include Resources of Michigan Tech, Student Panel (where students answer your questions with some of their experiences), and Parent Panel (parents of current Michigan Tech students answer your questions). More information about what sessions will be available can be found in the Orientation Packet your student receives when the check-in, so be on the look out for it.

The family picnic is also on Sunday from 4-6pm where both students and their families can enjoy great food. All first-year students and children 5 and under eat for free, and then we ask that parents and other family members purchase tickets in advance for $10/person. There’s two ways in which to purchase tickets: online via Parent Orientation website (scroll to bottom of page) or by calling the Rozsa Center Box Office at 906-487-3200. Tickets are offered for different times to help minimize the wait in line. These times start at 4pm and go every half an hour until 5:30pm (4:00-4:30-5:00-5:30). To end Sunday’s events, there will be a University Welcome at 6:30pm until 7:30pm in the Rozsa Center with an introduction by President Mroz.

Finally, events on Monday that parents and families are welcome to join in on are the Academic Department Introductions and the University Expo: Resources and Information. The Academic Department Intros begin at 10am and give students and parents the chance to meet with some of the professors and learn about what to expect within the department. Once the University Expo raps up at 1:30pm Parent Orientation is officially over. Your students are going to be really busy for the rest of the week getting introduced to different aspects of Michigan Tech and meeting lots of new friends. Next week’s article will be dedicated to information your first-year students should know when it comes to Orientation Week.

Some other important things to keep in mind are: Sibling Orientation which is for the younger siblings of Michigan Tech’s first-year students. This is a chance for the siblings to have some fun while their elder brother or sister and parents go off to Orientation planned events. This event takes place on Sunday August 23 from 10am until 4pm, with check-in beginning at 9:30am. Michigan Tech staff and students will do fun exercises with hands-on projects and creative explorations. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged and can be done through the Sibling Orientation website or by calling the Rozsa Center Box Office at 906-487-3200. The cost is $25 which includes group participation, supplies, lunch and snacks. Also, in addition to registration, it is important to fill out the consent form which can be faxed in or submitted during Sibling Orientation check-in on Sunday.

The Summer Reading is required of all our first-year students to do before they reach campus, and in the past couple of years Michigan Tech has been also encouraging the parents to participate as well. This year’s summer reading is “Lay That Trumpet In Our Hands” by Susan Carol McCarthy. Students should have received a brochure about the reading. This historical novel is said to be a “powerful read filled with drama and unforgettable characters”. So as the parents, if you’re interested in joining the discussion group about this book be sure to pick up a copy today and enjoy reading. Students will also be having discussions during Orientation on this book as well, so if you have a first-year student be sure to promote the reading of the Summer Reading book. It could be a great experience to enjoy and discuss the book with them before coming to campus.

Other links that might come in handy include:

  • Family Resources, a site with many different resources to help prepare parents and families for what to expect during their child’s college years
  • Lodging Information, a list of local hotels and surrounding towns
  • Camping Information for anyone looking to enjoy camping while in the local area.

If you have a specific question for the Orientation Staff you can contact them by email at Again, next week’s article will provide information on what students need to know for orientation.