Archives—December 2010

Escape for Winter Break

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

The snow guns in action on Mt. Ripley ski hill. Photo Credit: Michigan Tech

It seems Mother Nature has finally decided to grace Houghton with her lovely wintery presence. Over the past two weeks it has snowed almost every single day.  The Keweenaw Peninsula spent the past weekend under a Winter Storm Warning and Lake Effect Snow Advisory.  Upon arriving back from Fall Break students have been walking in Michigan Tech’s very own Winter Wonderland. According to the Keweenaw Research Center Weather Station Snow Measurements there are 22 inches of accumulated snow on the ground.  Much to the students’ delight Mt. Ripley opened this past Saturday, December 11. Several students took advantage of the opportunity to get back on their skis or snowboard and have a fun study break with friends. Mt. Ripley will be closed this week while more snow is made but the hill will open for the season on Saturday, December 18.

Final Exams

The snow on the ground and the quietness all around also means something else for our Michigan Tech students . . . the beginning of final exams! Final exams will take place the week of Monday, December 13. Starting Saturday, December 11 at midnight, 22 hour quiet hours will go into effect in the residence halls. This means that students in the Residence Halls must remain quiet and be respectful to those who are studying in the Residence Halls 22 hours a day until Friday, December 17 at 12:00 p.m.  The consideration hours in which students can resume their normal daytime volume level are 12:00 p.m. to 1:oo p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m daily.

Reminders for Students

It’s always nice to spend the holidays with friends and family!

Once students complete their final exams they are free to leave for Winter Break. Students who live in the Residence Halls will need to make sure that they tell their Resident Assistant when they plan on leaving. As students are preparing to leave for Winter Break it is important to remember that the electricity will be turned off in their room. This means students will want to unplug any electrical items, close and lock their windows, and turn down their thermostats. It is also important for students to remember to leave their refrigerator door open and place a towel underneath their refrigerator so they are not left with a mess when they come back in January. Also, students with an empty space in their room will want to make sure that half the room is cleaned and prepared for another roommate prior to Winter Break. Students who have an empty space in their room and do not make sure the other half of the room is cleaned will be charged a $100 fine to their student account. Students who are assigned a new roommate over Winter Break will receive a notification with their new roommate’s information via email, letter, or phone.

All students who live in the Residence Halls should have received a “You Deserve a Break” newsletter in their mailbox at some point throughout this last week. This newsletter has all the important information about when the Dining Halls, Campus Café, and Reception Desks will be closing for Winter Break. The newsletter also contains important reminders for students leaving campus for Winter Break regarding room security, parking, and other procedures. In general it is expected that all students will leave the Michigan Tech Residence Halls for Winter Break. Residents who must stay for Winter Break or who plan to leave after December 18 at 12:00 p.m. must request permission by filling out the Early Arrival Late Departure Form located on the Housing website under Forms and Resources. Students will receive an email within 7 business days informing them whether or not they have been approved to stay in the Residence Halls over Winter Break. In addition, students who plan to arrive back to the Residence Halls prior to January 8 at 12:00 p.m. will need to fill out the form. There is a $14 per night charge for residents who stay during Winter Break, depart late, or arrive early. It is essential that students who need to stay fill out the form so they can have electricity and swipe access to their Residence Hall.

I wish your student the best of luck on Final Exams and I hope you enjoy spending Winter Break with your student! Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have!

Great Lakes Research Center


Artist’s rendition of the Great Lakes Research Center

Construction on the Great Lakes Research Center is underway and Michigan Tech students, faculty, and staff are excited to welcome this research facility to campus.  The plans and ideas for the facility have been a couple years in the making.  The facility truly had it’s chance to come to life a couple of years ago when President Mroz received a phone call from State Representative Mike Lahti.  State Representative Lahti asked since the state was unable to fund the original top-priority University request, if there was another less expensive project the University would like to complete.  President Mroz suggested the Great Lakes Research Center.  The center is a 25.3 million dollar facility.  The facility is 74% funded by the state and Michigan Tech is covering the approximately 6.6 million or 24% that makes up the remainder.  The Great Lakes Research Center made Michigan Tech one of the six state universities with capital outlay projects that are funded by the state.  The Great Lakes Research Center was designed by FTC&H of Grand Rapids and construction is being completed by Granger Construction of Lansing.  The groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 5, 2010 and it is expected that the facility will be completed in the next year and a half.  You can check out the progress of the construction from the Construction Cam.

The Building

Artist’s rendition of the Great Lakes Research Center in a waterfront view of campus. Photo Credit: Michigan Tech

The Great Lakes Research Center is located on the waterfront in front of the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building.  The Great Lakes Research Center will be utilized to do research on one of our most precious resources, fresh water.  As President Mroz is quoted in an article by Marica Goodrich, “The center was an obvious choice for state funding, considering that it will house research and education on one of the world’s most precious and increasingly rare resources.” I taught hydrology and watershed management for 25 years,” Mroz said. “I used to tell my students, 97 percent of the water in the world is salt. Most of the rest is tied up in glaciers. Of the tiny remainder, about 20 percent is found in the Great Lakes, and half of that total is contained in Lake Superior”.  The Great Lakes Research Center will contain aquatic laboratories, a hydraulics lab, coastal research instrumentation, boathouse facilities, and offices and conference rooms.  This research facility will be utilized several students and faculty and will allow them to conduct research and learn in a facility with state of the art equipment.  The facility is in a great location because it has direct access to the Keweenaw Waterway as a means to reach Lake Superior, the building is close to the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building, and the building is close to docking and boathouse facilities.  The building is designed to be environmentally friendly, be low maintenance, and have architecture and materials that represent the water and surroundings.  Check out the slide show of the Great Lakes Research Center for more information about what the new facility will look like.


The Great Lakes Research Center will provide updated research facilities that will support several current research programs.  Michigan Tech already has partnerships, grants, and research focus areas that pertain to the Great Lakes.  The new facility and the location of the Great Lakes Research Center will result in the further support and expanding of the existing research opportunities.  The Great Lakes Research Center will focus on researching fresh water and will require a lot of sampling of the local waters.  This is why the facilities location is so crucial to the success of the center.  The Great Lakes Research Center will also include a high-tech Data Center that will help students and faculty track data sets and predictions.

Expected Benefits

The Great Lakes Research Center is sure to increase the already high quality education that students at Michigan Tech receive.  The great laboratories that are going to be included in the Great Lakes Research Center are sure to be fully utilized by faculty and students.  The benefit for students is that the opportunities made available through the Great Lakes Research Center will help prepare them to seek jobs in governmental and industrial fields that involve environmental studies.  It is also expected that the Great Lakes Research Center will result in Michigan emerging as a leader in the research and development of fresh water resources.  The Great Lakes Research Center will provide information that will allow the state to focus on sustainability of the Great Lakes resources making Michigan an even more pleasant and beautiful state to live in.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have! Don’t forget to check back for the next article in which I will be writing about the upcoming Winter Break.