Archives—July 2012

Summer Preparation

Summer Preparation!

At this time of the summer, I assume many of you are beginning to get anxious about what to pack and how best to help your student prepare for move-in weekend here at Michigan Tech. In about a month, Michigan Tech students will kick off their fall semester. If you are looking for further information about room assignments and hall information, please visit the Housing website to access this. The Housing website offers many great options for you and your students to look over, especially first-year students. You can take a photo tour of some of the residence halls, gain further information about dining services and living options, and read over some frequently asked questions.

What to/not to pack?
I strongly encourage students to begin the packing process as soon as possible. Taking time to make a list is a great idea, as it really helps to make sure you have covered everything and are not leaving anything behind. When thinking about what to pack as a first-year student, it may become a bit hectic. So parents, here are some overall categories to help break it down.

Academic supplies
Notebook, binders, sticky notes, highlighters, pens, pencils, backpack, stamps/envelopes, stapler, etc.

Room Items
Bedding (twin extra long to fit your residence hall mattress), small refrigerator, microwave, cleaning supplies, small garbage bags, tools, towels, and I would consider plenty of storage containers–you can never have enough! Storage containers are a huge help. You can use them under your bed, in the bottom of your wardrobe/closet, and as drawer dividers. They will help your student utilize all of their space.

Electronic items
Computer, possibly a printer (although you have access to printers at computer labs on campus), external hard drive, power strips, calculators, coaxial cable, alarm clock, camera, and a television.

Personal Items
Medications, shower caddy, first aid kit, and toiletry items.

Clothing Items
Students should be sure to pack some warm attire! Make sure they bring warm winter coat, boots, hats, and gloves. Laundry rooms are available in each residence hall. Washing machines are free to all students and dryers are .25 cents per load. So, be sure your student brings laundry soap, dryer sheets, stain remover, quarters, and a laundry bag.

Miscellaneous Items
Last but not least, don’t forget your miscellaneous items. Students should be sure to bring their social security card, photo ID, health insurance card, and batteries. (And a snow shovel!)

Students will need their SS card and their ID if they would like to work on campus.

Leave at home
Candles, electric heaters, toaster, and toaster oven/hot plate.

Summer Reading

In preparation for the college experience, all first-year students are required to read the Summer Reading as Inquiry book. This year’s book is Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, by Conor Grennan. This past week, postcards were sent out to all first-year students providing them with more information on this program. During Orientation week, first-year students will sit down with their Orientation team and one staff or faculty member and have a group discussion about this reading. There will also be a Summer Reading as Inquiry session for parents and family members. The book is great, so I encourage you to read it!

I hope you all are as excited for the fall semester as I am! I cannot wait to see new faces on campus and to work directly with first-year incoming students. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

-Samantha Allen,

Shopping for Computers and Textbooks


What type of computer is best for your student?

At Michigan Tech, each student will have access to computer labs throughout campus. The labs are equipped with all the necessary equipment and software that your student will need to successfully complete their degree at Michigan Tech. Most of the labs also have unlimited printing. Occasionally there are classes held in some of the labs throughout the day, but in my personal experience I have never experienced any difficulties finding a computer in the lab to work on. Computer labs can be a great location for studying and doing homework.  Working in the computer lab provides students with a quiet place to study and also helps students build relationships with others.

Since the computer labs already come equipped with the equipment necessary for course work, your student can purchase a personal computer that truly suits their individual needs. Does your students want a laptop? A netbook? A desktop? Laptops are nice because they are portable; your student can take it to the library, to class, or to a study lounge in the residence hall. Professors’ policies on laptops differ from class to class. Some professors may have strict policies on students bringing laptops to class while others may encourage it. I started out at Michigan Tech with a laptop; however, I very rarely took it out of my room. I found it to be too heavy to carry in my backpack with all my other books and I preferred taking class notes by hand.

Netbooks are smaller and more lightweight than laptops, yet they have many of the same features. Many come equipped with basic Microsoft programs and Internet capabilities. The biggest thing that most netbooks lack is a CD drive. This can make it more difficult to install additional programs or use the computer for leisurely things like watching DVDs or playing games. I really enjoy using a netbook—it’s lightweight and fits easily in a backpack or even a purse.

All types of computers have benefits and drawbacks. Finding the right computer for your student depends on what they want to use their personal computer for. Although Michigan Tech does not recommend any particular type or brand of computer, Dell and Toshiba offer special discounts to Michigan Tech students. Other computer companies do not have specific Michigan Tech discounts but they may offer general education discounts. For more information about these special discounts and the computer specifications that Michigan Tech suggest, check out the Information Technology page.


For most Michigan Tech students, schedules are already set. First-year students will find that their schedule is mostly finalized; however, they may choose to make some changes during Orientation week. If your student is fairly certain that they are not going to change the courses they are already scheduled for, they may choose to begin purchasing their textbooks early. Student can check to see what books they will need for their courses in the fall by going to the Campus Bookstore and selecting Express Text. Express Text allows students to enter their User ID and Password (same information they use to log in to their Michigan Tech email account) to access a complete listing of the books they will need. Students may pre-order textbooks online and the books will be waiting for them when they get to campus or they may wait until they arrive to campus and purchase them at the Campus Bookstore located inside the Memorial Union Building. Students may also find used textbooks for sale by other students on the BarkBoard Forum.

I hope you are enjoying summer!  Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have.

-Samantha Allen,

Traveling from Lower Michigan

After spending the past few years traveling along the Upper Peninsula’s beautiful coastline, I decided I would like to share with you some of the great attractions you can visit when you bring your student to Michigan Tech in August. Many families don’t have the opportunity to travel through the U.P., so driving your student to Michigan Tech can be the perfect time for a fun family vacation. The following are some of my favorite places to stop and see on the way to Houghton.

From Lower Michigan

Enjoying the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline that borders U.S. 2.

When I drive to Michigan Tech from my hometown of Jackson, Michigan, I really enjoy traveling on U.S. 2 in the Upper Peninsula. U.S. 2 begins off Interstate 75 just after the Mackinac Bridge. Following U.S. 2 you can see miles of the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. The road borders a great sand beach for nearly ten miles west of St. Ignace; there’s a wide shoulder and you’ll often find vehicles pulled over and people walking or swimming the beach. The views from U.S. 2 are truly amazing; however, I do caution you to be aware. The beautiful scenery can be distracting for drivers and the route is typically busy with travelers. Make sure you watch your speed limit and be aware of other drivers if you choose to take this route.

Pictured Rocks in Munising photo credit:

From U.S. 2 I usually cut through the middle of the Upper Peninsula by taking one of the highways that run north and connect with M-28. The portion of M-28 that passes through the center of the Upper Peninsula between Seney and Shingleton runs along the border of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The Seney Stretch is considered to be a “straight-as-an-arrow highway.” It is 25 miles long and has few curves and little change in elevation. Although it may not be the most exciting section of highway to travel, it will get you to the Lake Superior shoreline quickly. The first major Superior-side town you’ll hit along M-28 is Munising. Munising is a nice town to stop in and stretch your legs after a couple hours of driving. There are restaurants and several visitor attractions, including the famous Pictured Rocks Boat Cruises. Although I have not been on a cruise, I have heard that the views of the rocks are phenomenal. The cruises last approximately 3 hours and tickets for adults are $35.

From Munising to Marquette, M-28 travels along the Lake Superior shoreline for several miles. There are many roadside parks along the way. Marquette is one of the U.P’s larger towns, with plenty of fast food options, chain restaurants, and unique eateries. After passing through Marquette, M-28 veers away from Lake Superior and meets up with U.S. 41, which runs straight up to the Keweenaw Peninsula and Houghton.

The beauty of Northern Michigan is truly unique and unforgettable. Whether it’s walking the sandy shores, taking a boat tour, or simply stopping at a roadside park, I hope you and your family have the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the Upper Peninsula.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have!

-Samantha Allen,

Celebrating Our History

The Fourth of July is truly one of my favorite holidays. What could be better than spending time with friends and family, enjoying the warm summer weather, watching fireworks, grilling out, and playing with sparklers? I must say though, even better is celebrating the Fourth of July in the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula.

Also, this week the 64th Copper Country Strawberry Festival will be taking place in Chassell. The Strawberry Festival is known for its parade, entertainment, and of course, delicious strawberries!

July 3

On Tuesday, July 3, the Independence Day Celebrations begin in Dollar Bay and Lake Linden. In Dollar Bay there will be free horse and wagon rides at 6:30 p.m. and a street dance at  8:00 p.m. In Lake Linden there will be a fireworks display at dusk in the village park. Prior to the firework display there will be live music, food, and refreshments in the park starting at 6:30 p.m.

July 4

On Wednesday, July 4, there is a wide variety of activities to take part in. Several of the towns throughout the Keweenaw will have parades, music, refreshments, games, and bazaars going on throughout the day. The towns of Dollar Bay, Lake Linden, Hubbell, South Range, and Ahmeek all have parades and other activities planned. To wrap up events there will be fireworks displays in South Range and Copper Harbor, beginning at dusk. For a complete listing of the events taking place this weekend, check out the Keweenaw Calendar.

In addition to all the organized Fourth of July events listed above, there are many other fun activities to do with friends and family over the Fourth of July weekend, including eating at one of the great restaurants in the local area, bike riding, hiking, going to the beach, or exploring and sightseeing. For ideas and local attractions, check out the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Wherever you choose to celebrate the Fourth of July, I hope you have a wonderful time and find yourself in the company of friends and loved ones!

July 6

The Strawberry Festival begins at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 6, with the serving of strawberry shortcake, brats, hot dogs, and ice cream. What a way to start a morning! Starting at 10 a.m. a quilt and craft show will be taking place along Chassell Bay and will continue into the evening. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. there will be horse-drawn wagon rides around the park. The activities on Friday evening continue with a fish boil, a children’s parade, the crowning of the Strawberry Festival Queen, and a dance at the local VFW.

July 7

Saturday begins with a scrumptious start—From 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. pancakes and sausage will be served at the Chassell Firehall. Starting at 9 a.m., strawberry shortcake will be available. The quilt and craft show will continue on Saturday.  The Strawberry Festival Parade will take place at 11 a.m. Also, taking place throughout the afternoon on Saturday is a chicken BBQ, horse-drawn wagon rides, live music, and children’s games.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education will be offering free scientific excursions on Michigan Tech’s very own research vessel, the Agassiz. This will be the seventh year that the public will have the opportunity to take a 30-minute ride on the vessel. In previous years the Agassiz trips were very popular. The vessel can hold 17 people and there are currently just three departures planned; it is strongly encouraged that you arrive early to sign up for a trip. Trips are scheduled for 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. and will take off from the Chassell waterfront.

I hope all Michigan Tech students in the area make it out to the Strawberry Festival this weekend to enjoy the fun times and the delicious strawberry shortcake.

Please email me with any questions or concerns you may have,

Samantha Allen,