Archives—July 2015

Planning Ahead

Hello, parents! This week has been a pretty nice one in the Keweenaw (most weeks in the summer up here seem to be that way).  I hope everyone has been doing well and is enjoying the summer. We’re over half way through it and I’ve already seen school supplies out at the stores, crazy to think there’s only one month until move in day and first year orientation!

As we are getting so close to the beginning of a new school year here at Michigan Tech, I just wanted to share some things for you and your student to keep in mind. One of the best tips I could give anyone starting school is to make a game plan. Even if it doesn’t work out exactly like you want it to, it is useful to try and plan out when you will study, when you will eat and keep those things consistent. The change from high school to college life, especially living in the residence halls, can lead to falling behind. Another option for the start of a new year is to go and meet new people. It could be the people that live around you or someone you met by going to a different club meeting, you never know where or when you could meet new friends. This article, from Buzzfeed, provides some more tips to surviving in your first year of college. Not everything works for everyone, the trick is figuring out what works for each student.

The idea of having a car to be able to make late night food runs or explore the area in any free time is one that can be very

The traditional first year student photo taken as part of orientation 2014.
The traditional first year student photo taken as part of orientation 2014.

appealing. There are quite a few students who bring cars to campus and there is a registration process for vehicles. If your student does plan on having a car with them, check this site for information and to be added to the wait list for resident parking. There is also information provided for commuter parking as well as bicycle registration.

Orientation helps students build a foundation for the rest of their time at Michigan Tech, while they also get to know the campus better and make connections with their fellow students.  If your student is a first year who will be going through orientation, follow this link which will take you to the orientation website.

There are so many things to do before school starts that it can be overwhelming. By planning ahead, you can get an idea of what is needed, what can wait and how to figure it all out. If there are any questions about any of this information or anything else, you can email me at


Outdoor Activities

Hello Parents!

Following one of the hottest weekends of the year in the Keweenaw, I wanted to share some more of the things that are available to do up here. One good resource for the outdoor adventuring student is the Outdoor Adventure Programs (OAP). They hold events throughout the summer and school year. This summer they are offering kayaking and paddle boarding clinics, have organized a trip to Isle Royale, and other camping and adventuring trips. For Orientation Week, OAP holds day trips to local places. In addition to hosting these events, OAP also rents gear, from bikes to paddle boards.

The Keweenaw History Center located in Calumet.
The Keweenaw History Center located in Calumet.

There is plenty to do around the Keweenaw. One of my personal favorites is to walk around touring some of the historical sites, and there are numerous opportunities to experience this rich history.  If you are interested in the history of copper mining, there are several places to explore that also include an underground tour. The Quincy Mine, the Adventure Mine, and the Delaware Mine are great options to learn more about mining and you can click on the name of the mine to see its website. All of these mines are Heritage Sites associated with the Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP). The KNHP covers a significant area of the Keweenaw and includes heritage sites, like the mines, that were integral to the history of the area. To learn more about the park, click here.

The sun over the water at the Houghton Breakers.
The sun over the water at the Houghton Breakers.

Of course, with all the Keweenaw has to offer, there are plenty of things to do and places to see without a guide or organized trip. If you are interested in learning more about the trails for hiking, biking, skiing, or snowshoeing, this site has great information. Beaches are also one of the most popular attractions around the Keweenaw. One of the student favorites is the Houghton Breakers. It is a stamp sand beach right on the edge of the Portage and is perfect for swimming, bonfires, and watching the sunset over the water. For more on the beaches in the Keweenaw, this website is a good resource.

If anyone has any questions on other things to do around the Keweenaw, feel free to email me at


Musical and Community Events

In the Copper Country, we are starting to get into some of the busiest times of year, especially for local musicians. This week has seen some ups and downs in the weather, but most people are still excited for the things to come.

The Pine Mountain Music Festival (PMMF) began at the end of June and will continue through July 18. It is a celebration of all types of music, from professional opera to chamber music and many others. This week the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts will be hosting performances of The Barber of Seville. The Barber of Seville is a beloved opera buffa (a comic opera) about the desire to win a woman’s heart without money. The Bergonzi String Quartet will be playing at the Calumet Theater, a local landmark and beautiful theater. These performances, among others, will continue throughout the Upper Peninsula. If you are interested in finding out more out about the PMMF, follow this link to its website.

A band performing at The Really Big Show. Photograph by Ray Bosley. Courtesy of
A band performing at The Really Big Show. Photograph by Ray Bosley. Courtesy of

Another musical event coming up is PJ Olsson’s Rock Camp (for more info, click here). This is a camp for students, ages 11-20, to get some intensive and awesome mentoring in playing instruments, singing, performing, setting up, and controlling the performances. During the two week camp, students develop their skills and come together as bands and groups. They create a set, practice and memorize their performance. At the end of the two weeks, the campers hold “The Really Big Show”, this year on Saturday, August 1.  For local young musicians, it is an incredible opportunity to learn, make new friends, and have a lot of fun. I have personally been to the final performance in the past; it is a great way to show support for these students and to get the chance to see some amazing young talent.

This weekend is the annual Strawberry Festival held in Chassell. The short drive is always worth it to see the parade, get some strawberry shortcake, or watch the Strawberry Festival queen pageant. At the peak of strawberry season, the Copper Country Strawberry Festival gets the community out and about to enjoy some of the awesome things (and one of my personal favorites) about living here . The strawberries are fresh picked from local farms, most of which provide picked strawberries as well as pick your own services. If you are interested in learning more about the Strawberry Fest or any of the berry farms, check out their website here.

Summer Youth Programs (SYP) are an amazing way for middle and high school students to experience different fields at Michigan Tech. Many of the students that participate in these programs end up coming to school full time at Michigan Tech (I joined those ranks when I started college). There are many options for SYP, for example students can see what it would be like to be a civil engineer, get hands on experience in a blacksmith shop or adventure through the Keweenaw on hikes. Needless to say, it is a great program for students who aren’t quite sure what they want to do yet, where they can try out majors and career paths as middle and high school students. For those students who decide on  Michigan Tech when they start college, the Center for Pre-College Outreach hires students to work as counselors, providing another great opportunity to get involved.

If you have any questions about what I have discussed here, any other events going on in the Keweenaw, or just in general, feel free to email me at

Have a good week!


Hello, Parents!

As Track B for summer classes begins and everyone is starting to get into the dog days of summer, I am getting started at the new ParentNet writer! My name is Erica LeClaire and I will be taking over for Valerie as she begins her journey after undergrad. She has been an awesome writer for ParentNet, a great student, and a perfect example of how one can succeed in college. I’m hoping that she trained me well to take over her position and that I’ll be able to continue her high level of work for my tenure. I want to wish her good luck as she sets off for graduate school.

With that, I will let you know some more about me. I am a local student here at Michigan Tech going into my third year. Through elementary school, I lived in Livonia, outside of Detroit. Both of my parents are from the Keweenaw, so they decided to move back and we’ve been here ever since! Growing up here, you get a new appreciation for the outdoor activities, the history, and the heritage of this beautiful place. Partially because of my appreciation of those things, I decided to pursue a more non traditional major at MTU and am in the history program.

In addition to studying and classes and all of those parts of college I am involved in some extracurriculars  as well. I am an active member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Women’s Fraternity and I’m the current president of the Anthropology club. Between these organizations, I get to have some pretty diverse experiences and met many different people on campus and in the community. As a part of Greek life at Michigan Tech, not only have I gained an invaluable network of people, but I have been able to find a place that I can lean on for help, trust with anything, and, as our motto states, live with purpose. Though it isn’t for everyone, I found my niche in Greek Life and have enjoyed my experience greatly. Anthropology club, on the other hand, connects me and other Social Sciences majors (or just people interested in it) with each other, our professors, and the greater Social Sciences community.

This is me at Hungarian Falls, a local favorite spot for hiking, snowshoeing, pictures and other things.

With the experience of being a commuter student, it was very important for me to get involved on campus. I have seen people fall on all different sides of the spectrum, from being super involved to not participating in campus life at all. When you don’t live in the dorms it is more challenging to decide to make the conscience effort to go to campus and meet other people, become part of an organization, or whatever it might be. Because of my interest in the lives of commuter students here at MTU, I took over the Commuter Assistant position and have been doing that for the past year. I am a resource for those students to get involved on campus, meet each other, and hopefully gain some new experiences in the campus community.

Working in another integral part of my life. Currently, I am a student security clerk with Public Safety and Police Services, while also working with the Wahtera Center for Student Success for ParentNet and as Commuter Assistant. I’ve mentioned what I do for the Wahtera Center, but as a student security clerk I am involved on campus in an entirely different way. For this job, I walk through campus, meet and interact with undergrad and graduate students, usually open/close a lot of doors.

Another for me that is very important is being involved with the community and volunteering within it. Being part of a sorority helps with becoming more involved in local and national philanthropic endeavors, we work with a local group that provides food for low income children outside of school and we also raise money for juvenile diabetes research and awareness. Recently, I have participated in the local Relay for Life in Houghton and the BridgeFeast fundraiser for the local Rotary.

I would like to thank you all for reading my post. I look forward to getting to share the happenings of Houghton and Michigan Tech throughout the year and hope that you gain something from it. I would once again like to recognize Valerie Taglione and thank her for everything she has done for me, ParentNet, and the university. If anyone has any questions, comments, or would just like to find out more about any of this, you can email me at