Experience Tech initiative opens opportunities to all students

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

The Experience Tech initiative, passed June 19 by Michigan Technological University’s Board of Trustees, will give students free access to Mont Ripley Ski Hill, the Portage Lake Golf Course, the Gates Tennis Center, Department of Visual and Performing Arts events, hockey games, and intramural sports. The plan will be subsidized through a student-wide $64-per-semester tuition-added fee.

Nate Kroodsma says the initiative will provide “some exciting new opportunities” for Tech students. Kroodsma and fellow student Nik Chaphalkar—both members of Student Commission, the Undergraduate Student Government subgroup responsible for the Experience Tech project—did much of the legwork in researching and planning the new initiative.

“Hopefully, it will get a lot more students involved in these activities,” Kroodsma says.

The plan, which goes into effect during the 2008 fall semester, received support from current students—including graduate students, who will be included in the initiative—when it was voted on in April. More than 3,000 students completed the online survey to cast their votes, with about 80 percent supporting the fee.

The fee approval is cause for celebration among more than just students; Michigan Tech staff has been overwhelmingly supportive, with the Student Affairs department providing assistance to the Student Commission throughout the development of the project.

Vice President for Student Affairs Les Cook calls the student-driven plan “a great accomplishment.”

“The Experience Tech initiative will provide opportunities for students to experience the many things that make Michigan Tech so special," Cook says. “As far as I know, Michigan Tech is the only school in the nation where students can ski or snowboard without buying a lift ticket."

Among the most enthusiastic about the new initiative are incoming students. Talk on Rendezvous, Michigan Tech’s social networking website for accepted students, has been enormously enthusiastic, with future students looking forward to the new opportunities the plan will provide.

“This will save me a lot of money on fees for intramural sports, hockey games and the Gates Tennis Center,” says 18-year-old Austin Burke, who will begin his first year at Tech this fall. “But I’m also going to try new things, like snowboarding and golfing, because it won’t cost me anything.”

Anna Miller, 18, another incoming first-year student, is also eager to take advantage of the plan. “The Experience Tech fee is a great value,” Miller says. “It opens up a lot of recreational and entertainment opportunities to students. I’ll get a lot of use out of this—it makes me even more excited to come to Michigan Tech.”

To learn more about the Experience Tech plan, contact Student Activities at 906-487-1963.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.