The 11 Quintessential Sounds of Winter at Michigan Tech

By Danny Messinger | Published

Collage of Winter Carnival concert, a snowmobile, and a snowplow.

It’s a winter wonderland at Michigan Technological University—and that’s just the way we like it. Now hush your friends, turn down those tunes, or just plug your ears; you’re going to want complete silence. Here are the 11 most essential sounds of the season at Michigan Tech.

1. Early-morning beeping of monster snow plows

When you call the snowiest campus in the nation home, it’s pretty much a given that you’re going to encounter some crazy snowplows. And nothing says you’re a tried-and-true Husky quite like the ability to sleep through the plows’ pre-dawn beeping and scraping orchestra. Sure, it takes a week or two each year to get used to, but nightly hibernation is a skill on all residence-hall dwellers’ résumés.

2. Broomball ref whistles

Students playing broomball.
Our students love their broomball. They spend hours wrapping brooms in intricate duct-tape patterns, huddling along the boards like penguins (hot cocoa in hand), and shouting and cheering for their favorite team into the wee hours of the night. How do you know it’s January or February at Tech? Hearing the refs’ whistles blasting from the other side of campus, obviously.

3. Pep Band

Pep Band marching walking through campus in the snow.
They’re loud. They’re proud. (And they dress like weird bumblebees—but hey, it’s part of their charm.) They’re the Pep Band. And as the loudest pep band around, of course they make the list.

4. Hockey’s “Goal!” proclamation

Hockey player spraying snow while stopping on the ice. 
“He shoots. He scores!” If you’ve heard Mitch or Dirk shout it before, you can probably faintly hear it right now, too. Whether you’re in the SDC or tuning in over the airwaves, it’s a two-sentence phrase that’ll spark excitement in the heart of any Husky.

5. Wind whipping through the wind tunnel

Students walking through campus in the winter.
You know the spot, and you definitely know the sound. Somewhere between Chem Sci, the MUB and the MEEM, winds from all directions smash together and create our own “polar vortex” in the heart of campus. (There’s got to be a constructive wave interference problem in there somewhere, right?) Cyclonic winds howl—somehow even on the calmest afternoons—creating that distinctive whooshing sound we know so well. Music to our ears.

6. The Wind Harp

The Wind Harp
(Cue crickets.) Otherwise known as the sound of silence. Particularly lucky students have heard it hum on more than one occasion. The rest of the time, we can stand in its shadow and bask in its silent glory.

7. Snowmobiles

Person riding a snowmobile.
Vroom vroom. ‘Nuff said.

8. Slushy shoe stomping

Winter boot in the snow.
When they’re trudging through drifts to get around, Tech’s Huskies are bound to get a little snow on their paws. The random percussion of stomping, kicking and boot dragging at every building’s entryway—to knock the slush and flakes off their feet, of course—is another sure-fire sign of winter.

9. That mysterious carillon

Students walking though campus near the Library.
You know you’ve heard it. That . . . song? Chime? Noise? There are definitely some bells playing at noon and 5 p.m. every day close to the Library, but any discernible tune is quickly lost to a sea of echoes. With sound bouncing off the EERC, MUB and Chem Sci, it’s hard to tell where it’s even coming from.

10. iClickers

It’s only a couple of buttons on a little remote, but anyone who’s had lecture in Fisher 135, Dow 641, EERC L101, or MEEM 112 knows the noise they produce. One-hundred-plus students tapping away on their iClickers at the same time definitely makes a pretty distinctive sound. Better hurry . . . get your answer registered in time!

11. Winter Carnival Speaker Wall

Snow speakers at the Winter Carnival concert.
Michigan Tech's definitive event sure gets started in style. Winter Carnival, a four-day celebration of everything snow and ice, officially kicks off with an all-night statue-building fest—with Audio Engineering Society’s speaker wall thumping from dusk ‘til dawn. We've heard rumors we keep people up with our all-night rave, but they shouldn’t be sleeping anyway. They should be over on campus, watching our jaw-dropping statues get their finishing touches in time. #sorrynotsorry

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 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.