Author Visit Highlights Orientation Week

Author Visit Highlights Orientation Week
Author Visit Highlights Orientation Week
More than 1,300 first-year students are expected to move into Michigan Tech's residence halls Saturday.

A lecture by a best-selling author, a taste of Tech Traditions and so much more are all part of "O Week" at Michigan Tech.

A visit and lecture by author Daniel Tammet is the one highlights of Orientation Week at Michigan Technological University. Tammet, author of the bestselling “Born on a Blue Day” will speak to students as part of the Reading As Inquiry program.

Now in its 14th year, Reading As Inquiry asks first year students to read a specific book. During “O Week,” the students attend an address by the author and engage in a discussion, with fellow students and a staff facilitator. “Born on a Blue Day,” this year’s required reading, is a memoir of Tammet’s life with Asperger syndrome and savant syndrome and was named “Best Book for Young Adults” in 2008 by the American Library Association.

Possessing an incredible memory and aptitude for math and numbers, Tammet holds the European record for reciting pi from memory to 22,514 digits and has the ability to learn languages in short periods of time.

Robert Johnson, professor of rhetoric, composition and technical communication in Tech’s Humanities department, explained why “Born on a Blue Day” was chosen. “The program is called ‘Reading as Inquiry,’ so we look for books that will inspire conversation,” Johnson says. He says there’s more to choosing the summer reading than whether it’s a good book. “We also have to consider their qualities of a public speaker, their availability during Orientation Week and, frankly, the cost of getting them here.”

Through the efforts of students, staff, faculty and the community, an initial list of about 20 books is whittled down to two or three over the course of the school year. The summer reading program is just part of a jam-packed Orientation Week that kicks off unofficially on Saturday, (Aug. 26) with Move-in Weekend.   About 1,300 first-year students are expected to check in beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. Check-in runs until 6 p.m.  

Once they check in, the new students will move into their residence halls. But they won't be alone; more than 200 faculty, staff and student volunteers will be on hand to unload vehicles, carry belongings into the residence halls, answer questions and even help dispose of cardboard boxes.

Saturday's highlights feature family campus tours from 4 to 5:30 p.m. starting from Walker Lawn, led by this year's Orientation Team Leaders (OTLs). The day's activities are capped by a performance by comedian Eric O'Shea at 9 p.m. at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. O’Shea’s comedy is family-friendly. The official welcome of first-year students, with addresses by University officials, takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Student Development Complex (SDC), followed by the official first-year class photo at Sherman Field. Following the photo, students will have the chance to say goodbye to their family at the University Welcome Social from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the SDC multipurpose room. 

Orientation Week begins Monday, August 28 with activities across campus. An early highlight is a pair of addresses by summer reading program author Daniel Tammet, with a book-signing and student discussions of the book. Following last year's successful debut, "A Taste of Tech Traditions" will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 29 on Walker Lawn. The new students will get a little taste of some of our time-honored traditions, including broomball, cardboard boats and the Yooper Sprint. 

The remainder of the week consists of tours, competitions and presentations from campus organizations to make the new students aware of all the opportunities available to them.

On Saturday, September 2, the students get a chance to get to know the community that will be their home for the next few years. At "Afternoon on the Town," they will spend a fun-filled day discovering the city of Houghton. Businesses from around the city and the area will offer specials for Michigan Tech students. There will be food samples, give-a-ways and chances to register for prize. 





Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.