Spring-ing into Action

Person on bicycle with mountains in background
Person on bicycle with mountains in background
Greg Schultz of the Copper Country Cycling Club rides the Hangover Trail in Sedona, Arizona during Spring Break 2017.

Spring Break at Michigan Technological University is here. As you may expect, many Huskies are finding unique ways to spend their time off. 

While many students will spend the time away from campus in traditional ways — visiting friends and family, heading to sunnier climes or binge watching “Game of Thrones,” several student organizations seek alternatives to the same old “fun in the sun” routine.

Our students will aid in cleaning up the effects of last fall’s deadly hurricane in Texas, teach the marvels of STEM to students and their families in Detroit and North Carolina, experience “grapefruit baseball” and in an ironic twist, actually look for deeper snow.

Traditionally, His House Christian Fellowship has traveled to Mexico during break to assist in housing construction. This year they’re doing their good deeds, in country. Scott Austin of His House says he and 14 members are traveling to Houston to assist in the clean up and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"The hurricane hit last fall and for a while it was in the news every day,” Austin says. “Even though Houston hasn’t been in the headlines lately, a lot of work still needs to be done.”

Austin says the group will work with Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian aid organization headed by Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham. Austin says in addition to meeting a need in the Houston area, the trip to Texas was financially doable to group members, who pay their own way on the mission trip. “In previous trips we purchased the construction materials for the homes we built. This time we’re mainly doing repairs, not new construction.”

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter at Michigan Tech is on a mission of a different, yet no less important, kind — spreading the message of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to students and their families. Nine members of the Tech NSBE chapter will visit Detroit-area public schools. NSBE will present morning presentations to Northwestern, Central and Mumford High Schools and afternoon presentations at Thirkell, Marshall and Methuen K-8 schools.

Also carrying the message of STEM over Spring Break are members of Michigan Tech’s Mind Trekkers. This year the group’s chartered bus is heading to Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Mind Trekkers will host a STEM Festival March 15-16 for more than 2,000 middle-school students.

For baseball fans, the words “pitchers and catchers will report” gets blood pumping as it signals the beginning of spring training with games in the “Cactus” and “Grapefruit” Leagues of Arizona and Florida respectively.

Once again, the Baseball Club at Michigan Tech will spend Spring Break in Florida, getting a taste of “Winterball.”

Tanner Viegut, of the club, says the team is again driving down to Tampa. “We’re going to play four games in Plant City, about 25 miles east of Tampa,” Viegut says. “This year we play Marquette University, Iowa State, Tennessee-Chattanooga and Cleveland State.” Viegut says while the team will also squeeze in a couple of practices, the trip will be more than balls and strikes.

“We will also attend MLB spring training games, go to the beach and get sunburnt. It’s a great team-bonding experience and kicks off our spring season.”

While their campus sleeps in a blanket of snow, members of the Copper Country Cycling Club at Michigan Tech will feel like it’s summer while riding some of the best trails in the world. Andrew Dyke says the club’s third annual Spring Break trip is the biggest one yet, as the group is going to Moab, Utah.

“This year we will be driving 14 people in vans and our specially modified trailer that we use to carry large numbers of bikes,” Dyke says. “Our plan is simple, we will ride bikes, make new friends and maximize fun.”

He says the trip is about more than an awesome destination. “It’s about all the crazy adventures that will happen when a group like this gets together. While not on the bike, we plan to spend our time at some of the national parks in the area such as Arches and Canyonlands.”

Dyke says that for many of the club members, the trip offers their first experience with technical desert riding. “With Spring Break coming up fast, the stoke is high and the excitement and anticipation is palpable,” he says.

In a spectacular display of irony or perhaps to prove you can’t get too much of a good thing, members of the Ski and Snowboard Club at Michigan Tech will leave 250 inches of total snowfall for 132 inches of base and 95 trails at the Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Alta, Wyoming.  

Finally, for international students who just can’t make it home for break, International Programs and Services is once again offering a “Keweenaw Stay-Cation,” featuring activities in the area designed for international Students.

Whether they’re serving the greater good or serving up a 90 mile-an-hour heater, our crazy-smart Huskies will have plenty of stories to tell when classes resume March 19.

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.