I am on medical leave for a while. I will miss you all, but a group of stellar Michigan Tech personalities have stepped up to write guest columns while I am away. Today, Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement Les Cook tells us about Safehouse. —Dennis
The screams, hollers and cheers could be heard throughout the Keweenaw on Saturday, Oct. 25, and it wasn’t just because Huskies hockey swept number 8 ranked Ferris State in front of a sold-out crowd at the Ewegleben Ice Arena. These shrieks were heard throughout the residence halls as Tech students hosted more than 1,000 local kids at the 26th annual Safehouse.
In 1988—in response to the 1980’s Halloween candy scare and out of concern for children’s safety—the Douglass Houghton Hall Council worked to establish the tradition that we now affectionately know as Safehouse. Its purpose was to provide a safe alternative to trick or treating on the streets, while giving our students an opportunity to engage with the community.
And engage they did! A record 48 houses (living groups within the residence halls) and more than 100 volunteers entertained hordes of little ghouls, super heroes, witches and star athletes that Saturday. Each guest had the option of touring either a fun or scary path, depending on the child’s age as well as their threshold for fear. Depending on their mood or desire, they could take a stroll through Candyland, immersing themselves in the Lego Movie or “UP,” or perhaps diving into the creepy or demonic hospital, zombie attacks or the forbidden forest. There were many shrieks and screams, plenty of laughter, looks of fear, and I’m guessing a few tears—not only from the little visitors, but also the students entertaining them.
I remember when we first moved to Houghton, taking my own kids through Safehouse. It was like the best of everything in a big city all smashed into one. My kids couldn’t believe all the different options on the fun and scary paths, nor could they believe that they could have one additional night to be entertained and get free candy.
One of Michigan Tech’s values is to inspire community. This was truly evident the weekend of Oct. 25 not only from Safehouse and Huskies hockey, but all of the other sporting events, the annual film festival and more than 500 volunteers out performing community service for national Make a Difference Day. Perhaps all the screaming and cheering wasn’t just for hockey or Safehouse; it may have been those who were recipients of our students’ efforts raking lawns, chopping/stacking wood and doing good things for our community.
Les Cook, vice president for student affairs and advancement