MTU Engineering Team Joins Open-source Ventilator Movement

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the research community is looking for solutions. In addition to work on vaccines and medicine, medical technology is needed. In severe cases of COVID-19, the disease attacks the respiratory system, and one of the major bottlenecks in treatment is having enough ventilators. Joshua Pearce(MSE, ECE) runs the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab and has joined the Michigan Tech Open Source Initiative, which collaborates with groups like the 9,000+ strong Helpful Engineers, made up of makers, hackers, medical personnel, engineers and other researchers from around the world. Many perspectives converge on a single goal: getting 3D-printed, open-source ventilators and other medical hardware where they’re needed to overcome COVID-19.

Read the full story on the University's research blog Unscripted.

Local Food Systems Feed and Care for Our Communities Today and Everyday

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted life for many of us and our families. It is hard to know when life will go back to normal, and what that might look like. In the meantime, local farmers are making sure local food systems still thrive and continue to implement their high food safety standards and transparent production systems. 

The good news? Buying locally can reduce the number of hands that come into contact with your food, and many farmers are offering new options to help address social distancing encouragement, such as dropping food off at your door or providing a local pickup spot. 

Times like these remind us of the benefits of a diversified food system that includes a strong regional food system:  local producers have thriving businesses that can sustain communities, local farm businesses have the opportunity to thrive and contribute to our economy, and strong relationships can help make sure we take care of each other. The more we are able to contribute to and depend on our local food system, the more resilient we are in times of crisis.

What resources are available for those in need of food in the Western Upper Peninsula region? A number of social service agencies, community organizations, and grassroots efforts support community food access and community meal programs throughout the area. 

The Western UP Food Systems Council has compiled a working list of community food resources in our area available for download and welcome additions.

In the Western UP, we’re lucky to have many leading a transition to a more just and regional food system through their foraging, farming, fishing, hunting, preserving, growing, and story sharing. We also recognize the high rate of food insecurity in our communities, and the immediate needs many in our communities face every day. Crises such as the July 2018 flood or the COVID-19 pandemic can exacerbate already existing needs as well as make food access challenging in new ways.

To help parents of K-12 children during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy Evans, a local Houghton parent, created a Google spreadsheet sharing local restaurants and schools with free lunches and more. Click on the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet to find information on free meals for kids as well as other resources provided by area businesses. Additional information about meals (and much more!) can also be found on the Keweenaw Report’s COVID-19 resource page.

You can support elders in our community through support organized by Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. To reduce loneliness among our elders during the COVID-19 outbreak, Little Brothers is organizing food and prescription pick-up and delivery service, as well as medical transportation, friendship mail, virtual activities, and telephone calls to keep spirits up. Email Carol Korpela or call 482-6944 to learn more. 

As of last Wednesday (March,10) the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has waived requirements to visit an MDHHS office to receive state assistance benefits. People needing to apply for or receive benefits can go to the MDHHS website to submit paperwork, report changes, apply for benefits, and complete the process for redetermining eligibility for assistance.

This is a temporary policy change that includes waiving the requirement that those receiving or applying for cash assistance attend orientations at Michigan Works! Offices. If you’re unable to use MI Bridges, call MDHHS offices to get assistance at 1-800-642-3195, TTY 1-866-501-5656.

A list of information and articles about how COVID-19 is impacting food systems, including webinars about emergency response, can be found here. We also found some practical advice for those purchasing groceries.

Gratitude to those working on farms, in food service, for agencies, and in grocery stores making sure that food is still accessible in our communities! The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the importance of helping our neighbors. Area farmers are preparing now for the Summer 2020 season now and need our support. Please buy, share, barter, and give local when you can. 

Local producers can be found here.

Submissions to the Michigan Tech Fund

Until further notice, all Michigan Tech Fund check requests should be sent via email to Sue Mello.

Gifts received by University departments can still be sent via campus mail to the Michigan Tech Fund for deposit and processing.

Annual Steam Shutdown

The annual steam shutdown will take place during the week following the end of the spring semester, Sunday, May 3 through Friday, May 8 (weather permitting).

This outage is required to provide maintenance and service of the boilers and steam distribution system on campus. This planned maintenance improves the reliability of our system and reduces the likelihood of an unplanned failure during the winter heating season.

Note: There will not be heat or hot water in the affected buildings during the steam shutdown. There will be no distilled water available from the steam-driven stills. Steam-driven autoclaves/sterilizers will not be operational.

Annual Steam Shutdown (Noon Sunday, May 3 to noon Friday, May 8). Buildings Affected:

  • Administration Building
  • ROTC Building
  • Academic Offices Building
  • Annex Building
  • Electrical Energy Resources
  • DOW Envir Sciences & Eng Bldg
  • Rozsa Performing Arts & Educ
  • Walker - Arts & Humanities
  • Minerals & Materials Engr Bldg
  • Grover C. Dillman Hall
  • Fisher Hall
  • J.R. Van Pelt Library
  • U.J. Noblet Forestry Building
  • Chemical Sciences & Engr Building
  • R.L. Smith (MEEM) Building
  • Student Development Complex
  • Kanwal and Ann Rekhi Hall
  • Douglass Houghton Hall
  • Memorial Union Building
  • Wadsworth Hall
  • McNair Hall
  • Central Heating Plant
  • Facilities Management
  • Hillside Place
  • Great Lakes Research Center

Annual Power Outage

Facilities Management has developed a five-year rotating plan to service the 12,470-volt switchgear and associated breakers on campus. Our campus electrical distribution system depends on this gear being in good working condition.

This work requires a two-night power outage that affects the least number of buildings possible. Please note that in most cases elevators, fume hoods, exhaust fans, ventilation equipment, normal lighting, plug¬in appliances, and plug¬in equipment will not operate during the outage.

Only items connected to the building emergency generator will have power during the outage; the building emergency generators and battery systems that supply power to emergency/egress lighting and special equipment should function as normal.

If you are unsure if your equipment connects to the building emergency generator, please contact the Facilities Management Building Mechanic for your building. Information Technology will be turning off all network equipment in the affected buildings for these outages starting at 5 p.m.

You should plan to save any work and shut down your computer systems and exit buildings before the outages. Additionally, some buildings with power will be without telephone or internet service.

Only the buildings listed will have their power shut off during the scheduled outages. There will be two power outages.

Power Outage One: Begins 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 until 6 a.m. Thursday, May 7

Power Outage Two: Begins 6 p.m. Thursday, May 7 until 6 a.m. Friday, May 8.

Building affected:

  • Rekhi
  • Dillman
  • Fisher
  • Hamar House / CDI
  • Forestry
  • M&M
  • M&M - Undergrad
  • ME-EM
  • ROTC
  • Academic Office Building
  • Alumni House
  • Annex

Buildings with power but no phone or internet:

  • Gates Tennis Center
  • Little Huskies
  • US Forest Service Labs
  • EMS/SLS Garage

You can find more details and updates on the Facilities Management website. If there are questions or concerns with this plan, contact Energy Management or Facilities Management at 7-2303.

University Senate to Meet via Zoom

The next meeting of the University Senate (meeting #636) will be held via Zoom. The meeting will convene at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 25).

Senators are responsible for making their constituents aware of the agenda for this meeting. Senators who are unable to attend should arrange for their alternates to attend in their place.

Read the agenda for meeting #636 and review the minutes from meeting #635

We are going to try to keep this meeting as organized as possible and will likely be using the "chat" function on Zoom for attendance, motions and seconds. We are also going to try to use other functions such as the "hand raise" feature to be recognized for comments and questions or also using the "chat" feature to submit questions to the speaker. Here is the link for joining the meeting

This will be our first time holding a full Senate meeting virtually so please be patient and respectful of others.

Here is a link to video conference etiquette tips if you have time to look it over.

Spring 2020 Diverse Dialogues Series Canceled

Due to President Koubek's most recent COVID19 update and Keweenaw community closures, we will be cancelling the Spring 2020 Diverse Dialogue's series.

We are currently researching and reforming the dialogues to seek virtual opportunities to provide these engaged discussions in a remote, yet community based fashion. We will provide more details and updates throughout the semester.

For any questions or concerns, please email Amy L. Howard, Assistant Director of Campus Diversity Initiatives.


Significant Changes for Proposals to the NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently issued an updated Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide that will be in effect for all proposals submitted on or after June 1.

The most significant changes that will affect Michigan Tech researchers are:

  • Biographical sketches included in proposals will now only be accepted if generated by an NSF-approved format. The primary method for generating a compliant NSF biosketch will be through the SciENcv: Science Experts Network. Each user will need to create an individual account in this system. SciENcv can create compliant biosketches for both NSF and NIH. As an alternative, NSF will also be publishing a fillable PDF. Additional information about the biosketch changes can be found here
  • Current and Pending support information will also need to be produced using an NSF-approved format. As for the biosketches, SciENcv will be one option for producing current and pending support documents. NSF also will release a fillable PDF. Additional information on this change can be found here

Other important changes include:

  • The project description will no longer require a separate section titled “intellectual merit.” Intellectual merit and broader impact sections will still be required in the project summary
  • In the Appointments section, biosketches will now need to include all academic, professional, and/or institutional positions, whether or not these positions are paid
  • Additional guidance on the Current and Pending support section has been provided to clarify what types of support must be included. Additional information is available here and frequently asked questions can be reviewed here

The Research Development office will be hosting several upcoming working sessions to go over the biosketch and current and pending support changes, and to offer on-site help for SciENcv. Upcoming sessions include:

  • March 25: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the MUB Superior Room 
  • April 8: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the MUB Superior Room
  • May 6: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the MUB Alumni Lounge B&C

To RSVP for any one of these sessions, please accept the Google calendar invite that will be sent out to campus. You can also email to RSVP or if you have additional questions.


CC and CoE Faculty Candidate Seminar Today

The Colleges of Computing and Engineering invite the campus community to view a lecture by faculty candidate Teseo Schneider.

Per a new Michigan Tech policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Computing has announced all currently scheduled faculty candidate interviews and lectures will take place online through Zoom Meetings. Schneider’s Zoom lecture will take place at 3 p.m. today  (March 23). The title of his lecture is “Robust Black-box Analysis.”

For more information, view the blog.

In the News

Michigan Tech Nordic skier Sarah Goble was mentioned in the Petoskey News. The paper congratulated Goble on achieving All-American status at the 2020 Nordic Skiing Championships in Montana.


Ebenezer Tumban (BioSci) was quoted in the story "NC Coronavirus Q&A: We answer your questions about grocery shopping, testing and more." The story was carried by several North Carolina newspapers including the Charlotte Observer and the Herald Sun (Durham). 

Today's Campus Events

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Faculty Candidate Lecture: Teseo Schneider

The College of Computing invites the campus community to a lecture by faculty candidate Teseo Schneider on Monday, March 23, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. The lecture will take place...


World Water Day: Key Note Speaker Online Event

"Climate and the Deep Blue Sea" Keynote Lecture by Dr. Joellen Russell Join with Zoom The ocean is changing rapidly, taking up heat and carbon that would otherwise be...


CANCELLED: Diverse Dialogues

11th Annual Feminists Reading Feminists. Join us for the 11th annual Feminists Reading Feminists event hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and the...


Aviation Club Bi-Weekly Meeting

If you are interested in joining or want to know more about what we do feel free to stop by at one of our bi-weekly meetings.


Environmental Graphiti Online Exhibit

The Art of Climate Change Alisa Singer The work of Chicago-based artist Alisa Singer, Environmental Graphiti is a series of digital paintings created to enhance public...