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SoLocations: Wandering Around Michigan Tech

I live in a university town. A two-university town, actually, but the bigger of the two is Michigan Tech, an amazing place that no book could cover, let alone a simple location posting. I'm no expert on all of their programs or people, but I do enjoy wandering through the campus, capturing the sights and having the chance to say hello to a few people.

We’re always rewarded when we look up.

Set in a relatively small, isolated town, Michigan Tech has some comparatively huge buildings. Inside those buildings, there are hundreds of scholars doing incredible things. I couldn’t even catalogue everything going on behind these walls. Some incredibly smart cookies here.

Tech’s ski hill, Mont Ripley, is within sight.

There are about seven thousand students at Michigan Tech, about as many residents as there are in Houghton itself. We’re way up in the northwest corner of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and many of the students are from lower Michigan, 8-10 hours away. We’re physically connected to Wisconsin, not lower Michigan.

This was big-time mining country in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At some point the state decided a mining college was in order, and the school that eventually became Michigan Tech was founded in 1885. Now primarily an engineering school (just over half of the students are engineering majors), there is still a small sliver of mining education going on.

Being in an outdoor paradise means that campus tends to be a bit spread out. Sure, there’s some density of buildings along US-41, but with miles of trails, a golf course, and the ski hill, the borders of this campus are really quite blurred.

I really like this picture.

The campus is a mixture of old and not as old — I hesitate to say new, as there are only a few new buildings on campus. Many were built in the 60s and 70s, and they are holding up quite well. As an architecture fan, I really like it here.

The students rather like it here as well. As one of the safest campuses in the country, saying hi to everyone you see isn’t uncommon. And with regular campus events like Winter Carnival and K-Day, there’s always something to do, to look forward to.

It’s a long, thin campus, fitting between the highway and the water as it does. Functional but not flashy, beautiful but not overwhelming. It suits the personalities here.

Heads-up for ice, though.

These are sturdy structures, too. With over 300" of snow this year (no, that’s not a typo), the roofs have to put up with a lot. A tip of the cap to the Facilities department for their hard work keeping campus in tip-top shape.

Sort of a greenhouse. I think.

This is a friendly place, a safe place, and a place stuffed with geniuses. I’m lucky enough to work here, and even more lucky to have such a lovely place to wander during lunch. I can’t imagine another home.

written by kevinhodur

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