Michigan Tech ‘Winter Carnival’ set to start Wednesday

Copper Country

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN/Press Release) — To answer the question that’s been on everyone’s mind: Yes, there will be Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech this year. But, it’s going to look a bit different.

For just shy of a century, Winter Carnival at Michigan Technological University has entertained and awed countless students, alumni, visitors and locals with a plethora of activities and its world-renowned snow statues.

This year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Carnival will go on — but the driving force is the safety of all involved. Carnival takes place Wednesday through Saturday (Feb. 3-6) with the theme “Our Favorite Cartoons for Snowy Afternoons.”

Scott Sviland is president of Blue Key Honor Society, the student organization that has organized Winter Carnival since 1934. The graduate student from Escanaba said some Carnival events have been canceled this year and others have been augmented to account for COVID-19 protocols. But rest assured, the tradition of mammoth snow sculptures carries on. 

“Our top priority is safety,” Sviland said. “Everyone involved has worked so hard to make sure all stay safe, especially with snow statue construction.” In putting safety first, Blue Key adopted MTU Flex protocols, he noted.

“All groups in the month-long competition are following COVID-19 protocols — wearing face coverings, maintaining six-feet social distancing and keeping the number of people working on each statue under 25.”

Additionally, Sviland said most statue crews are keeping in their own social groups.

“Most of those in Greek organizations live together where they’re building the statue.” 

Kellie Raffaelli, associate dean of student engagement, agreed the students’ efforts to ensure a safe Carnival have been impressive. “Michigan Tech students have gone above and beyond to follow all COVID-19 protocols to keep campus safe,” she said. “I am confident they will continue that hard work and diligence throughout Winter Carnival.”

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