The Lode The Student News Site of Michigan Technological University Wed, 25 Mar 2020 02:14:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Lode Shuts Downs Amid COVID-19 Crisis Wed, 25 Mar 2020 02:14:17 +0000 Dear readers of the Michigan Tech Lode, 

We regret to inform you that The Lode will not be publishing for the rest of the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our staff members have been displaced and our office on the MTU campus is inaccessible. 

We look forward to serving you again in August.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to

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MTU and COVID-19 Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:50:44 +0000 On March 11, Michigan Tech announced that the University would be suspending all face to face instruction as concerns of the COVID-19 virus increase. Initially, this suspension was only supposed to last until April 17, however as of March 16, the suspension has been increased to the end of the spring semester. 

Six different University task forces have been created to prepare and plan for the upcoming impacts the COVID-19 will have on the campus. 

Faculty, staff, and students had only five days to prepare to switch to online learning, as once spring break ended online instruction would begin. This posed a huge challenge for all classes and their students. Many professors on Tech’s campus are already certified to be teaching online courses, and for those who are not, the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning is providing them, and students, resources to help with the transition. 

One of the more difficult tasks is for labs across campus to be formatted to fit the online teaching style. While there is no definitive guideline, each lab is doing the best they can to accommodate the University’s adopted policy. 

Tech’s campus also has announced that the Student Development Complex, Van Pelt and Opie Library, A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, Keweenaw Commons area in the Memorial Union Building, and the Gates Tennis Center will be closed until the end of March. In addition, all the on campus dining services will be grab-and-go only. 

The Campus Store has also announced that one of their digital providers, Vital Source, is going to be offering free access to eBoks for students attending Michigan Tech as a result of the closures. 

U-Haul is also offering students 30 days of storage for free as part of their national program which began March 16. All college students who need to move or store items on a short notice because of closures due to COVID-19 will be able to have their items stored for free. In the surrounding area, there are U-Haul locations in Houghton, Dodgeville, Hancock, Lake Linden, and Calumet. 

While other universities are closing their dorms, currently Michigan Tech is still allowing residents to stay in the dorms. Residents who decide to continue to stay on campus are highly encouraged to be vigilant when practicing hygiene. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and include: shortness of breath, cough, and a fever. Anyone feeling ill is encouraged to call the clinic ahead of time before seeking help. Clinics in the area include: 

  • UP Health System Portage (906-483-1000)
  • Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital (906-337-6500)
  • Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center-Houghton Clinic (906-483-1860)

Any questions regarding COVID-19 protocols and procedures on campus can be directed to

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Coronavirus measures come into full swing Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:48:46 +0000 After some initial apprehension earlier this year, the World Health Organization has categorized the present coronavirus problem as a “pandemic.” This is but one of the many official decrees dispensed by governing agencies and authorities at all levels, all around the world.

In Michigan, responding to the threat of the virus, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has instituted a multitude of measures that are very much affecting day-to-day life for citizens. Firstly, by cancelling K-12 public school, followed then by closing swaths of establishments, leaving drive-through and to-go operations intact. All gatherings of over 50, in fact, have been banned. This, all in an effort to socially distance the population to prevent the spread of the infamous disease. The mortality of the disease comes primarily from the oldest of the population, though it is especially dangerous because any individual can carry it.

Among other states to close down dine-in services of establishments are Ohio, Illinois, New York, and Washington.

The measures go on extensively, including even ones such as the temporary ability to purchase marijuana in a drive-through setting, allowing newly-legal dispensaries to operate. Closures most recently include gyms, movie theaters, even courthouses are minimizing operations to those concerning the currently incarcerated and other essentials. Many sports leagues, even, have shuttered in response to the virus, on all levels of competition. From Tech’s own participation in the WCHA hockey tournament all the way up to the NHL itself, the season has ceased.

The Governor has also suggested the incoming of more new limitations on the state level. In a call to Governor Whitmer reported by MLive, “the reason that we’re being so aggressive… is because we are trying to flatten the curve.” She continues, mentioning that “we are having discussions with our chief medical officer whether or not we need to promulgate an additional order on that front.”

Some other actors, too, have made significant moves with respect to the virus. Michigan energy companies DTE and the Upper Peninsula Power Company are stopping shutoffs for nonpayment for qualified low-income customers. They say, “we are on high alert to help those customers whose lives are being disrupted.”

The United Auto Workers labor union has voiced concerns for its workers that show up to work risking infections, with the Detroit area being a hotbed of cases in the state. Workers want Ford to temporarily shut down U.S. production as they have done in Europe when responding to the virus. They are especially concerned as daycares threaten to close, leaving no way for workers to have their kids taken care of, schools having long been shuttered.

For the city of Hancock, all non-essential meetings until April 6 of city officials are canceled. This, however, does not apply to City Council meetings.

Schools in the area, like many others in the state, are offering free breakfast and lunch meals to those with children under the age of 18 in lieu of regularly-scheduled daily school meals. Parents are to preorder meals by Tuesday noontime for each week, to be handed out beginning the Wednesday of March 18 at 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and continuing likewise for the two following weeks.

At the time of writing this, there are 65 confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Michigan. It remains that there are zero known cases in Houghton county.

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This week in history Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:46:57 +0000
  • On March 16, 461 A.D. Saint Patrick dies after a life of hardships. He was abducted by Irish pirates at 16 and escaped 6 years later by following the voices in his dreams. He is held as the patron saint of Ireland and converted thousands of people to Christianity. 
  • On March 21, 1943, Henning von Tresckow and Rudolf von Gertsdorff failed to kill Hitler for the second time. Hilter was scheduled to take a tour of an exhibition of captured Soviet flags and weaponry and the plan was to plant a bomb within that would explode when Hitler was near. Rudolf von Gertsdorff volunteered to become a suicide bomber when he realized that security was too tight to plant a bomb that would kill Hitler. However, after being glued to Hitler’s side for the tour, the short 10-minute fuse wasn’t long enough and Hitler had slipped out the door before the bomb could explode. Von Gertsdorff had to defuse the bomb in the restroom, where it is said he diffused it with only seconds to spare. 
  • On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz closed after transferring its last prisoners. Alcatraz was in operation for 29 years but eventually closed because the cost of operation was too expensive. 
  • On March 15, 1965, President Lydon B. Johson urges Congress to pass legislation that would guarantee equal voting rights for all. This speech was delivered eight days after Martin Luther King Jr. and over 400 followers were attacked when marching from Selma to Montgomery to register to vote.  
  • On March 20, 1995, a terrorist organization called Aum Shinrikyo (supreme truth), a Japanese doomsday cult, killed 12 people and injured more than 5,500 when they secretly released a dangerous nerve gas called Sarin gas at the height of Tokyo morning rush hour. Most of the survivors recovered fully, but many were left with permanent damage to their lungs, eyes, and digestive systems. 
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    UnLODEing Zone Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:44:33 +0000 What a way to come back from Spring Break, right? I gotta say, I did not see this online thing coming. Part of me is happy about it, part of me is nervous about it and all of me is just weird out by it. I feel wrong-footed.

    I’m a little grateful, though. As a person who has already had health issues nearly cause academic problems, I’m relieved to not have to be around so many potential sources for germs. This way, I can stop worrying so much about trying to keep going despite illness and health issues, because I can just do everything from home.

    Also, I’ve always loved doing things on my own schedule, so having the freedom to be flexible in how I organize my day is great. Especially since I’m not really a morning person.

    But I’m also a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to create more opportunities for the virus to spread, so I totally get why we’re pretty much finishing the year online, but I do like the variety that comes with class time.

    I tend to be a homebody, especially with all the responsibilities that I need to deal with in my last semester here. But sitting in my house all day gets old, and I don’t usually have the energy to be social after all the homework is done. So it’s nice to have something that forces me to get out of the house but doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring my other responsibilities. I’ll miss that in the weeks ahead.

    Plus, sometimes online classes can be a weird sort of difficult. They’re both more tangible and less so. They’re more tangible because they’re always there, almost always accessible. However, because the reminders are online and not being told to you face-to-face, sometimes it’s easier to forget about them or consider them less important. 

    I think that’s the weirdest part for me. I like online classes, but I have to go into them knowing that that’s what’s going on. It usually takes me a few weeks to find the rhythm of the classes, and now my whole system just got majorly thrown for a loop. It’s manageable, but it still makes me worry.

    What a way to end my college career.

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    Free time, some conditions apply Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:43:12 +0000 So classes all over the U.S. are closed until the end of the semester. I can’t help but feel conflicted about it. Obviously, any actions needed to stop the spread of a pandemic should be taken. However, us college students now face a threat most of us could only dream of: no class!

    Well, no in-person class. We all watched Spiderman, we all know that with great power comes great responsibility. So why is it then, that I can’t seem to focus on my classwork? It feels like I should still be on break. I had no professor looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t on my phone during the online lecture!

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s on us, the students, to actually stay focused, and that is terrifying. How am I supposed to do my homework when I could just stay in bed and sleep all day? Ok, let me reel it back in a little. It isn’t as bad as I make it out to be, and obviously, I prefer being able to do my classwork in boxers and an old sweatshirt.

    I just find it interesting how immediate my shift in attitude was. I went from up and at ‘em at 6 a.m. to get ready for class to barely getting out of bed at all! It is an interesting social experiment I guess.

    They say there are two kinds of incentives. There is the carrot and there is the stick. The carrot is a sweet, positive reward. The stick is the firm, sometimes negative, reinforcement. The challenge is balancing these aspects. So, before, the stick would be a poor attendance grade, missing your lecture or lab and a huge disadvantage on homework or exams.  

    Now though, all the lectures are recorded. I have the full ability to tell myself I’ll get to it later! It is ALL CARROTS; there’s no stick! It’s like in Spongebob when Squidward eats all the Krabby Patties then gets fat and his thighs explode, except now I’m Squidward, the Krabby Patties are Netflix and my grades are Squidward’s thighs.

    I’m sure we will get used to it after a week or so, but until then we have to stay strong. I know The Office is calling your name for the 5th time but you must resist; you have a lab report to write. Before you ask, no, you can’t promise yourself you’ll do it in the morning either. We all try that and we all know we hit the snooze button five times instead of getting to work.

    I think I’ve gone on long enough at this point. We all have work we need to get back to. So let’s all agree to just watch one or two more episodes then really go hard at that class assignment, ok?

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    Debate: Should every university offer all their classes as online classes? Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:40:32 +0000 Round One

    Side 1: 

    While having a wider, or unlimited, variety of classes available online would be convenient in some ways, some problems keep this from being a reality. For example, certain science classes can’t just let their students run lab experiments in their bedroom or kitchen just because the student is taking their online course. They need a lab, they need special equipment and they probably need supervision, at least at the beginning. That does not work at home. The same thing applies to things like electrical work, woodworking, hairdressing and other such hands-on topics. That’s the reason they’re called hands-on. They need to be done in the physical presence of an instructor, at least part of the time. Does this mean that they can’t be partially online classes? Not necessarily. However, if we tried to make all classes at every university online ones, we risk leaving our students without necessary experience for their careers and possibly risk their own or others’ health in the process.

    Side 2: 

    Obviously, it is unfortunate to need to host all classes online, however, there are many cases in which this is the most accessible way to attend a class. If a student has a compromised immune system, should they have to give up halfway through their semester? That is obviously unfair to that student. I’m not saying every class needs to have a binary version that is online-only, but a contingency plan should be available for those who need it. Obviously, the current situation sheds new light on the subject. In the event of an emergency, shouldn’t at least some form of online curriculum be available, and easy to switch to? Rather than have a situation in which professors must hurry to change formats, create Canvas modules and edit homework policy, wouldn’t it make more sense to have an online curriculum pre-made that could easily be substituted in?

    Round 2

    Side 1:

    Yes, having online options would be very nice and convenient if some sort of problem came up, even if it were a relatively mild one rather than something as drastic as we have going on with the virus right now. It would allow for the chance to make up or keep up with hard-to-access classes or labs and allow people with difficult circumstances a better chance at starting or continuing studies. However, it lacks a little when it comes to teaching. As mentioned earlier, online classes lack a hands-on approach. Maybe some don’t need that. However, videos and discussion boards can’t completely replace face-to-face conversation. Since roughly sixty percent of human communication comes from body language and tone is hard to interpret via the written word, things might get lost in translation between teacher and students, or between fellow students. What happens if a student has a very difficult issue to discuss with the teacher or the class. Live videos would capture all communication facets in a conversation the best, but, if it needed the whole group of students, it would be difficult to broadcast to an entire class without potentially causing more confusion. Online classes might be convenient, but they’re not necessarily more useful.

    Side 2:

    The point that lab classes and certain lectures are better understood in person is valid. Obviously, a student has no access to an academic lab, and mail-order kits are often way overpriced and provide only a rudimentary version of a lab. However, with the internet, it is possible to have pre-filmed lab exercises, interactive programs and even live lab meetings where students can ask questions about the lab in real-time. This is obviously not ideal, but would still provide a facsimile to a student in a compromised situation. This would also provide students an opportunity to catch up on a lab they may miss for a valid reason. In most cases, a missed lab means an automatic zero for the grade. I think it is unreasonable to give someone a zero for missing a lab when they could have had a reasonable reason to be absent. In this case, an online option would help lessen the stress on a student already under pressure from other circumstances. 

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    #coronacations: a selfish and dangerous idea Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:37:01 +0000 Picture this: you’re a little, old grandma, doing your little, old grandma thing. Maybe you just got done playing bridge or bingo with all your friends down at the senior center and you’re regaling your house-bound husband with tales of that mean old cow, Cheryl, who stole your place in the last cakewalk or something. You scroll through Facebook, catching up with friends and family, liking a picture of your grandchild on the beach. They’ve captioned it, “#coronacation.” 

    Kids really do say the darndest things.  

    Flash-forward a week, your grandchild has stopped by to visit. You’ve made their favorite dinner and they spend a happy evening waxing poetic over the beautiful, exotic locale they’ve spent the past couple of days in. They scroll through pictures on their phone, which they graciously hand over to you so that you can hold it at a comfortable length to see the screen. At the end of the night, you and your husband see them off, sending them away with plenty of leftovers and hugs. 

    Flash-forward two more weeks. Your grandchild came down with some sort of flu and was a bit under the weather for a few days. Their parents, your children, keep calling to make sure you and your husband haven’t caught whatever bug they had, but you shrug off their concern. You lived through a war, you know. A war, a recession, and more than your fair share of ailments. This is no different from the last big flu that came around, the one with the pigs, and you’ll get through it just as you got through that one. 

    Your husband coughs, from the other room. A spring cold, that’s all. Still, you worry.

    Flash-forward two more weeks. Your husband is dead. You’re in the hospital. Things are not looking good. 

    While this seems like an extreme scenario, it is all too possible in today’s world. Practicing safe social distancing is incredibly important right now, and while it may seem like a good idea to take advantage of the current low cost of traveling, one must consider the possible repercussions. While many people our age may not be severely affected by COVID-19, we are prime candidates for spreading the virus. Traveling under these conditions can have drastic and devastating consequences. We all ought to take a moment to consider the far-reaching potential effects of the choices we make in these crazy times. 

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    Places that you can tour (virtually) while quarantined Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:33:26 +0000 Social distancing, though effective in limiting the spread of contagions, can be an often boring and tedious time. Just when we’ve gotten over the cabin fever of winter, we’re stuck inside once more for the protection of public health. Thankfully, in our internet world, there are lots of ways to get out and see things without leaving the comfort of your bedroom. Museums, aquariums and other attractions from around the world have free, online features that allow you to view their exhibits virtually. 

    Even after we get out of this mess, these virtual tours are still useful for those of us that do not have time time, opportunity or money to travel the world. Can’t get off of work to take a trip to Greece? Tour the Parthenon online. Can’t afford tickets to Mexico City? View their plethora of cultural museums online. 

    So, grab your laptop and check out eight of my personal favorites. 


    Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, NY

    While you can’t pose on the Met steps a la Gossip Girl through the museum’s virtual features, you can still check out some of their breathtaking collections. Through their Met 360° Project, you can view almost every aspect of some of their most famous exhibits. Also, if you didn’t get my Gossip Girl reference, binging the show on Netflix could be another way to spend your time. View the Met’s collections at


    National Women’s History Museum – Alexandria, VA

    Celebrate what’s left of Women’s History Month and take a virtual step into this museum that honors all things feminine. They’ve got virtual exhibits on female athletes, women in STEM, suffragettes and more. Click through their collections at


    National Museum of Anthropology – Mexico City, Mexico

    Take a step into Latin America’s indiginous history with this museum’s digital exhibit via Google Arts and Culture. Take a virtual stroll through their physical halls, where the images are clear enough to even read the signs on the walls. You can also click on individual artifacts, and the page will take you to their exact location within the museum. Check it out at


    Johnson Space Center – Houston, TX

    Virtually walk through NASA’s Houston Space Center, all through the comfort of your phone! With an audio-guided tour, you can get up close and personal with their collections. Step into the past with their Space Race exhibits, or into the future with their Mission Mars one. Take a look for yourself by downloading the Space Center Houston app on the App Store or Google Play. 


    The Dalí Museum – St. Petersburg, FL

    Step into the museum of one of the most eclectic artists of the twentieth century. Boasting one of the largest collections of artwork by Salvador Dalí, the museum’s virtual tour gives you an intimate view of some of Dalí’s most impressive pieces, and an outside view of the incredible building they are housed in. Check them out by visiting


    The Acropolis – Athens, Greece

    If you obsessed over the Percy Jackson series in your earlier years, then you probably went through an Ancient Greece interest phase. Tour Greece’s Acropolis, Parthenon, Athena Nike monuments and more through their virtual tour site. Take a stroll through one of Greece’s most famous monuments by visiting or download their app. 


    U.S. National Archives – Washington, D.C.

    Google Arts and Culture offers an exclusive look into the nation’s official record keeper. View thousands of historical images and documents, along with their carefully curated online exhibits, such as their current one on Women’s Suffrage and the 19th Amendment. See them at

    Van Gogh Museum — Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Housing the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, this museum includes paintings, drawings and letters from the famed artist, perhaps best remembered for cutting off his own ear. See all of these and tour the museum through Google Arts and Culture by visiting 

    Michigan Tech Archives – Houghton, MI

    Did you know that Michigan Tech has its own university archives? Located in the garden level of the library, they house an impressive collection of MTU and Copper Country documents and other artifacts. They offer a great online selection of photos through their Copper Country Historical Images collection, along with some online exhibits curated by archives staff. Visit their site at

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    Boredom Busters Thu, 19 Mar 2020 14:31:53 +0000 There’s a lot of chaos going around, but the number one advice for everyone at this point is to stay home. While introverts rejoice, even they will soon be feeling a little stir crazy. It is critically important to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 because hospitals cannot handle everyone falling ill at the same time and resources are limited, so staying indoors and self-isolating is everyone’s best bet.

    Because this is a global crisis that we are in, a lot of things are happening. Children are off school all over Michigan and Tech students, bless our hearts, are stuck with virtual classes. Some of you may be excited about not having to get up for your early morning classes anymore while others are panicking about what this means for labs, presentations and assignments. Between the, likely, increased workload, and the hysteria that fills every empty supermarket shelf, you may be wondering what exactly you’re going to do for the next several weeks as people are encouraged to self-isolate and even self-quarantine.

    I’m going to start off with the most obvious. Do your homework. I mean, really, you have to stay at home, you have to be isolated, you might as well get all that work done. Think about it, Tech is closed through the end of the spring semester and is trying to find a way to do a virtual graduation ceremony — if you really put your mind to it, you might be able to get all those assignments done well before they’re due and then you can do whatever you want — early summer!

    This brings me to my next point, doing all of your homework in the first week of quarantine is a pipe dream because there are loads of other things that you can be doing. Playing video games is, of course, on the top of most people’s minds. Kids are playing everything from Fortnite to Pokemon, and I for one don’t see why college students should be any different. Video games are a great way to maintain your sanity for the foreseeable future, but don’t let them get in the way of other things you might still have to do, like sleeping and eating. 

    If video games aren’t your style, or you’ve been giving yourself far too many screen-headaches, there’s always books that you can read. While the libraries might be closed, there are Kindles and e-readers, as well as a novel you probably have tucked away somewhere in your room or house. Now is the time to read all those books you’ve been putting off!

    If you really don’t like reading, or you don’t have any books (what kind of monster are you?) there is, of course, our ever faithful crutch, Netflix. Between Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime (sorry, Hulu, your ads bother me) we have plenty of content to choose from. Binge an old favorite TV show, binge a new favorite, watch all the Disney movies in order of release! No one can stop you!

    Play with your animals. Whether you have an animal of your own or you’re planning on going back home to your family pets, show them a little love! Being home with nowhere to go is a dream for any number of household animals — they’ve literally been waiting their whole lives for this. Play ball, give treats, teach them some new tricks. They will love you forever.

    Finally, learn a new hobby! Learn a second language, Duolingo is free to download and my only criticism of it is that it takes too much time for me to play every day when I want to be doing other things. Now there’s all the time in the world! Sitting at home with nothing to do? Learn how to crochet! Learn how to knit! Drawing, painting and writing are all creative endeavors that can be done for pretty cheap.

    Among all the things that you can do, cleaning, staying healthy and being prepared are the most important, everything after that is just a boredom buster. I certainly don’t recommend making this pandemic more difficult on yourself or those around you, so keep the boredom at bay and stay on top of things! This’ll be over before you know it.

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