ASNMU and ORC bring free ice cleats to NMU


Photo courtesy of Richard Hamilton NMU’s Marching Band stands on the ice of the Berry Events Center during a hockey game against Lake Superior State. The marching band is using ASNMU-funded Cat Cleats. Photo courtesy of Richard Hamilton.

Kelsii Kyto

As the tail end of winter continues, students are still looking for ways to amuse themselves amongst the cold weather and snow. After ASNMU collaborated with the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC), students can now safely wander outside in the winter wearing “Cat Cleats,” which are ice cleats that students can check out for free.

ASNMU Student Affairs Board member Richard Hamilton found the cleats in the ASNMU office one day after moving some things around. They were purchased about 4 or 5 years ago, and were used previously to promote ASNMU. However, there was no inventory for the cleats or a checkout process to verify that people using them were current students.

“It was obvious this would need more structure if it was going to be a resource that could be effectively utilized by all the students and not become a money drain for ASNMU,” Hamilton said.
After attending the Wildcat Wellness Health Fair last year, Hamilton began the project when students talking to ORC staff expressed interest in using ice cleats. When the ORC staff commented that they didn’t have any, Hamilton decided to step in and bring up the cleats he found in ASNMU’s office.

“The staff at the ORC table were pretty stunned by this and so I asked if they thought it would be at all possible if we could partner up and have the ORC distribute these through a check out basis whilst promoting ASNMU in return,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton then drafted a budget to purchase better cleats, wrote a proposal on why the ORC should keep the cleats in their department and finalized the contract between the ORC and ASNMU.

Roughly 40 students have used the program so far, including the marching band when they marched on the ice during a hockey game, Hamilton said.

“The program is a great way for students to stay active during the winter months when there is a lot of snow and ice on the trails that make them difficult to trek,” Hamilton said, adding that the ice caves are a great place to put the cleats to use.

The cleats can also easily accommodate large groups of people, Hamilton said.

“I really hope students utilize this so that they may safely enjoy the trails all year long,” Hamilton said.

Cat Cleats are free to rent out for up to three days at the ORC in the PEIF. Students must have their university IDs.