NMU should join MTU for Winter Carnival


Travis Nelson

As an NMU student, I have heard much more about Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech, instead of Winterfest at NMU. In fact, I hadn’t even heard about Winterfest until last week. Winter Carnival is a week-long event in Houghton, whereas Winterfest lasts the entire semester, and yet I haven’t heard about an event in my two years here. 

Am I sleeping under a rock? Maybe. But I know that Winterfest isn’t nearly as advertised, or celebrated, for that matter. People of all ages across the entire U.P. go up to Houghton to celebrate and see the ice sculptures or broomball tournaments, but why can’t Marquette, the biggest city by population in the U.P., get a huge crowd? The city of Marquette hosts many festivals in the summer down at Mattson Park, but that trend should continue with the university. It’s obviously not a competition of who has the best event. Actually, both schools could unite to form an event that would take the entire U.P. by storm.

If NMU doesn’t have as big a spectacle as Tech, they could combine for a two-week long event, with the main attractions appearing at each university for one of the two weekends. I honestly believe it could catch national waves, despite where we live. It would be two weeks that matter to every college student in the U.P., and one that will give an NMU event big time coverage. Not only would it enhance the public images of both universities, it could enhance the competition in other ways as well.

If there were such an event that these schools combine in, there could certainly be competitions between the two schools. There could be many tournaments or games, and each winning individual or team would get a point (or whatever scoring system) to their school. At the end of the event, the school with the most points not only wins a trophy, but also bragging rights for an entire year. I’m just imagining an extravaganza of an event, with fireworks in both cities on their respective hosting weekends. This rivalry gets wasted in my opinion, and it would be nothing but fun to boost the energy on the two campuses.

In terms of scheduling the event, it would make sense to have the event in late February to match the last men’s and women’s basketball games between MTU and NMU. Also, spring break would occur for both schools once the event is done, and every year the schedule would switch who hosts  each weekend. My dream scenario would have the hockey teams play during that time too.

For the games, you could have simple inside games such as beanbag or cribbage tournaments. The e-sports club teams for both schools, who soon will be varsity sports teams, could face off in a tournament. You could bring over the Winter Carnival snow sculptures into a competition with NMU. I feel like so many ideas are out there, and there’s so many that can get this celebration to become an actual thing. The ingredients are on the shelf. All NMU and MTU need to do is dump them into the pot, and mix it all

This idea of an event comes from my frustrations as an NMU student that has been completely and utterly misinformed about what Winterfest really is. If I am truly missing out on what it is, I’d be glad to be shown how cool it is. But what I do know, is I’ve never heard about Winterfest from another student, only about Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival. My imagination of this big event could be just a start, and maybe if enough important people read it, then it could happen. I’m not counting on things changing, but here’s how I see not only both universities’ public images expand, but it can enhance what has lately become a petty and dull rivalry. It gives the rivalry fun, and some pizzazz, which we all know it really needs. One week in Houghton, one week in Marquette, who says no?