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Behind the scenes of Winter Carnival

The clock is ticking and Winter Carnival is set to kick off in a week! To help get students into that carnival mood, The Lode got the opportunity to sit down with Joe Dlugos, President of the Blue Key National Honor Society, and take a look behind the curtain to see the inner workings behind what makes Winter Carnival possible.

The nationwide Blue Key National Honor Society was founded in 1924 and is built on three pillars; leadership, scholarship, and service. Blue Key chapters are scattered throughout America, and each is encouraged to sponsor an event for their community. Michigan Tech’s chapter was formed in 1934 with their only goal being to host Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival. “This is kind of our bread and butter,” Dlugos pointed out. He went on to say how the Michigan Tech chapter strives to plan a great event not only for the students at Tech but the Keweenaw community as a whole. Currently, Blue Key has 22 members and, Dlugos says, “Those 22 students are the most dedicated kids I’ve ever met on campus.” 

Dlugos gives insight into the Winter Carnival planning process by explaining that the operations for the event span a year in advance. Blue Key has five different committees that help share the workload; public relations, royalty, special events, stage review, and statues. Although this may seem like a lot for 22 people, Dlugos made it clear one of his missions is member mental health especially as the days count down to the event. 

An integral part of Winter Carnival is its theme, and the entire process from conception to announcing begins at Blue Key’s post-carnival celebratory dinner. “We have literally a bunch of sticky notes, everyone writes down on a sticky note exactly five, six different themes they want, we put them all on a big whiteboard and just pick.” After the theme and slogan are picked, a logo design contest is opened on Instagram. Once submitted, the members of Blue Key get together and vote on the logo. This year’s logo was created by Connor Anderson, a fifth-year Computer Engineering and Robotics Engineering double major. When interviewed previously by The Lode on his logo, he said his inspiration was seeing the northern lights at Breakers Beach.

When asked why Blue Key enjoys putting on Winter Carnival, Dlugos gave an answer that showcases the core values of being a Husky. “We do this every year not only for ourselves, we do this because we impact thousands of people every single year. Winter Carnival is the busiest week for the entire Keweenaw for business, businesses receive about a 1.5 times multiplier on their revenue during Winter Carnival week and so it’s not only just for our students to get out of their dorms and have a good time but it’s for families to go out.” Dlugos goes on to say that, “We have that Tech tenacity and we get to show that off to our community while giving them an enjoyable time.”

As of the day of publication, we are eight days away from the all-nighter kicking off at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Until then, students can look forward to another exciting hockey game between the Michigan Tech Huskies and the Northern Michigan Wildcats at the Macinnes Ice Arena on Saturday, Feb. 2.

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