Tech students get a taste of downtown

HOUGHTON – Both new and returning Michigan Technological University students got a chance to see what Houghton has to offer during Saturday’s Afternoon on the Town.

About 60 organizations had signed up, including campus groups, local businesses and non-profits, said Joe Cooper, director of student activities at Tech. He estimated about 1,000 students had turned out by 3 p.m.

“We actually have some returning students who come back out, because they enjoyed it so much last year,” he said.

This is the second year for the event, which combines the Taste of Downtown Houghton and Community Expo, both formerly offered during student orientation.

“Instead of splitting our resources and having confusion, we thought, ‘Let’s do it in one day,'” Cooper said. “It turns out to be a fantastic way to introduce our first-year students to Houghton and the surrounding community.”

Jim Cortright, owner of the Library Restaurant & Brew Pub, agreed, shortly after another mass of students had come through to polish off some root beer.

“At this point, we’ve gone through 1,200 cups of root beer,” he said. “We’re prepared for 1,600, so Tech’s certainly got ’em out.”

One of those who came out was Devon Van Order of Evant, Mich., who was spinning the prize wheel at the Wells Fargo on College Avenue.

“It’s a good way to introduce us first-years to the businesses in town,” he said. “And all the coupons are awesome when you’re in college.”

A guitar player, Van Order will be back at Good Times Music. And he’ll also return to the outdoors stores.

“I think a lot of people find a lot of value in them with the Keweenaw at their disposal,” he said.