Tech students spruce up local schools

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Pictured left to right, Courtney Archambeau, Artemis Grimes, Rachel Jones and Erica Coscarellie clean windows at the Copper Country Intermediate School District as part of a service day on Monday morning for Michigan Technological University students.

HANCOCK — About 180 students from Michigan Technological University (MTU) boarded buses and vans Monday morning to head out to surrounding elementary and high schools to do gardening, yard work, deep cleaning and other work.

“Definitely all worthwhile stuff to get done before the school year starts,” said Erica Coscarelli, one of the student volunteers from MTU.

Coscarelli works on campus as an international arrival coordinator with MTU Housing and Residential Life. When international students start arriving in Houghton this week, she’ll help show them where to shop in town, where different things are located, and what there is to do here. Monday’s student volunteers were all coordinators like Coscarelli, residence assistants, operations assistants, desk attendants and orientation team leaders.

“We have a lot of different student leader groups, and we were trying to find an activity that would get them all to engage with each other and to have fun doing it and feel like they have a purpose,” said Rachel Jones, assistant director of residence education at MTU.

This is the second year the group has volunteered in the community. Last year, it worked on beautification projects around the Houghton-Hancock area.

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Erica Coscarelli, an international arrival coordinator at Michigan Technological University, cleans windows for the Copper Country Intermediate School District.

Even though most of the schools on the group’s list had inclement weather plans for the students, a lot of the work is outside, so people were pleased how Monday’s weather turned out.

“We were worried it was going to rain,” Jones said.

The group had reached out to George Stockero, superintendent of the Copper Country Intermediate School District, in May to see if they could put the volunteers to work.

“Obviously I said, ‘We’d be happy to have you,'” Stockero said.

The schools, currently making final preparations for the school year, are grateful for any assistance from volunteers.

At the CCISD, students cleaned windows, stuffed envelopes and moved furniture at the new Career and Technical Education Center.

Jobs at other schools included cleaning bleachers and playgrounds and even a little painting. Each superintendent found work for the volunteers, and the students readily went to work.

“As a student leader on campus, we find it really important to give back to the community that we’re a part of,” Coscarellie said.