By Michele Bourdieu
Blizzard T. Husky, Michigan Tech's mascot, poses in the driver's seat of the US Peace Corps' Peace Car, an eco-friendly Smart Car, which arrived on the Michigan Tech campus today, July 9, during its Midwest Tour. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)
HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's mascot, Blizzard T. Husky, met the challenge of squeezing into the driver's seat of the US Peace Corps' Peace Car, which arrived on the Michigan Tech campus this afternoon -- one of many stops on a Midwest Tour by representatives from the Peace Corps Midwest Region office in Chicago. The Peace Car enables Peace Corps staff to share their mission while limiting their carbon footprint.
Meghan Costello and Brett Heimann, regional Peace Corps recruiters and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) -- Costello served in Rwanda and Heimann in Togo -- are driving the car through most of the Midwestern states, especially those around Lake Michigan, to call attention to the car and to spread the word about the Peace Corps, although this trip is not specifically for recruiting.
Making a peace sign with his paw, Blizzard poses with Peace Corps Midwest Regional Recruiters Meghan Costello and Brett Heimann.
"Michigan Tech is one of our partner universities," Heimann said.
Michigan Tech has the greatest number of Peace Corps Masters International programs in the US. The programs -- from Forestry to Environmental Engineering, Geology and more -- are now in ten different MTU departments that offer a Master's Degree combined with Peace Corps service.*
The Peace Car also made its way to Field 4 of the Tech Fields on Sharon Avenue this evening for a softball game by the Lockjawed Zombies, a team consisting of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, geology students and forestry students.
Michigan Tech international students join RPCVs/ Recruiters Costello and Heimann for a photo with the Peace Car, which uses regular lead-free gasoline but a minimum of fuel. Standing, second from left, next to Costello, is Kari Henquinet, MTU Peace Corps Master's International Program director and senior lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences. Her daughter, Annika, age 5, is in the driver's seat. Behind Kari is Rudiger Escobar of Guatemala, a post-doc in Michigan Tech's Department of Geology, whose wife, Stephanie Tubman, served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala.
Heimann noted they had just stopped at Marquette University in Milwaukee and would visit Northern Michigan University in Marquette tomorrow, on their way to Traverse City.
Costello noted this summer trip will also include a bike ride across Iowa. With the Peace Corps' Peace Car following them, Costello and Heimann will participate in the RAGBRAI -- the (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, an annual seven-day bicycle ride -- the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.**
For this photo, Costello and Heimann distributed colorful flags of countries where Peace Corps volunteers serve. Holding one of the flags, third from right in front row, is Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech director of news and media events, who invited the community and media to the event.
Kari Henquinet, Michigan Tech Peace Corps Master's International Program director and senior lecturer in Social Sciences, was on hand to welcome the Chicago Peace Corps team.
"They'll come back in the fall for recruiting," Henquinet said.
Heimann said he would be back at the end of August for the beginning of the fall semester.
"I'll be meeting with Kari and people in the Peace Corps Master's Program," he said.
The Peace Corps' Peace Car bears an impressive license plate number and the Peace Corps Web address, where you can learn more about the Peace Corps and its work around the world.
* Click here to learn about Michigan Tech's Peace Corps Master's International programs.
** Click here to read about the RAGBRAI -- the (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.