Students Volunteer for UP 200
NMU students are an integral part of the local sled dog race, which this year takes place the weekend of Friday, Feb. 15. The UP 200 is a 12-dog, 240-mile sled dog race, one of best medium-sized races in the Midwest, and also an Iditarod qualifier. The race starts the night of Friday, Feb. 15 in downtown Marquette with a kickoff event that draws over a thousand people. There are also two smaller races tied to this event called the Midnight Run and the Jackpine 30.
UP 200 volunteer coordinator Anna Sanford says that NMU students are involved in every aspect of the event's operation throughout the weekend. Not only do NMU students volunteer for Friday night -- such as crowd control and set-up -- but many help along the route from Marquette to Grand Marais for road crossing guards or dog handlers at the overnight check point in Wetmore.
Additionally, the pre-veterinarian student group volunteers with the UP 200 vets to learn the trade and help with small tasks. Northern's snowmobiling group volunteers with the maintenance and safety of the dog sled trails to make sure that they are clear for the mushers and free of accidents.
Sanford says that many students go above and beyond to volunteer multiple times throughout the weekend, like at Friday's morning set-up, Friday night crowd control, and then again on Sunday when the racers return to Marquette.
Business Professor Carol Steinhaus leads the management class that helps out with selling event merchandise; organizing and managing the entire Jackpine 30; supervising volunteers for Friday night set-up and crowd control; and assisting the main race volunteer coordinator in recruiting, assigning and managing over 1,000 volunteers.
"When I say we couldn't put on the race without [NMU students], we truly couldn't," Sanford says.