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      Parade of Nations brings community together

      There are about 1,000 international students at Michigan Tech this year.

      Saturday, as part of a 22 year tradition, they were greeted, along with Finlandia University students, by the Houghton-Hancock community with the "Parade of Nations."

      Conventionally, you may not head to the Keweenaw to experience cultural diversity, but some say that's a mistake, especially on a day like Saturday.

      "U.S. ethnic minorities, there's obviously a much smaller percentage here; let's be real about that," says Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Shezwae Fleming. "But there is a broader conversation to be had that there is a pretty sizable population of international students."

      This year in Houghton and Hancock, there are students from more than 60 different countries. They were officially greeted with a parade Saturday.

      "There's just something amazing about walking across that bridge and just having everybody cheer and just be so happy to see this parade come through," says Thy Yang, Director of Michigan Tech's International Programs.

      It's a chance for Michigan Tech, Finlandia University and the cities of Houghton and Hancock to join forces, taking their culture to the street. It all ends with food, dancing and a lot of pride.

      "Why wouldn't you be proud of where you came from?" asks Bob Wenc, community outreach liaison for Michigan Tech. "We all have that."

      The celebration just keeps getting bigger and bigger; Saturday there were 40 different vendor booths at the festival. Some say it's big enough to challenge cultural events they've seen in large cities.

      But this tradition isn't over yet. Organizers are already planning for the event's future.

      "If you think this is great, next year will be even better, and just wait for our 25th anniversary celebration," Wenc says.