A pop-up barbershop at Michigan Technological College boosts pupil self-esteem
and a feeling of belonging by furnishing hair treatment for all textures.
It is not seeking like a excellent hair working day – snow pelts campus with slush blobs and sloppy
flakes, alternating with drizzle. But inside Michigan Tech’s Wooden Health and fitness center, in the repurposed
place that is been remodeled into a barbershop, the only precipitation is spritz from
the spray bottle expertly wielded by Manny Hernandez of The Very good Life Barber Lounge. The vivid lights are on so is the tunes. Shoppers, who booked on the net in advance,
are submitting by means of the pop-up barbershop on the half-hour like clockwork, a procession
of shaggy befores and freshly styled afters.
In recent yrs, Huskies who could afford the time and expenditure have been traveling
98 miles to Hernandez’s store in Marquette for a barbershop working experience that aids them
seem and experience their ideal. Now Hernandez is coming to them. For him, it is a way to
provide customers much absent from their hometown barber with a acquainted expertise vital
to their in general properly-remaining. For Michigan Tech, it is a way to assistance students truly feel at
home — an embodiment of the perception of belonging the College needs for every single Husky.
“Barbering is a society,” states Hernandez. “There’s audio, positivity, good lighting
— a familiarity and comfortability. That is section of my mission, to make them come to feel as
good and comfortable as feasible.”
“To know that they can appear fantastic and sense great — that grooming for self-esteem is
so critical. I am happy to be a portion of it.”
A haircut appears to be like a small point until eventually you don’t have obtain to a expert who
is familiar with how to operate with your hair. Some Huskies would go from August to Thanksgiving
crack, hanging on until they acquired property to their typical barber. Some others would get alongside one another
and slice every other’s hair.
“I would go to Marquette to get a cut from Manny, or go couple and much involving,” says Jamie Phillips. A university student in the doctorate of physical remedy program MTU delivers in partnership with Central Michigan College, Phillips acquired his bachelor’s
degree in physical exercise science in 2016. “When I was an undergrad there was a person on the football workforce that slice hair,”
suggests Phillips, a former Tech goalie. “I’m very glad he (Manny) is listed here and ideally
we’ll maximize the frequency of visits.”
Finlandia University college students are also welcome to indicator up for appointments, says Chris Sanders, multicultural scholar accomplishment coordinator and interim assistant director of the
Michigan Tech Center for Variety and Inclusion. “It’s a larger challenge for the community, not just URM (underrepresented minority)
pupils,” states Sanders, noting that as Michigan Tech moves ahead with its diversity
and inclusion initiatives, demand for solutions and possibilities that make it possible for all college students
to experience and do their greatest in a arduous educational atmosphere will boost. “We want
to be ready for that expanding group,” he adds.
A Husky-led Initiative
Serving to students uncover hair treatment for all textures has been an ongoing require at Michigan
Tech. A pupil-athlete’s discovery a lot more than a calendar year back catalyzed the campus barbershop
“I went two and a 50 % months with out a haircut when I came right here,” states Justin Davis.
“As a Black gentleman, in our society, haircuts, the way we seem, our design is actually vital
… When I really don’t have my hair slash, I dress in a hat.”
The next-calendar year MBA college student and vast receiver on the MTU football staff discovered Hernandez by a close friend
in Marquette and achieved out early on to seek out strategies to carry the expertise to Tech.
The strategy didn’t materialize until not long ago, when Michigan Tech Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI) Wayne Gersie went to Manny for his individual haircut. “He explained, ‘We genuinely have to have
something like this at Tech,’” remembers Hernandez. And so the program took shape.
“We experienced talked about it the earlier few a long time,” states Alexandra Marshall, associate
director of home education. “This time, the timing was just appropriate. It occurred rapidly. Wayne experienced Manny’s card.
We referred to as that working day and started out the ball rolling.”
The pop-up barbershop is particularly uplifting just after the pressure Huskies have felt for the duration of
the pandemic, Marshall says. “I want every university student who walks in our doors to feel
at house listed here.”
“Housing is all about group and generating connections. This was 1 of individuals wins
we desired — to perform on a challenge that lets us be back to who we are.”
Micah Johnson, a to start with-year student from the Iron Selection of northern Minnesota majoring
in mechanical engineering technologies, got the very first haircut of his university times in the pop-up barbershop. “It is a kind of self-treatment,” he says, “but for me, the usefulness is 50 percent the explanation I
did it. If he comes consistently, that will work for me!”
Sanders says the men and women operating on the venture are committed to making it a lasting
The barbershop initiative is supported throughout campus and includes grant funding for
long lasting gear. In addition to the VPDI’s place of work and Home Schooling and
Housing Providers, supporters consist of Michigan Tech Athletics, the Vice President of Scholar Affairs and Dean of Learners Place of work, and many other MTU personnel and college associates who have put treatment and vitality into
Each Hernandez and Davis say the greatest takeaway from the barbershop initiative transcends
university student hair care — it’s showing Huskies the importance of making their requirements crystal clear
to the folks who are ready to hear.
“Ask and converse what you want. You can currently inform Michigan Tech is listed here for
their pupils. And that is not just related to barbering,” Hernandez suggests. “It’s relevant
to your practical experience here and your time in this article at Tech.”
For additional information and facts on barbershop dates and situations, check out out the MTU Heart For Range and Inclusion’s web-site and social media.
Michigan Technological University is a public exploration college established in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is household to more than 7,000 students from 55 nations all-around the planet. Consistently ranked among the the finest universities in the state for return on expense, the College gives much more than 125 undergraduate and graduate diploma courses in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, wellness professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is positioned just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, featuring calendar year-spherical alternatives for out of doors experience.