Sometimes, men do great things not for good reasons, but just because they can. Why climb the tallest mountains, dive to the bottom of the ocean or jump to the moon? Why? Because they’re there, that’s why. For sophomore physics and philosophy double major Thomas Mittiga, this mentality has led to great things, specifically the construction of a ten-foot long, igloo-esque tunnel in a mound of snow piled up by snowplows near the steps to Tabler Quad.
“It’s something I did as a kid, when there was piles of snow, and, you know, once or twice, I carved it out and there was an igloo,” he said. “But that wasn’t the reason. I saw that we got a lot of snow, and I wanted to play in it as long as I wasn’t working.”
That day came on February 2, when a delay allowed Mittiga to fulfill his dreams of being a modern-day John Henry and tunnel where machines could not. He worried at first that the plows and police cars driving by would take issue with his efforts, but initial reactions proved to be positive. “A couple of people went by, and they were really interested. And in the end, everyone seemed to appreciate it.”
Even though aiding the student body wasn‘t his original intention, many people chose to use the igloo route rather than walk on the street. It made sense; the mound had originally covered the sidewalk completely. But in the end, the tunnel was destroyed by a snowplow. Mittiga, however, was not bothered. “My plan was to make a path for people to go through.”
He was planning on tearing it down himself and creating a normal walkway when time was available again, but the plow beat him to it. “The only thing I was annoyed about was the poor plowing job,” he said, claiming he felt the main reason the plow tore down the igloo was just to destroy it, not to provide a path.
Still, with the sidewalk now cleanly-plowed and temperatures rising, it seems unlikely that Mittiga will be able to dig another igloo. When asked for advice by other people who might want to undertake a similar public works project, Mittiga simply noted, “Make sure that your shovels are good enough for it.” When asked to give more general advice, he remained stoic. “No punchy quotes for you.”