Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Project Basketball: UNH Hoops

Alright I'm gonna be quick here. UNH basketball is nearly nonexistent and our fan base is even scarcer. But Wildcat Army is looking to change all of that. The team has made some major improvements over the last few seasons and is a dark horse in America East this year. All it takes is getting hot late in the season, winning the American East tournament and our Wildcats could be facing Ohio State or UConn on CBS come March. This year's team is as talented as a team as Durham (New Hampshire that is) has seen in some time, if not ever. Ferg Myrick and Alvin Abreu are both coming off injury shortened seasons and they are trying to prove that they are back and healthy. Chandler Rhoads has greatly improved during his career and Brian Benson is a rebounding machine. "Springy" is an understatement. The kid has ups. Period. Transfer Patrick Konan can bang the boards and shoot the long ball and Jordan Bronner has great ball skills. If America East isn't ready, this team could really surprise some people.

Because of that Wildcat Army is preparing to attend as many home game as possible to ignite a new fan base for the team. Lundholm is tiny, as a New Hampshire native I've seen high school crowds make the place rock, so we should be able too. What do you say?

Be there tonight at 7 to see the team take on instate rival Dartmouth. I know it's last minute, but what else are you gonna do? It's a Wednesday for crying out loud. Hopefully we'll see you there.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Senior Gift Ideas

Monday morning the new UNH Twitter account, @UofNH, submitted the following tweet: "Attn #UNH Seniors! What would you like to leave as your Senior Gift? Let us know your ideas! Please use hashtag #UNHSeniorGift." UNH Class of 2012, this is our chance to leave our mark on this fine institution.

For the past four years, or more for the super and super, super seniors, UNH has provided us with an education to be successful in this devastating and depressing economy. Or at least they have convinced us that we can find jobs out there.

Personally, I'm not so sure. But hey, that's what graduate school is for, right? Delaying the inevitable for another couple years – or however long it takes. There's always mom and dad's basement and managerial positions at McDonalds. How do you say "would you like fries with that" in Spanish?

Anyway, back on topic: The 2012 UNH senior gift. Personally, I don't want to be remembered for a little granite bench or simply contributing to the new Peter T. Paul business school.

I'm a dreamer and I want our gift to be something that we can be proud of, that our state can be proud of and that the university can be proud of. Of course, that might be tough. The state obviously isn't very proud of us at all – I mean, they already cut our funding in half, and I'm willing to bet that the largest newspaper in the state has never written a positive article on UNH.

So what are the major things that UNH is known for? Well, if you read the papers we're known for being a party school, buying lots of beer, having high arrest numbers, disruptive concert crowds, not getting along well with the town of Durham, having poor diversity and race relations, a Greek system that loses a charter seemingly every week, and we have a pretty decent hockey team.

Out of all of those things that UNH is known for, our hockey team and particularly the state-of-the-art Whittemore Center, which is one of the very few Olympic sized rinks in the country, is something to truly be proud of. However, for the Whitt to be truly labeled "state-of-the-art" I believe that it is missing one key feature: a video replay scoreboard. I mean even the decrepit old Alfond Arena up in Orono, Maine, has a video board. Think of how much easier it will be to harass our favorite referees like the Hanson brothers when we have video evidence on our side.
Listen, the orange light bright scoreboard is unique to the Whitt, but it just doesn't do a good enough job. Sure the stick figures are entertaining, but player pictures are basically undecipherable and its technology sophistication is that of a 5-year-old's play toy.

You're probably thinking to yourself, how would this benefit the university as a whole? Well, let me put it this way: what other aspect of UNH draws more attention? The hockey program is nationally known, regularly sells out home games, makes TV appearances, and draws students from across the country as well as internationally. And while a video board may be expensive, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a new football stadium. A replay board could also serve as a visual component to concerts, trade shows and other events held at the Whittemore Center.

If you're not yet sold on the idea of a video replay board there are many other options for the class of 2012's senior gift. This is our chance to come together and give something back to the community for a change. Another common idea could be setting up a scholarship fund for future students from tough economic backgrounds – in this economy and with rising tuition costs, cases like that will only become more likely. Other ideas could be murals, memorials, database subscriptions, specific renovations, and sustainability upgrades such as solar panels.

Bike racks and benches have been done numerous times – lets leave a gift unique to UNH and unique to the class of 2012.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Boarding for Boobies!

On Saturday December 3rd there will be a Boarding for Breast Cancer snowboard and ski rail jam on Boulder Field from 4 to 8pm. There will be artificial snow and a handful of different rails and boxes set up and prizes for the winners. It is sponsered by several different board shops and dozens of students have already registered to compete. It is $5 for students and $10 for non-students to compete. Check out their Facebook Event page for all the details.

It is open to all levels of ability, but you should probably be better than my friend:

See you there and I hope to see some people throwing down. I don't think I'll be competing, but I'll definitely stop by to watch and maybe snag a few pictures or videos to throw up on the blog.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Behavior not Unique to UNH

For the past several weeks, the UNH campus had been buzzing with anticipation for the Avicii concert, which finally took place this past Saturday. As expected, many UNH students and other concert attendees were "hydrated" as Tom Brady might put it, but it is important to note that behavior like this is not unique to the UNH campus.

UNH police announced that 34 arrests were made at the concert. Many of the arrests were related to drugs and alcohol, which should be expected not because this is UNH, but because it was A) a concert and B) it was located at a college campus. It is also important to note that due to New Hampshire's internal possession law, arrest numbers are often higher than at schools located in other states. For example, when SCOPE brought rapper Wiz Khalifa to UNH last year, there were 48 arrests made on campus that night, as opposed to only two at the same show the night before at the University of Rhode Island.

These statistics are misleading. While one may argue that they show UNH has more disruptive and out of control students, the statistics actually reflect more on New Hampshire's strict alcohol consumption laws. An internal possession violation in New Hampshire will result in an arrest, while it would only result in a citation in other states.

This misleading stat is similar to the "study" done by The Daily Beast last year that ranked UNH as the "Druggiest School in the Country." The Daily Beast used the number of arrests related to drugs as their major statistic. High arrest numbers can also be attributed to UNH's zero tolerance policy and New Hampshire's drug laws. For example, possession of certain amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts or Vermont will only result in a citation, while any amount results in an arrest in New Hampshire.

While that means UNH has more arrests for marijuana than other schools, it does not mean that UNH students are using drugs more than others. UNH students simply get in more trouble for it.

If that study were to be done accurately, it would need to include citations issued for drug use along with the arrest numbers. In a way, it is kind of amusing because UNH is only being labeled as a top drug school because our policy is so strict. It is also important to note that the arrest numbers do not separate UNH students from non-students. Many of the biggest party weekends at UNH, including Homecoming, Halloween and Spring Climax, are also the biggest weekends for non-UNH students to come to our campus.

In fact, if you compare the statistics provided by The Daily Beast with statistics from UNH Health Services, UNH students actually use marijuana at a lower rate than the statewide average for 18-25 year olds. The Daily Beast listed New Hampshire's statewide average as 29.21 percent for the month prior to the survey and 41.54 percent for the year prior. Last year, UNH Health Services said that only 27 percent of UNH students admitted to using marijuana on the Housing surveys.

You are probably wondering by now why I am bringing all of this up. I feel that whenever stories break about UNH and illegal activities, it only dampens our school's reputation.

Following the announcement that 34 people were arrested (Update: of which only 14 were UNH students) at the Avicii concert, many local papers, including Foster's Daily Democrat, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Nashua Telegraph, and even ran brief stories. (Then again, has the Union Leader ever written anything positive about UNH?) Many of these write-ups also mentioned the fire at the salt shed as if there is evidence that the two were connected. While this is possible, it seems highly unlikely because the fire was called in at 7:30 p.m., when the concert was already underway.

When large concerts and events come to college campuses you should expect students and non-students to be arrested for drugs and alcohol – those come with the territory. However, we should not allow the few people who went too far, who may or may not even be UNH students, to hurt the reputation of this campus. UNH is already known as a party school, but once you attend it, you realize that it really isn't any different than most schools, especially public state schools for that matter.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fire on Campus

Yikes, I have been really crapping out on the blog lately. I just had a super busy couple of weeks so I haven't had time to pay attention to all things UNH. I have a few posts lined up, but will return to regular blogging after Thanksgiving break.

A few notes: Last night as I was on the way back from the bars I was walking through A-lot. I passed by some kid passing out on top of his (or someone's) car. I tried helping him out and told him to at least crash in the back seat, but he wouldn't listen and reassured me he was okay. A few minutes later I turned around and am about 95% sure there was a cop there, most likely arresting him. Oh well, I tried.

As you may have heard by now, there was a fire last night at the salt shed behind the SERCs. It is actually being investigated as a possible arson. Here is a picture someone sent me taken from one of the SERC buildings:

Looks like it was actually pretty big, but it was contained and under control pretty quickly. 

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is this real life?

Seriously? What happened to the water bottles in the back of the school bus? Things were so much simpler in my days...
(In reference to the bit starting just after 1 minute)

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Battling Senioritis

As finals week rapidly approaches here at UNH, seniors are facing one of the greatest challenges of our college careers: the dreaded senioritis. It is an infectious disease that spreads rapidly among roommates, friends, neighbors, and classmates, debilitating one's academic motivation and promoting one's ability to procrastinate or ultimately skip assignments. Bar hopping replaces studying as legitimate weeknight activities and our beds become more comfortable every morning.

I had a brief scare last week as some symptoms began to emerge. Luckily I was able to identify them and have made a quick recovery. I realized that skipping class to get caught up on Dexter and putting papers off until hours before their deadline is not sustainable or healthy.

I feel that senioritis hit me harder and much earlier than four years ago when I was finishing up high school. I began to wonder why, and soon the answer became very clear.

Four years ago the high school senioritis bug did not infect me at all, but here I am in November and it is already showing signs. When I was preparing to graduate high school things were looking up. There was a strong feeling that Obama would take the presidency later that year and it seemed to invigorate the young people of America.

Playing baseball in the spring forced me to keep my grades up, not that it was ever a concern of mine in high school, and I was also looking forward to the new personal freedoms of college. But here we are four years later and for the first time in my life I'm not exactly the happy-go-lucky optimistic character my peers know me to be.

Obama has not quite lived up to the expectations of my generation. At the same time the Republican candidates scare me more than when I stayed up to watch Stephen King's "IT" in elementary school. I couldn't sleep for a week. Let's face it whether you are a liberal or a conservative, the man who many consider the top GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, hasn't even been the true "favorite" yet, and one of his main competitors, Herman Cain, was the CEO a pizza company and has absolutely no idea how to handle foreign policy. Then there's Rick Perry. He is incompetent, can't finish a thought (let alone a sentence) and, well uh something else I can't think of right now. Oops.

The economy is not doing well, the biggest movement in years is taking place on Wall Street and across the country in response to economic inequality and here I am months away from entering the work force. Why would anyone want to graduate right now? It is like an unconscious subliminal message telling us to stay here as long as we can. This year's senioritis is not caused by carefree attitudes, but because there may very well be nothing out there for us once we receive our diplomas.

But attitudes like that are not healthy. The generation I grew up with has been through some good and hard times like any other American generation. We grew up with constant wars in the Middle East, the biggest attack on American soil in history and now the crisis in the jobs market. But we have also been privileged to live in a time and place where we have the ability to make things better. It can be hard and a long process, but it can be done. The future of our country relies on the new generations entering the work force. We are now about to become responsible for things like improving the American economy and promoting human rights around the world. Will it be easy? Not at all. Can it be done? Definitely yes.

Ask anyone from the generations before us if 50 years ago they thought there would be an African-American President. Do not forget that the Civil Rights movement was only 40 to 50 years ago, which is not a very long time. The people of that generation made sacrifices for our generation. Now it is up to us to do the same thing.

Let the prospect of creating a better country, a better world for that matter, be your motivation to finish out the year strong. But remember, we are still in college. We can't do or fix everything already. Our time will come and when we receive our diplomas we have a chance to do great things. Oh, wait, my diploma is going to say "History." Oh crap.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Welcome to College Moment

It was mid-October of my freshmen year and my college career wasn't even two months old, but I thought I had a pretty good idea of how things worked on campus.

The Red Sox were in the middle of a playoff series with Tampa Bay (remember those days, Red Sox making the playoffs?) and it was a Thursday night at UNH. It may have been over three years ago, but I remember all the details so well. The Red Sox, trailing 7-0 in the eighth inning, would come back to win 8-7.

This turn of events called for celebration shots of cheap vodka chased by Diet Coke. I still cringe at the thought of the taste.

I was with my roommate and another friend from high school. "Let's go for a walk," one of us suggested. "Find a party or at least hit up DHOP." Ah, those were the days, thinking that we could just show up at a party or rely on entertainment by drunker kids downtown.

We threw the half-empty handle of vodka into my roommate's backpack and took off to see what we could find. I want to note, most of the vodka had been consumed on previous occasions; we had barely had a drink each before we left. But the smell of vodka lingered on our breath.

After a loop around campus we began to head back for Williamson. We had given up on finding a place to party, but we didn't really care. We took a shortcut, walking down a path near Stillings Dining Hall, one of the paved trails through the woods. We didn't even notice the cop approaching until he was right in front of us.

"You boys mind if I talk to you for a minute?" My heart sank, paranoia struck in. "Does he know I drank tonight? Can he smell my breath? I am going to end up on that busted at UNH SCAN-TV show?"
His flashlight shined brightly into our eyes and then the questioning set in. "Students like to drink beer in the woods here, is that what you're up to?" For what seemed like an eternity, but was probably more like 10 minutes he grilled us. He wanted to look in my friend's bag where the half-empty handle of vodka was hidden.

He accused my other friend's keychain of being a bowl and wanted to know if we had "dope" on us. The questions seemed never-ending, he said our eyes looked glossy and could smell beer on us. Clearly it became apparent that he was grasping for anything to nail us on. I could taste blood from biting the inside of my lip. I wondered if the cop noticed that.

He then said, "Just tell me what you were doing and I'll let you go. I just want to know." This was clearly a trick, but we held our ground. Eventually, he let us go, but warned that he "wouldn't be so easy on us next time."

Luckily for me there never has been a "next time," but I know for a fact dozens of other students may not have walked away from that incident.

The cop relentlessly tried to trick us into admitting things we did and did not do. He said he "knew what we did and lying would only make it worse," even going so far as to say that we wouldn't get in trouble if we came clean. That was his way of saying, "I have no proof of any wrong doings, let's see if I can trick these freshmen into a possibly false admission."

This makes me wonder, what are the cop's true priorities on campus and how many arrests are made with illegal tactics because students don't know their rights? It is not so much as getting away with a crime as knowing your rights defined by the Constitution. He tried to illegally search a bag, trick us into admitting things we didn't do and confuse us with the way he worded his questions.

The last thing you want is your name showing up in a police log when it could have been prevented. Obviously, the easiest way to prevent that is to not drink. But in reality, college students are going to drink, there is no denying that. It is a part of the college culture. If you do frequent parties or drink underage, be safe and smart about it, but most importantly learn your rights.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

ATO Busted... again...

For the second time in a couple months the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at UNH has been busted. Shortly after receiving a 5 year ban they are in hot water again after 11 members were arrested for drug related charges that came from a search following an alleged sexual assault case. The house has also been ruled to unsafe to live in after fire violations, health code violations and life safety violations were found. Talk about a rough stretch for UNH fraternities, huh? This is way beyond double secret probation.

When I first came to UNH I heard about all the Greek life stereotypes, sayings or one liners. These aren't mine and I'm not saying they are true, but I learned them early and I'm sure most of you have heard them too. There was "A-Chi-Hoe," "Kattle Delta", "It always snows at ATO" and of course how Zeta was known for roofies. The articles I read only mentioned marijuana and prescription drugs (and others sent to labs to be tested) being found at ATO, so no word yet if "snow" was found.

I can't say this comes as a surprise at all, but hopefully this is the end of major busts at UNH. We don't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to this sort of stuff and our Greek life system doesn't look to good right now. Believe it or not, but having a strong Greek life is important to big universities. For a lot of the crap we hear about, they do get a lot of fundraising and volunteer work done (not to undermine other student orgs that do those things without all the "extracurricular" activities.)

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Videos For the Weekend

One a.m. quiet hours in the Gables and Woodsides again? Check.

Secured hockey tickets from a secret source (cough UNH player cough)? Check.

Lastly, in the latest Main Street Magazine @PrezHuddleston claimed he has as much influence as me without ever having to write more than two sentences. I like @PrezHuddleston, I like his style and I like his messages. But let's be serious for a second: Coming up with the term "Hallowcoming" or being responsible for restoring apartment quiet hours? I'm not trying to start anything, just stating facts. 

I plan on beating the quiet hours thing to death. It is my greatest accomplishment since I've been at UNH. National History Honors Society? Pah, that's nothing compared to this.

Have a great weekend. It's homecoming part II. See you at the hockey games, bars, tailgate, football game and parties. And if you find yourself at the Gables or Woodsides raging past midnight, you're welcome. I did it all for you.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Well that was actually pretty easy

I didn't even need to make a petition! Effective tonight the Gables and Woodsides quiet hours will be restored to 11PM Sunday-Thursday and 1AM Friday and Saturday. You're welcome UNH. You see what just a little effort can accomplish? Words can't describe how happy am about this. By far the most satisfying thing this blog has ever done. Who's ready to party like it's 2010? I'll gladly except all thank you gifts in alcohol form. Just taking over UNH one step at a time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Music Options Aren't Limited to UNH Orgs

Do you go to UNH? Do you like music? Do you not like Two Door Cinema Club or don't want to pay $45 for Avicii tickets? Well I have a few ideas for you to help with your music monkey.

There is one option that I really don't care about, but have been contacted by many people involved, including one of my syndicates so I'll give it quick shout out. On November 11th Scorps is hosting a few rappers including Timeflies whose album reached #11 on iTunes. Tickets are $20 and available here, but if you register with SumoSkinny and enter the campus code: gp_unh you are entered to win two free tickets. Since it is at Scorp's it is 21+, but they will have $2 drinks all night. To be clear, I'm not endorsing the show (it's called "Swagfest", I'm sorry but that's not my style...) but seeing as it is a UNH music event and I know a lot of student are into this stuff I feel obligated to at least mention it.

However, there is something I will definitely endorse. Last night I went to Bluegrass Tuesday at the Stone Church in Newmarket and I had a blast. No cover charge, $2 PBR's all night an some good old bluegrass music. Or as we call it, "white people dancing music." That's right. I love bluegrass and I am proud of it. The Stone Church is a gem, they frequently have great acts and nightly themes (including electronic nights). Of course, almost all their stuff is 21+, but it's nice because once you're in you don't have to keep getting carded, which makes for shorter non-drinking periods. My roommates, friends and I will definitely be making to more bluegrass Tuesdays throughout the year so hopefully I'll see some of you there. Nothing beats good, fun music (by very talented musicians) and cheap beer. They play all types of traditional bluegrass music so you're bound to hear a few songs you know if you grew up with it like I did.

No, I won't be at Two Door Cinema Club, I won't be at Avicii, I won't be at Swagfest, but I'll be at the Stone Church for bluegrass Tuesday from 9 to midnight. I may be in the minority here, but I don't care. I know what I like and I'll never get sick of stuff like this:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Students should pay more attention UNH's fiscal problems

Over the summer I wrote down a short list of generalizations I had about the UNH student body, including myself. I did this because going into my senior year I wanted to pay more attention to the news and the happenings of the university system, especially due to the budget crisis. I wanted to look at what types of things the student body, including myself were passionate about and what things we shrugged off. We are now about a quarter of the way through the year and I thought it might be appropriate to revisit a few items on that list I wrote down.

I went on record last year saying many times that I believe our student body is far too inactive and passive. The evidence I used for those claims were the lack of votes cast in the Student Body Elections and the fact that students rarely truly stand up for what they believe in here. UNH is one the most expensive publics schools for instate tuition in the country. To be exact, we were number ranked fourth before the most recent tuition hike. But never once has there ever been any type of organized student attempt to challenge the hikes.

When state officials in Concord cut the budget by 45 to 50% we sat back and said “that sucks… where’s the party tonight?” I never did anything about it either, but I wish I did. That is why I met with housing over the apartment quiet hours issue. Sure, it is nowhere near the importance level of tuition or state funding, but at least it is a start and it is something that many students did actually care about.

So, to speak in extreme generalizations, if we don’t care about funding or tuition apart from a short conversation or editorial from time to time, what do the students care about? Well, this past few days provides some perfect examples. We care about SCOPE and their choice of concerts and hockey. Which to me is perfectly fine. We’re in college and want to see our favorite forms of entertainment, especially when other schools are getting famous artists and we want our teams to do well. I’m as big of a UNH hockey fan as there is. Check out SCOPE’s facebook wall after their shows were announced. An outpouring of truly hateful and disrespectful comments for one show and then mass approval for the next, with a few comments in the reverse direction as well.

The line for tickets to the UNH-Maine hockey team was over 200 students at 4:30 am Monday morning and all the student tickets were gone around 7:30, just a half-hour after the box office opened. I think that is fantastic and I would have been there with them if I weren’t battling off a cold. But it drives me to ask is: where is that kind of support or passion for the actual school that is being torn apart by our state representatives in Concord?

UNH is in panic mode right now. The state slashed our budget, meanwhile we’re trying to build a $50 million business school and our professors want higher salaries. Usually, I would side with the professors but at this time they are demanding a 16% salary increase over the next four years and have only agreed to a fraction of the benefit changes offered by the administration. President Huddleston sent out a statement saying that the AAUP and UNH are at in impasse and a mediator will have to be brought in to finish the process. At this time is it really sustainable for the faculty to have such strong demands when the university has faced such huge budget cuts?

Personally, I blame Concord for the whole situation. UNH has a great faculty and they produce some fantastic and groundbreaking research, but due to the budget cuts there is no money available to give. Annual salaries increases are very common, this isn’t a situation unique to UNH, but due to the decisions made in Concord it has become a much more drastic situation.

This is an issue that students should care about because it could cause some major changes with how this school and the entire University System of New Hampshire is operated. The privatization of UNH could very well happen in the near future. While that has pros and cons in both directions, it could drastically influence the curriculum, hiring and application processes.

Stay classy, not UMassy