Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa Gnarlz, please come to Durham!

If only UNH's problems could be solved with an extra big Santa bag...

For President Huddleston:
A couple money trees to plant around campus. As a bonus, they produce more money when drunk students pee on them! Take that Concord, you're budget cuts mean nothing now!

For Hockey coach Dick Umile:
Team defense: A team that plays both ways for three full periods! I'm sorry, but they have let up way too many easy goals and it's not all on the goalies. I love the team, but they need something to change going into the second half of the season.

For football coach Sean McDonnell:
Wider field goal posts! (Too soon/harsh?) Okay, okay, how about that new stadium they drew plans for years ago?
For the Whittemore Center:

Earmuffs! What you don't hear, won't hurt you.

For Dean of the Business School Dan Innis:
Acela Train tickets! No more slumming it like the rest of us! (Probably one person gets this...)

For the new business school:
The indoor waterfall from Trump Plaza. You only deserve the best! 

For Hamilton-Smith and Nesmith Hall:
Even Santa doesn't care about you.

Basketball coach Bill Herrion:
Okay, maybe not the Ray Allen, but someone who can hit a free throw now and again would be nice.

For the dining halls:
Salt shakers on every table! Imagine the possibilities!

For ATO brothers:
Also a hammer and nails. Maybe they can borrow some duct tape from Ham-Smith too...

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and have a great New Years,
from The New Hampshirite. Stay classy, not UMassy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Foster's: Does UNH Have a Drinking Problem? Me: No

DURHAM — Beat the clock, kick the keg, knotty trivia, wheel o'deals. If you're a UNH student over 21, your Facebook inbox has probably seen these messages from the four bars on Main Street, advertising daily drinking specials that sound more like games. While the catchy titles and low drink prices do their job in attracting customers, some, such as Durham Police Chief Dave Kurz, are concerned that students are drinking more than ever. "Three years ago, the drink special at every bar was three dollars, for a beer or a well drink," said Ryan Wambolt, owner of The Knot Irish Pub... Wambolt has owned The Knot for the last six years and said that the daily drink specials are a recent trend... Joanne Stella, Legal Services Attorney at UNH, acknowledged a recent trend of hard alcohol consumption, calling it dangerous. In the past, she said the university has seen similar cycles with other risky "fads" such as students at fraternities purposely drinking to the point of throwing up... Kurz has a sense that students' interest in getting "hammered" is becoming the norm over more casual drinking, and the students he speaks with seem to share his opinion. "When I say this to students, I can see nods in agreement as if they have the same understanding," Kurz said in an email. "Routinely we encounter highly intoxicated folks, but the incidents seem higher than past years. More calls for ambulances for 'ETOH,' the code for alcohol poisoning, only serve to affirm my hunch." "I agree," said UNH Police Chief Paul Dean. "We are seeing more intoxicated people and more use of prescription drug abuse with alcohol. They are all good people who are making poor choices." "The difference now is that everyone is getting drunk earlier," Wambolt said. "All the bar specials pretty much end at 11 [p.m.], so people are milling around Main Street because it's too early to go home."

A few days ago, Fosters ran this article (click the link for the entire, uncut piece) and I just wanted to post some of my reactions to it. First of all, no, UNH does not have a drinking problem, it's just a college town in New Hampshire. I don't have any hard facts in front of me, but I would like to offer a few opinions to this piece. First of all, this article only speaks of the bar scene in Durham. Not too long ago, but before our seniors were enrolled, UNH was considered one of the top party schools in the country. Then, with a combined effort of the UNH administration, housing, residential life, and the UNH and Durham PD, UNH parties became less and less of a problem for the authorities. Now, there are still awesome parties any given Thursday through Saturday night at UNH, but it is not what it used to be. Around the same time UNH began cracking down on parties (about 6 years ago) the bar scene started offering more specials and the 21+ crowds began flocking downtown on party nights. The bars are open until 1AM and it's completely legal partying. Scorps and Libby's have dance floors and you don't have to worry about "accidentally" hooking up with a freshman. Sure, the bar crowds are on the rise, but the party scene is on the decline.

Secondly, this is not a problem limited to UNH. I read my dad part of the article and he cut me off saying, "UNH doesn't have a drinking problem. College has a drinking problem." He's right. I may not call it a problem, but this isn't some significant event only occurring at UNH, but at universities across the country. Heck, I believe the University of Wisconsin has something like two bars in it's student center. What do you think kids do at colleges in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest? At least we have the beaches, mountains and lakes nearby and some decent off campus places like downtown Portsmouth and even Boston isn't too far away.

Also, I wouldn't call "hard alcohol" a fad. Personally, I buy hard alcohol because $20 of it lasts much longer than $20 worth of beer. And I like whiskey. On that topic, if fraternities were "purposely drinking until the point of throwing up," I believe that is called hazing because no one in their right mind would actually want to do that. That is not a cool, hip "fad" that is the upperclassmen being pricks to the pledges.

Another thing that strikes me as odd is that the bar owners and police admit to having to call more ambulances for alcohol poisoning than in years past. But with an increased bar population, wouldn't that be expected? The more people you have drinking, the greater chance that someone will need help. I have no idea if these two numbers are proportional or not, but it does at least raise the question. Also, I think people have become more aware of the dangers of alcohol as of late and are more likely to call for help, especially in a public area, as opposed to the privacy of your dorm, house or apartment. Calling an ambulance isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if it really is needed. Many people get away with puking all night and passing out in the bathroom, but many of those occasions would also be suitable for an ambulance ride.

In short, I don't think that UNH has a new drinking problem. For decades binge drinking has been commonplace at colleges, but it is just becoming more visible. Honestly, things have probably settled down in recent years, but the crowds are moving from apartments to the bars downtown where there is more supervision (in the form of police, bouncers and bartenders) to crack down.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Finals Countdown

Well UNH, we have made it to yet another finals week. This is my second to last time I'll be taking finals as an undergrad and from what I can remember it might be the only time I've had a final in all of my classes. Although, two those are papers so I only have two exams.

It has been one hell of a semester. Late night drinks and late night research sessions is probably the best way to describe it for me. Stumbling home from the bars and stumbling home from Dimond Library... although I did most of my research in the comfort of my room. Got to love the online data bases. EBSCO and JStor (among dozens of others): the ultimate tools for lazy students.

I can honestly say this has probably been the fastest semester of my UNH career and I'll admit the blog was lacking at times. I had a hard time staying on top of all things UNH and for once it took a back seat to my work load. That being said, I think it was a decent semester of blog posts and columns and I look forward to rejuvenating the blog after break. I have a few surprises in store and others in the works, one of which is sure to shock campus. Muhahaha.

But for now, good luck on your finals, study hard and have a great break. I'll see you in January. As usual I will try to post at least once a week during break, so don't be a stranger.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shamless Plug: Project UNH Hoops takes a step forward

Remember the other day how I pleaded for more students to support the basketball team? Yeah, I wasn't kidding. I actually ended up being interviewed by "Unranked America East" the best (and only?) fan blog dedicated to America East Basketball. I've been following their blog for a few weeks now and they do a great job. Check out my interview and their site regularly for all the America East Basketball info you need.

And yes, that video has nothing to do with UNH or America East and I absolutely hate Ohio State, but I was a big fan of the "Club Trillion" blog when Titus was still in college. Basically he was a walk on who never played and he wrote a hilarious blog.

BU's New Theme Song

So if you haven't heard by now, a few days ago a BU professor was busted for running a meth lab. Real life Breaking Bad shit right here. UNH hockey takes on BU in this year's Blue Out game at the Whit tonight, so I'm expected a few one liners and signs about meth. You know, because we're classy like that.

UNH is desperate for a win right now. The team has obviously struggled this year and they really need some momentum to build off heading into winter break. BU has had our number this year so a win would be huge. It's a Thursday so start you're thirstiness early and I'll see you at the bars after the game. Hopefully drinking in celebration and not in misery.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reflecting on my column

So my column yesterday seemed to have stirred up some mixed reactions among readers. I was expecting that and I do enjoy when people critique my stuff because that makes me a better writer and thinker than a simple "I agree" or "you're stupid." That being said, I am not happy with how the piece turned out. I'm not one to make excuses, but I had written an entirely different piece and scrapped it about an hour before my deadline and wrote a new one. I meant what I said, but I don't think I said it in the right way. Honestly, it was probably irresponsible of me to rush a column like that, but what's done is done.

Looking back I should have saved it for another time so I could have spent more time working with the idea and specific wordings. When I first wrote it I really liked it, but after submitting it I began having some regrets because I knew what type of criticism was going to come and it wasn't the point I wanted to make.

I want to be clear: I do not hate college. I love my education, I love the education that UNH has provided me with and I am forever thankful for the things I have learned here. I am not taking this experience for granted. For example, next semester is my final one and I could take any four classes I want to graduate, I just need the credit. I'm not doing that though, I'm taking two high level courses within my major and only one other that is considered an easy A. I'm doing that because I am truly interested in my major and I want to learn as much as I can while I'm here. I'll be looking at my grad school options over winter break because I want to learn more.

The idea I had about much of college being "bullshit" was more about the way people, including myself at times, treat it. I was using my past choices as an example. I've made some poor choices, but I've also maintained a 3.4 GPA. Nothing really to brag about, but it could be a lot worse. One commenter said it right: "you get out what you put in." At times I've done that, I pushed myself really hard and I know I've written great papers. One of the proudest moments was my sophomore year when a professor approached me outside of class to tell me how much she enjoyed my paper. I am very proud of my colloquium I am currently writing. But at other times, I've done the minimum to get by, BS my way through low level courses to get the A- or B+. I'm sure most of you have done the same. Not all, but most.

The main point I wanted to make was that college is more than just the facts. It's learning how to apply them, learning how to think. I ended the column with "Use your mind – it can be a beautiful thing if you know how." That was my way of saying "you get out what you put it." Use your mind to go beyond the facts, see the bigger picture, analyze the situation and make connections. To me, that is the most important thing I've learned at UNH. It probably is major specific, but I think most people can say college has taught them to think differently. I'm sorry for the confusion and I hope this made things more clear.

As always, thanks for your comments, I get something out of all of them.

Stay classy, not UMassy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's my degree for again?

In a couple of months, I'll be sitting at my college graduation commencement with my graduating class.

We'll be sitting out on Memorial Field listening to someone talk about how it is our turn to make a difference in this world. They'll say something like "sure the economy isn't great right now, but you can still be successful. Be the change that you want. Make the world a better place."

A few months after that, I'll receive my degree in the mail and it will say "History." But what it should say is "bullsh*t."

One of my favorite musicians is the witty singer-songwriter Todd Snider. In his song "Statistician's Blues" he sings, "Seventy-four percent of what you learn in college is a bunch of bullsh*t you'll never need." I used to think that was the case more about high school, but sitting where I am today, I'd say Mr. Snider hit the nail on the head. And he didn't even have to go to college to know that.

I'll admit I've spent some nights at the bar when I should have been in Dimond Library doing work, but I also know I've spent many nights in the library when I should have just gone to the bar. Is it a lack of motivation? Probably. But at the same time I can get away with it, and it's not because I am particularly smart either.

A few weeks ago one of my professors went on a brief rant about the education system today. He's been around for a while and has experienced it from many different sides.

He quipped that the content of courses and the expectations and quality of work done by students and even professors has worsened over the years. A couple classes later, I handed in a 10-page rough draft of a research paper to him. When we sat down to discuss it, he said that I'm doing really well with it and he could tell I put a lot of time into the research and writing process. He even used my draft as an example to the class. I wrote the entire thing and did most of the research the day before I turned it in. Pot, kettle, black.

If the education system really isn't what it used to be, who is to blame and how can it be improved? I don't really know, but I do know this: here at UNH (and probably at the majority of public schools in the country) it definitely relates with the school's budget. When schools are short on money, big, broad lectures become more common because those classes are cheaper and easier to run. This is exactly what President Huddleston complained about to Concord when the budget cuts were being discussed last year. Experienced professors are pressured into early retirement and lecturers who haven't become professors yet and who are much cheaper replace them. President Huddleston makes about 10 times more a year than the lowest salaried lecturers at UNH.

In May of 1970, three well-known protestors from Chicago appeared at UNH. The most famous among them was Abbie Hoffman.

It was the day after the Kent State shootings, and the three men were originally scheduled to speak on the Vietnam War, but when the school's board of trustees tried to shut it down in fear of possible riots, their speeches became more focused on the freedom of speech and the university system.

One of Hoffman's partners, Jerry Rubin, stole the show.

He shouts "school is just an advanced form of toilet training! That's what school is! And taking an examination is just like taking a shit! That's what it's like! You know you gather it all in and gather it all in and you wait for the right moment when your fucking professor tells ya 'this is the moment' and then the moment comes along, you been conditioned and then you let it pour out, you just flush the toilet. All the shit comes out and boom it's over and you feel so good afterwards! It's got nothing to do with education."

I think he had a pretty valid point.

After the rally, UNH went on strike, the last two weeks of classes became voluntary workshops and finals were cancelled. UNH denies the strike ever happened.

I think it is important to really examine everything you have learned in college and think about what is really important. You can know all the names and dates and formulas you want, but if you can't actually learn from them and apply them to life and critical thinking, then it doesn't matter at all.

The most important thing I've learned at UNH is how to think. I've learned to pay attention to the things around me – the news, politics and life in general. Names, dates and formulas are for the textbooks Google. Use your mind – it can be a beautiful thing if you know how.

Stay classy, not UMassy

Monday, December 5, 2011

NEWD Films "BIRDIES" Premeir

The NEWD Films crew (White & Ghetto, V-Card) have a new 30 minute short that will be showing in the MUB Theater II tomorrow (Tuesday the 6th) night at 8PM. Their clips are always good for a few laughs and this one shouldn't disappoint. I'm expecting it to be entertaining like all their stuff and it's good to support some local and UNH alums. Many scenes take place right here on campus. Who knows, maybe you'll get some BGP (back ground props. Oh high school skateboard lingo...)

Anyway, here is the trailer and check it out if you think you might be interested. They describe the film as a slacker comedy that follows three groups of friends on their quest for love on the final Saturday of spring semester.