Posted on November 28, 2012

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Another day at UMass goes by and I head back to my dorm thinking about what is for dinner tonight at the Frankin Dining Commons. On Tuesday nights Franklin serves crepes, on Wednesday nights they serve tacos. There are the familiar and convenient comforts such as stir fry every day, and omelets on the weekend. Then there are the special occasions such as your favorite topping being served at the ice cream bar, or that really good soup you don't remember the name of.

This night I decided to bring my camera and documented the joy that is experienced when college students meet good food. 

Posted on November 25, 2012

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"Only a couple more days," I found myself thinking as I trekked across campus in clothes that would be considered foolish for the 30-degree weather I was walking to class in, "a couple more days until break."
Of course, I had a few more reasons for looking forward to heading back to New Jersey for Thanksgiving break than to do the laundry I had been putting off for too long.  Thanksgiving held promise of warm meals, friends and family, a break from my end-of-semester workload, and, of course, a glorious shower without flipflops.  As my dad, little sister and I slowly rolled our way through the 5-hour crawl that is I91 in Thanksgiving traffic, I looked forward to what I knew would be a packed weekend.
When we finally pulled into the driveway, my mom and big sister Cara were home and waiting.  The tiny reunion, as expected, led to a host of ridiculous games of Scrabble, one of which I actually almost won for once.  Thanksgiving was very much the same, with the board making a few more appearances throughout the day.

Before I continue with what I did the next day, I feel the need to justify my participation in the awful idea that was Black Friday.  I learned the hard way that this pseudo-holiday is not a game for the weak.  After a pancake breakfast that morning, my two sisters and I decided we would head to the mostly-unpopulated mall in our area; the tiny bundle of shops hit its heyday in the late 90s, and the remaining four or five shops in the huge space seldom receive any notable sort of patronage.  I wanted to grab some winter clothes before heading back to the Valley, so we decided to give the normally deserted mall a shot.  Three hundred-person lines later, we returned home, a little discouraged and a little bit wiser.  A little while afterwards, I met up with Alexa, my friend from high school, to do what we do best: trade hyperbole about Black Friday, gossip about school and watch funny Youtube videos.

I spent the next day doing a shoot a musician I know from high school who's producing his own electronic music now. He was totally on board with the weird photo ideas I had for him; you can check out some of the LED and projector-fueled photos over here.

It finally came time to say goodbye to my big sister and, soon, the rest of my family as I readied myself to return to UMass.  The difference between UMass, where something's always going on, and home, where things are far more subdued and there's far less I need to get done, is a little jarring sometimes, but if this Thanksgiving was a teaser trailer for the month-long winter break coming up in a few weeks, I'll be happy.
Posted on November 22, 2012

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Every year, my family travels down to my grandfather's house in Reading, PA. As my family is larger we can't all fit in the same vehicle (having discarded our family minivan a few years ago). At 6:45 PM on Tuesday night, my parents and I left our home in Conway, MA. My older brother and younger sister left the next morning in a separate car.

My father started driving and we eventually reached New York City where my older sister is studying Physical Therapy at Columbia University. We picked her up and were on our way.

We stopped in New Jersey and I took a turn behind the wheel. It was at this point in time that my older sister (sitting next to me in the car) took some pictures with my camera in Pennsylvania.

We arrived late that night and immediately stumbled into bed.

Posted on November 15, 2012

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One of the first things I noticed upon arrival at UMass was how bright the stars are compared to back home.  I think the friends I made freshman year were in the same boat; every night after leaving the dining commons, we would all collectively look up at the sky for just a second before climbing back up the hill. 

As the sun starts to set earlier and earlier with the coming winter months, I've found myself leaving my later classes after dark with increasing frequency.  The second I step out of the door of the academic building, I still find myself subconsciously stealing a look at the sky.

I took these pictures on an after-dark trek around campus inspired by the stars I saw after leaving Goessmann Lab around 6 today.  As the crowd dies down and the moon comes out, campus takes on a calm, pleasantly mysterious atmosphere as the buildings we rush in and out of in the daytime become a landscape of lights puncturing the darkness.

Posted on November 10, 2012

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  • Face Off
  • Sam the Minuteman
  • young UMass Hockey fans
  • Four Student Hockey Fans
  • UMass Student Hockey Fans
  • UMass Student Hockey Fans
  • Conor Sheary

Yesterday I made my way across campus to the Mullins Center. The UMass Ice Hockey team was taking on Providence College. The enthusiasm of the fans and action on the ice made for a great evening. The game was great and the minutemen ended up winning 4-0!

Before I came to UMass I never really watched hockey, but now I find myself at almost all of the UMass Men's Ice Hockey home games. I love the crowd and the atmosphere. I love the cheers and the feeling of camaraderie within the hockey community.

As I watch the season ticket holders of the game get honored I know exactly why they have been coming for over twenty years.

Posted on November 07, 2012

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When I walked into the Cape Cod Lounge at 7 on election night, there were already 30 or 40 people gathered to watch the results unfold.

As the night went on, the crowd grew around the giant projection of election coverage on a screen in front of the room.  The room was full of two kinds of students: those who stopped in to see what was going on, and those who were hunched over their laptops, tracking electoral votes as they came in.

As the crowd thinned out around 10, the atmosphere in the room took a definite turn toward anxious. Many of the students left were now sitting impatiently or milling about, in anticipatory wait for the next swing state's polls to be closed.

Too anxious to stand around much longer, two friends and I headed to Berkshire DC around 11, where every face was turned toward the TVs scattered around the building.  We sat right under one of them, just in time to hear that President Obama won reelection.

Posted on November 06, 2012

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  • students getting on the shuttle
  • polling sign
  • students at the polling place
  • students getting information
  • Southwest Students
  • students in line

The UMass Student Government Association & UMass Student Activities and Involvement worked together to provide a shuttle for students to get to the polls. I hopped on the first shuttle of the day at eleven o' clock and followed my fellow students on their democratic journey. The shuttle was available from 11 AM-7 PM.

I had already voted via absentee ballot but that didn't stop the excited buzz I felt from the first presidential election in which I was eligible to vote. The shuttle was packed full with students who found that a little extra time between classes was a good time to choose who they wanted to lead the executive branch of the government for the next four years.

The fact that it was election day put a whole new spin on the day and it seemed that it was all I could see all around me. I can't wait to watch the aftermath of this event on the national level tonight. I know that I won't be alone.

Posted on November 02, 2012

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Last Saturday night, I found myself in the fourth row of an Isenberg lecture hall, where a group of costumed performers harmonized their way through pop hits from Adele to Elvis.  I had heard of The Vocal Suspects' annual Holla-ween show from Jarrod, my freshman year neighbor who I possibly know best from the renditions of Rocket Man I routinely heard through the walls of Van Meter.

It had been awhile since I had heard him sing; as soon as the show started, I realized how easily I had forgotten the all the talent in this group. According to the Vocal Suspects' website, auditions normally draw 100 or more Suspect hopefuls and, with only fourteen current members, this selectivity certainly shows. A couple highlights include Mike Mosca's dedicated rendition of Elvis's All Shook Up and music director Emily Henriksen's powerful performance of David Guetta's Titanium.

The performance ended as any good event should: with candy and glow sticks. The free show was definitely worth attending, and added a festive twist to my Saturday night.

Posted on October 31, 2012

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  • The marching band heads past Herter towards Southwest

Last Saturday, I went to my first-ever big Homecoming event.  Of course, "went to" is a strong word.  "Stumbled upon" is possibly more approprate.

On the morning of the 27th, I left my dorm around 11 to go check out the Fall Festival happening on the library concourse. I stayed for a little while, taking pictures of the student businesses, games and rock wall that were set up on the lawn, before heading towards Hampshire DC for breakfast.

That was when I heard it: the undeniable blast of brash and clash of cymbols from behind my back.  I turned around to see the UMass Marching Band, led by four costumed minutemen, parading past the Old Chapel in my direction.  I followed them to the front of Berkshire DC, where they conducted a mid-noon wake-up call for the residents of Southwest.  Afterward, the band joined with the rest of the parade, mostly cars driven by various student activity representitives, and headed back to the library.

One of the most interesting things about going was seeing all the alumni, standing on the sidelines and clutching copies of The Daily Collegian.  I couldn't help but wonder what their UMass experiences had been like; where did they live? Which buildings did they have class in? What was UMass like back then?  As they walked back toward the library with their families, I wondered what UMass would look like in 10 or 20 years, when I come back for Homecoming.

Posted on October 25, 2012

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  • student laying in the grass
  • girl walking with a backpack
  • trudging up the hill
  • orchard hill view
  • view of the library
  • orchard hill view
  • girl walking

My freshman year I lived in Webster Hall which sits atop Orchard Hill. Famous for its pleasant view and the arduous hike to reach it, Orchard Hill still feels like home to me. Any warm day you will see students out on the hill: reading, playing frisbee, playing basketball, and enjoying the sunshine. In the winter, there are still many students enjoying the hill. How? Sledding, obviously! (and the occasional snowman). I look forward to the winter when I can trek back up the hill and enjoy some sledding, but for now I will simply have to settle for the wonderful view, colorful foliage, and cushy green grass. What a drag!