Popcorn, candy and cheap flicks

Caitlin Marquis

By Caitlin Marquis

It’s no wonder students enjoy weekend movies at the Student Union Theater—cheap tickets, recent films, buttered popcorn and Kit Kat bars.

Students standing in line, munching their popcorn, might never consider the work it takes to make these fun weekend flicks a reality. But there’s more to the movies than flipping the switch on the projector.

Enter senior Priya Amin, film chairperson of the Student Union Board of Governors.

She’s the student behind the movies.

Amin has been a SUBOG member since her freshman year.  She’s been active with SUBOG’s concert committee.  So, she applied to be film chairperson in the spring of 2009. She was interviewed, selected and wasted no time getting started.

Priya Amin

Year’s movies chosen in summer

By mid-June, all the movies for the fall 2009 semester were already chosen.

“Big hits are the safest thing to go with,” she said.  For the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday night feature, she tries to pick “mainstream movies—things that did well in theaters.”

The Ugly Truth was one of many movies shown at the Student Union Theatre this semester.

For the free “Friday Night Flick,” she chooses a film that ties in with the featured movie. For example, the week the main movie was the romantic comedy “The Ugly Truth,” Amin chose to show one of the same genre, “P.S. I Love You,” which also happens to be one of her favorite movies.

Amin said she can’t simply choose movies she likes, however.

“My favorites change a lot,” she said, noting her favorite movie used to be “Pretty Woman,” though right now her favorite genre is action/adventure.

A coordinated effort

She works with campus organizations and coordinates with campus events.

For example, on Oct. 6, SUBOG and the Asian American Cultural Center co-sponsored the showing of “New Year Baby,” a movie about Cambodian genocide.

For Family Weekend, the animated film “Up” was featured.  “The comedy show isn’t always appropriate [for families],” Amin said. “We not only get parents on family weekend, but younger siblings, as well.”

And finally, before students sink into their seats and sip their sodas, they may wonder how SUBOG gets these movies before they hit DVD.

Amin’s job description does not include sneaking a video camera into movie theaters.

“We work with an agency called Swank [Motion Pictures, Inc.],” Amin said.  The company is a non-theatrical movie distributor.

“I give [Swank] a list of movies and when we would like to show them,” Amin said.  “They tell us if they will get them in or not.”

SUBOG buys these movies through Swank—the newest ones are the most expensive.

A fickle audience

Catering to college students is not easy.  Their interests change as rapidly as the weather.  So how does Amin keep students in the audience?

This year, one of her plans included 13 hours worth of Hogwarts, Quidditch and Dumbledore—a 13-hour “Harry Potter” marathon event for Halloween weekend because Amin said “a lot of people associate Harry Potter with Halloween.”

Last year SUBOG hosted a student-made film competition to break up the usual pattern of weekly films.

Want to see what movies are coming to the SU Theatre?

Follow this link to see the full schedule.


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Solving the Dating Puzzle

Jake Goldberg

By Jake Goldberg

Women are like Rubik’s cubes. Men have been trying to solve them for centuries with little success.

Don’t despair UConn guys. There are strategies that can help solve at least that first side of the cube.  Plus, guys at UConn don’t even have to own a car.

That’s because some hidden gems are located on campus that are perfect of low-cost dates. Instead of heading to a movie where neither of you will be able to talk, head to these other spots where the male of the species has a shot at figuring out that puzzle.

Gliding through a date

How About the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum? Hidden behind the Morrone Soccer stadium and across the street from the baseball field rests a terrific date opportunity that many students don’t know exists. For a total of $18 dollars, a couple can skate during general hours on weekends. Although there will be a crowd skating around the ice, it still provides a chance to get to know each other. Be sure to take your time and act as if you have been skating your whole life; you’re not looking to impress her with your blazing speed.

Bring a sweatshirt and a sense of humor, especially in case of a fall.

“It was definitely enjoyable, although a little scary because I can’t skate,” student Marc Gauthier said about his date experience there.

Hockey, anyone?

You also could take in a women’s field hockey game. This is definitely one of the least visible sports at UConn, even though the team is usually among the best. Led by head coach Nancy Stevens, these women have gone 58-9 in the past three seasons alone. While the bleachers won’t be the most comfortable, there also won’t be a huge crowd and you won’t have to worry if she is hearing what you are saying.

Good entertainment, fresh air and great atmosphere make this a great date idea.

Bring a blanket and some food to make it special.

Communing with the creatures

Horse Barn Hill is not just for animals or people looking to exercise. Use nature to your advantage. Taking a walk is vastly underrated. The scenery here will provide a great backdrop for a conversation and will be ideal for holding hands. You can get away from the stresses of campus life and enjoy some simple pleasures. You won’t need to bring much other than a few conversation starters and perhaps a joke or two. An added bonus: if it’s winter go sledding on one of eastern Connecticut’s best slopes.

Snow rushing past, and winding whistling through her hair provides a great opportunity to get close.

Unlike the Rubik’s cube, women have never been fully solved. Hidden around campus are some secret places that can at least help lead you in the right direction.

Want to take your date out to a UConn sporting event?

Follow this link to see when the next home games for each sport are coming up.

Interested in ice skating with your significant other?

Check out the free skate schedule for the Freitas Ice Forum.

Who knows, maybe your date could turn out as well as this!

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The Man Behind the Bar

Ted's Restaurant & Bar

Ted's Restaurant & Bar has been owned by Ryan McDonald since September 2007, when he bought the bar from its previous owners. McDonald is a former UConn student and used to work at Ted's in the kitchen. Photo credit: Mike Northup

Kendra Richardson

By Kendra Richardson

UConn students, locals, parents and alumni alike shuffle into Ted’s Restaurant and Bar looking to enjoy drinks, food, and live music. The bartenders all appear to be college students. Most of them are.

But one of them, Ryan McDonald, a UConn 2006 graduate of 2006, is more than a student trying to earn some extra spending money. He has owned Ted’s since September of 2007.

McDonald, now just 25, graduated with a degree in sociology. As a student, he was a regular customer. He also worked a stint in the kitchen.

After graduating, he got a job as a sous chef in restaurant in his hometown of Litchfield.  He found that working 60 to 80 hours a week and making an annual salary of about $40,000 was not for him.
Back to Storrs

Ryan MacDonald, owner of Ted's.

Then he got a call from the owners of Ted’s. They wanted to sell the campus watering hole. He took out some loans, negotiated terms, and Ted’s was his.

His goal for Ted’s: keep it the same, while spicing it up, too.

“Don’t forget, this is the bar I went to when I was here, if you didn’t know Ted’s, you couldn’t buy it and keep it the same,” he said.

And the same, it is.

It still has the same great food it’s been serving for 20 years. There are $1 pizza slices on Tuesday, huge grinders, amazing chicken fingers. McDonald uses Facebook to promote the bar’s daily drink specials, promotions, and competitions, such as “best halloween costume.”

Ted’s is known for it’s “regulars,” and McDonald has worked to retain that homey feeling. It’s the only bar opened seven days a week, all day, and during the summer.

It is where the UConn community goes. Before they know it, it’s the only place they want to go.

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Are Resident Assistants Out to Get You?

Mike Ryan

By Mike Ryan

Yearning for a job that pays two grand a semester and gives plenty of grief?

Try being a resident assistant – that is, RA as most students know. Many students think resident assistants have cushy jobs. Well here is just one RA experience that could change a mind or two:

The hallway was eerily silent, except for the commotion from one bedroom at the very end. The RA had heard such horror stories during his training, but this was his first night doing full weekend rounds. It was past 2 a.m. Most residents were passed out cold.

The powerful stench of vodka filled his nostrils as he shuffled closer to the end of the hall. He was so exhausted he barely realized he was pounding on the door to room 206. A terrified 18-yr-old boy answered, cracking open the wooden door.

“What’s the problem?”

“You realize your guys’ music is at full volume, right? I can’t even hear myself think. And the hallway reeks of alcohol. Do you mind if I come in and take a look around?”

“That alcohol smell’s not from us, and we’re going to turn down the music and go to bed. And no you can’t come in.”

Slam. So much for a conversation.

This type of rude and rowdy encounter is common for RAs.

And then there’s the questions …

Prity Kharawala is an R.A. who has patrolled the dingy halls of North Campus for two years. Despite being a veteran, she still is surprised by how many timid freshmen ask her ridiculous questions.

“‘Am I going to lose my housing? Are they going to kick me out?’ It feels like the students know nothing about what we’re actually trained to do,” she said.

South Campus resident Tom Hewitt grasps an understanding of the position, having spoken frequently to his RA from freshman year.

“We kind of just want to have a good time,” he said. “Most of my friends see RA’s as hindering their fun, not building our community. [My RA] told me he really just needed the extra cash. It wasn’t about trying to bust us at all.”

Where there’s freshmen, too often there’s alcohol

Andrew Roberts has managed RAs for a few years. He moved to North Campus in 2009, and saw the behavior of new college students.

“The reality exists that people are going to drink. When we call students into our office, we don’t promote or condone the practice. But we also do not yell at any students or try to get them booted from school. It’s just not our style.”

Still want to slam that door in your RA’s face?

Interested in becoming an RA?

Check out this page for some useful information.

For more information on UConn Residential Life, follow this link:

UConn ResLife home page.

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Dumpster diving at the library


A few daring students found a treasure trove of old and rare books inside the dumpsters behind the library. Photo credit: Allison Lex

Allison Lex

By Allison Lex

The dumpster behind Homer Babbidge Library is always filled to the brim. But not with discarded candy wrappers, old coffee cups and used tissues. It is brimming with books.

“It was like a treasure trove,” said one student who crept across campus in the middle of a winter’s night to rescue stacks of books from the giant metal bin two years ago.

UConn’s main library has ushered in the digital age, in part by tossing away countless books, regardless of their condition.

“As far as I understand it, the director of the library is taking low circulation books and seeing if there are digital copies of them elsewhere,” a library student employee said. “And if there are, they throw [the books] away.”

A variety of titles

Among these books are volumes of environmental records, public service announcements and other itemse used less frequently than other research materials. But many of the books that take the trip to the dumpster have recently passed through the library’s conservation lab, meaning they have been widely circulated and are in close-to-new condition.

The conservation lab, part of the university’s preservation department until it was recently disbanded, repairs library books that are worse for wear so they can be returned to Babbidge’s shelves.

The move to digitization has also sent books to the dumpster. As a research library, Babbidge sees an influx of new materials on a yearly basis. Digitizing books removes the need to pay for increased storage as the library’s collection grows.

The process itself is far cheaper than traditional book repairs, which require expensive material and hours of manual labor.

“At only a dime per page, [digitization] is among the lowest of any other ethical efforts in the industry,” said David Lowe, leader of the Digital Program Team.

The digital age

UConn is not alone in the move to digitization. Other major universities, including New York University and Northwestern University, have also expanded their preservation departments to include digitization.

But at UConn, these two departments are separate. And while the leader of the digitization department says the two speak to each other on a daily basis, their efforts still seem counterproductive.

“We fix things so they can be kept longer,” the student employee said. “[The other department is] responsible for digitizing things so they can be thrown away.”

But while the two departments work in conflict with one another, some enterprizing and adventurous students are able to reap the benefits. The dumpster diving students of two years past are now the proud owners of more than a dozen books and other publications, including copies of the “Clean Air Act of 1977,” “American Midland Naturalist” and “Polish Folk Stories.”

Not exactly bestsellers, but treasures nonetheless.

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Greek life with a twist: Alpha Delta Phi

Bridget Shannon

By Bridget Shannon

Someone sporting a sweatshirt with a ΔΧ on the front is fairly easily recognized on the UConn campus as a member of the Delta Chi fraternity.  But the green and white ΑΔΦ that represent Alpha Delta Phi is mostly a mystery.  The fact that people don’t know about this new fraternity hasn’t stopped the gentlemen of “ADP,” as they refer to themselves, from forging a new future in Storrs.

Stephen Pizzo founded the fraternity in Spring 2008, and since then the organization has clawed its way onto the national stage. It is one of the fastest growing chapters of the fraternity in the country.  For the members of Alpha Delta Phi, it’s a part of their UConn identity.

Sure, the community service and aim for academic excellence are resume boosters.  But looking past that, ADP is a group of very close friends who share a connection meant to last well past the four years in Storrs.

Welcome to Alpha House

The guys can usually be found lingering around “2nd House” on Hunting Lodge Road.  They may be hanging out around

Members of the UConn chapter stand outside the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house at UMass. Picture taken by Stephen Pizzo.

a bonfire in the backyard, or conducting a formal Pledge Event.  The members genuinely enjoy each others company- one reason the number of brothers has doubled from Spring 2008 to fall 2009.

“People have slowly started to notice us largely because we’re a literary fraternity, and we put education and public service as our main tenets,” said Mason Banwell.

House chef Willie Tucciarone tossed a piece of chicken at Banwell as Pizzo sat down next to him and agreed.

“We’re genuine and upfront about our ideals and we stick to them,” he said.

A bunch of guys sitting around a table eating the chicken all nodded their heads as Derek Welch, the house carpenter, swung the back door open bearing the wooden coffee table he just finished building for the living room.  Welch doesn’t live here, but he keeps busy building tables, shelves, and chairs for 2nd House.  Derek and Willie ask for nothing in return for building or cooking: that’s just the way it works here.

Alpha Delta Phi was founded in 1832 at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

Living and working together

“These guys are some of the best friends I have ever, and will ever meet in my life,” Banwell said.  “We stand by each other not because we have to, because we want to.

Twelve UConn fraternities are part of the official regulated system, and  about 10 percent of students overall are fraternity members.  These existing organizations didn’t work for the guys of ADP, so they started their own group.

“We were looking for a purposeful organization that valued academics,” Banwell said.  “Plus we wanted a more relaxed and informal feeling than the other fraternities offer.”

A sign advertises Alpha Delta Phi's annual dodgeball tournament. Picture taken by Stephen Pizzo.

For example, the group recently held a dodgeball tournament on campus that raised money to send books to Africa.  Those who happened upon it might think it wasn’t very organized.  Balls were flying everywhere and it looked like a bunch of guys just fooling around.  But as it turns out, ADP made more than $250 at the tournament.

ADP is a group of close friends who have fun together while working for a great cause. What could be better?

“We’ve got something that works for us,” said Banwell.  “Nobody is telling us what to do or how to do it, like some of the other fraternities here work.  Plus I just hurled a bunch of balls at my

friends for an hour while raising money to send books to Africa.  What more could you ask for?”

UConn Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi website

Alpha Delta Phi National Organization website

Books For Africa website, a charity that Alpha Delta Phi supports

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Wings? Pizza? Fast food heaven in Storrs

Steve Magouirk

By Steve Magouirk

Chow. Grub. Snack. Cuisine. Delicacies. There are dozens of different names for food, but the name doesn’t change the fact that students at the University of Connecticut like it, love it, and want more of it.

So when dining hall food becomes too much to bear, where should a Husky turn? There is no simple answer.

With 12 different restaurants within delivery distance of campus, deciding what off-campus cuisine to indulge in is never an easy choice.

Here are some tips:

Fly to these Wings

Almost everyone agrees that if chicken wings are what you fancy there is no better place than Wings Over Storrs. Delivery food aficionado Christopher Capela, said they: “Give a good amount of wings for a reasonable price.”

Wings measures servings by pound, rather than pieces, ensuring the customer doesn’t get ripped off by the tiny piece that supposedly constitutes a “wing.” The meals advertised as “enough for one” range from $7 to $10 depending on whether you want boneless wings, boned wings, or a chicken wrap.

Calzones anyone?

D.P. Dough, the calzone specialists, is another favorite among students. With an unmatched 45 different ways to stuff one of their patented calzones, it is tough not to find something for everyone. While the usual price tag of $6.49 per calzone might seem a little steep, D. P. Dough offers three for $13 Mondays, the equivalent of buying two and getting one free. The only problem with the deal: expect to wait up to an hour for delivery due to high demand.

The pizza dilemma

It may be unanimous where to get certain foods, but with pizza there is no such luck. The two main pizza shacks are Sgt. Pepperoni and Randy’s Wooster St. Pizza. Which one is best? Sample both to find out.  Some students say price is what makes the difference. One of the most popular deals at Sgt. Pepperoni is $20 for two 16-inch pies and an order of breadsticks.

Randy’s offers a deal for an 18-inch pie for $10 as an everyday special and a dine-in only special of “All UCANN Eat” every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The special includes unlimited wings and pizza.

Dining hall food is not going to satisfy a college student forever and the delicacies of the Student Union get old fast. When hunger strikes, it’s good to know the university offers everything from goat curry to pizza.

The only problem? Too much choice.

Does this article have you hungry for some good eats?

CampusFood – Menus and more info from places to get food around UConn.

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