Women’s basketball falls to UAlbany 61-52

Senior forward Kayla Gibbs recorded her 9th career double-double against the University at Albany. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics). 

Daniel McDermott
Connector Contributor 

It was a tale of two halves for the UMass Lowell women’s basketball team who lost their ninth straight home game at the Tsongas Center 61-52 despite leading the University at Albany Great Danes 32-23 at half. Even with senior forward Kayla Gibbs’ 9th career double-double, the River Hawks fell short of a victory.

UAlbany, the 2017 America East tournament champions, came into the game with a 4-game win streak, a 4-1 record in the conference and a 15-3 overall record, while UMass Lowell was winless in the conference and were 3-14 overall.

UMass Lowell began the game with high energy and a physicality on defense, especially in the paint, resulting in a 6-0 run to start the game. The River Hawks’ defense did a spectacular job of crowding the paint, thanks to the senior duo of junior guard Brianna Rudolph and Gibbs, forcing the Great Danes to either force a lay up or shoot from outside the three-point line. UAlbany missed their first 12 shots. UMass Lowell head coach Jenerrie Harris gave full credit to the players for the way they started on defense.

On offense for UMass Lowell, pass and move was the name of the game. Quick passing and movement off the ball opened passing lanes for Gibbs and Rudolph inside the paint. UAlbany’s man-to-man defense was vulnerable a majority of the first half being drawn out by the River Hawk’s perimeter passing. Freshmen guard Paula Lopez played with high intensity and composure, making multiple key passes in the first half.

UMass Lowell led the entire first half of the game and UAlbany didn’t have many answers until the second half. UMass Lowell’s pace fell off, and in the third quarter UAlbany took their chances and capitalized on the high amount of turnovers UMass Lowell was giving up. The River Hawks had 10 turnovers in the third quarter. UAlbany outscored UMass Lowell 16-4 and engineered a huge momentum change in the game.

Harris was fully aware of how much the third quarter meant to the outcome and UAlbany’s success. “Turnovers and [UMass Lowell’s] live-ball turnovers [resulted] in lay-ups,” said Harris. “They were just able to execute.”

Eventually, UAlbany built off the momentum swing and UMass Lowell could not respond. UAlbany took their first lead in the last seconds of the third quarter and never looked back. The Great Danes went on a 9-0 run in the final two and a half minutes to close out the game and earn the victory.

“It was nice to see our crew, our young crew, get out there and fight that hard for that amount of time,” Harris said. “[Gibbs] was locked in, she was focused…and she led with her play and that’s what we need from her each game.”

Harris also said the number of turnovers in the third quarter was the key indicator that turned the game in favor of UAlbany. The River Hawk team showed they can compete with the top teams in the conference despite not putting up a conference win this season. Lopez’s confident play, and Gibbs’ presence in the paint means they’re still a team with an offensive threat just waiting to click.

“They’re continuing to learn, and only five games into conference, our goal is to just want to get better every single practice and every single game,” said Harris.

The River Hawks return to action on Sunday, Jan. 21 when they host Binghamton University at 12 p.m.

‘Pokemon: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon:’ Not quite super

“Pokemon: Ultra Sun and Moon” are the last entries in the series planned to release on Nintendo 3ds. (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

Vernon Gibbs
Connector Staff

Nintendo and Game Freak have a bad habit of creating expansion packs for their Pokémon games and selling them as separate games a couple years later for some easy money. “Pokémon: Ultra Sun” and “Pokémon: Ultra Moon” (also known as USUM) were first released worldwide on Nov. 17, 2017 to continue off the success of last year’s “Sun and Moon.” Placed into the fantastic, yet familiar world of Pokémon, you play as a young trainer setting off on his journey through the Alola region.

Whether the player is a newcomer or has been around since generation one, “USUM’s” gameplay is easy enough to learn. The player journeys about the region of Alola, picking up items and addressing dangers as they come. When a battle breaks out, you command your Pokémon partners as they fight against their enemy in a turn-based RPG. Even with the nuances in each Pokémon’s abilities, it doesn’t take long to learn the basics and enjoy Pokémon’s simple core design.

This being a Nintendo game, it comes to nobody’s surprise to see “USUM” have stunning art design. The cheerful and vibrant environments of Alola are an invitation to the player, coaxing them to search all over the area for the inevitable secrets it holds. Role playing games have been known for their memorable battle music, and Pokémon keeps up with tradition in this instalment. “USUM’s” visuals and soundtrack alike work together to paint a picture for the player, one that they will not soon forget.

Pokémon has never had a reputation for its storytelling, but “USUM” does succeed in telling a stronger story than the original “Sun and Moon.” Taking place in an alternate timeline from the original, “USUM” takes lengths in introducing a more cohesive conflict for the player without making drastic changes to the gameplay. Characters are developed further, and the main antagonist is given a more understandable motive than “gone crazy at some point.”

In addition, “USUM” does provide additional content for fans of the series. Local Pokémon are more diverse, and certain items are easier to stock up on (beast balls being a notable example). The postgame is much bigger than before, too. Where the original games had a meager “search and destroy” side mission to complete, “USUM” replaces that with a much longer and more complete campaign in an entirely new area. Through the use of a new (if slightly frustrating) minigame, players have access to encounters with some of the rarest Pokémon in the series, providing a host of new challenges for casual and hardcore fans alike.

One cannot forget that this is by-and-large an expansion pack, though. Much of what makes “USUM” a good game can be attributed to its predecessor “Sun and Moon,” with many of that game’s flaws carrying over. The main story of “USUM” is agonizingly slow, with very little to engage the player outside of heading to the next area. This was frustrating enough on the first run through, and does not get any better for people who have already played “Sun and Moon.” The postgame content is certainly fun, but such a perk cannot make up for how little of the base game has been changed for this version. If one has no interest in playing “USUM” beyond its story, then they are better off waiting for the eventual gen-four remakes.

“USUM” is also a disappointment when looked at in comparison to other sequels in the Pokémon series. The last sequel game in the series was “Pokémon Black 2 and White 2,” a fifth generation game released over five years ago. Unlike “USUM,” “BW2” acted as a direct sequel to the original “Black and White,” complete with a new story and heavier additions to gameplay. Such a change made the fifth generation well-known for its stronger story elements which is enough to make up for its gameplay. It comes as a surprise then that Game Freak devolved from such a leap in quality for sequels, instead replacing it with the older format of the same game, but more post-game content. “USUM” is a step backwards for the series, a mistake that one can only hope will not continue.

Pokémon has always been a bestseller, and this does not change for “USUM.” Outfitted with Nintendo’s trademark polish, this game holds hours of casual and serious gameplay alike. The main story can hold one’s attention for 30 to 40 hours, while completing postgame content can take up to five to 10 hours. If one skipped out on “Sun and Moon” previously, “Pokémon: Ultra Sun” and “Pokemon: Ultra Moon” are worth picking up, but fans of those games should let this release pass them by.

Final score: B-

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri:’ The Dark Comedy Everyone Should See

The film is nominated for 11 awards at Britain’s Independent Film Awards this week. (Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Eric Smith
Connector Staff

Writer and director Martin McDonagh had already grasped the art of dark comedy with his debut film “In Bruges.” In his third and most brilliant film, Frances McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a mother who lost her teenage daughter in a vicious murder.

After seven months have passed and the police still have not found the culprit, she shakes the town to its core by putting up three billboards that calls out Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and the rest of the police department. Consequently, she builds a relationship with the advertising agency who helped get her billboards up. In the meantime, the officers in the police station across the street bicker and complain about the distraught mother.
The picture is a breathtaking representation of grief and what comes with it. When one loses a loved one, one tends to counter in rage and even attempt to put guilt on others. Mildred, accusing the law enforcement for not taking enough action, does not take any crap. Instead, she insults priests, kicks teenage hooligans in their groins and drills holes into dentists’ fingers. She is acrimonious and angry, but for good reason. Even after her billboards go up, the town goes into a pandemonium of anger, and the police continue to hoot about it, apart from Willoughby, who is genuinely apologetic that he has not found her daughter’s killer.

McDonagh had McDormand in his mind when he wrote the role of Mildred, and this film was clearly meant for her to steal the show. Her performance is stunningly dark and at times even outright hilarious, making this her best performance since Marge Gunderson in the darkly comedic Coen brothers’ classic “Fargo.” “Three Billboards” has some of the best characters in film this year. In addition to McDormand, the racist, loud-mouthed Jason Dixon, an officer who, to say the least, does not appreciate Mildred’s complaints, is played by Sam Rockwell, who knocks it out of the park. He makes the audience hate him from his very first scene. Though, even Jason has dark humor written all over him, and he can be delightfully funny while still being an atrocious excuse of a human being.

“Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is surprisingly more hilarious than expected, while being incredibly dark and harrowing. It is not too distressing though, and the wit seems to take over the film rather than the dismal theme of loss and remorse. Surprisingly, one of the most gratifying parts of the film is seeing actor Peter Dinklage as a lonesome man, who is head-over-heels for Mildred and her headstrong nature. He does not have all that much screen time, but for the short amount of time he has, he nails it.

This McDonagh masterwork has everything a dark comedy should have. All the performances are stellar, there are plenty of character arcs, the film digs deep into human nature, has a very fitting musical score, it is hysterical, it has one of the best long tracking shots in years, and is a near perfect film.

If this film does not receive any Oscar nominations, there may be three billboards outside of Hollywood about it.

Grade: A+

‘The Punisher’ is brutally well done and criminally underrated

The Punisher has been adapted into three feature films since the character’s debut in 1974. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Andrew Sciascia
Connector Editor

Marvel’s brooding, skull-ornamented vigilante is back for his fourth chance at a proper screen adaptation in Marvel’s Netflix exclusive series “The Punisher.” And this 13 episode master class is just about as misunderstood as the titular antihero.

The series follows the story of Frank Castle. A retired U.S. military veteran, Frank witnesses the deaths of his family in a mob hit gone awry. Unable to reconcile the deaths and find justice through legal means, Frank takes to the underbelly of New York City playing judge, jury and executioner to those who wronged him in ultra-violent comic book fashion.

The thing is, this is not the story. In fact, if audiences are expecting a gore-filled, high-octane revenge trip they may just find themselves disappointed. From reboot to reboot, and throughout “Daredevil” season two, this story has been told on screen. This is not it.

In actuality, “The Punisher” is not even about “the punisher” in the classic sense. This is the story of Frank, a broken man plagued by demons from his past that he cannot seem to overcome. It is the story of what happens after the smoke clears and the Punisher has gotten his revenge, or so he thinks.

Does the Punisher do what he does best? Of course. When the time comes, Frank dawns the white skull and guns down anyone in his way. It is dark, bloody and satisfying. But it only occurs for a handful of times. It is just not that story.

The main plot is straightforward enough. As it turns out, Frank did not achieve his revenge. In fact, his first punishing spree was just the beginning. As knots become untied, Frank uncovers a government conspiracy surrounding the deaths of his family, and he must come out of hiding to uncover the dark secrets of his past military service and find out who must truly be made to answer for the deaths of his wife and children.

On the surface, “The Punisher” is a slow-burn thriller with twists and turns that will leave the viewer on the edge of their seat, and keep them guessing to the end. A handful of characters crossover from other Marvel properties along the way, but despite being a part of Marvel’s Netflix Universe, the series is not inaccessible to new viewers.
This new take on the classic punisher story is as fresh as it gets, and it is brought to life by the writers, directors and cast alike.

For starters, the show is an audiovisual masterpiece. From the simple black-and-white introduction sequence with its blues-inspired theme to how the violence is filmed in such a way that it echoes the pages of a comic book, everything is fitting.
Every scene was filmed beautifully. The show makes great use of varied, and unorthodox, angles and cuts. The combat is never jarring or jumpy, and even the simple brooding glances and moments of dialogue are filmed in such a way that intensity and tension are preserved throughout every last moment. This show is not for the anxious or faint of heart.

The acting cannot go unmentioned either. Performances from main characters and the supporting cast alike were positively stellar. Everyone plays their part as if they were the main character of their own story because the writing supports the fact that they are. Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Amber Rose Revah’s respective performances as ex-NSA whistleblower Micro and Homeland Security agent Dinah Madani stand out in particular for the way that their characters perfectly flank Frank’s character arc.

The hands down best performance was, however, Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank. Bernthal brought weight to every word of the misunderstood antihero, giving him a multi-dimensional personality that is rarely attributed to the character; even in his comic book appearances.

The writing is not to be overlooked. Every sequence and conversation is written in such a way that it preserves the themes and character of the source material whilst being nuanced enough to allow for character growth and development never before seen with this specific Marvel property. Every subplot works to advance the main plot and none of them feel clunky or out of place.

The dialogue strengthens each and every relationship and moment. Each character is given a distinct personality and motive, and the classic Marvel comedy is not forgotten. However, the comedic moments and one-liners are layered in much more carefully than in any other Marvel property. Never do these moments cut the tension or break up a conversation. They merely add to the flow of conversation, and each character has their own brand of comedy.

The writing truly shines, however, in the way it brilliantly and realistically addresses modern social and political issues. “The Punisher” is not just a mindlessly violent comic book show, but a moderately true-to-life reflection on the American social and political climate. With the precision of a surgeon with a scalpel, the creative team managed to address issues of homegrown terror, the morality of vigilantism, the second amendment, PTSD and other forgotten veteran’s issues with great care. Nuanced dialogues on the topics nailed both sides of every issue without ever feeling heavy-handed or one-sided.

The majority of reviews have been negative in this respect, several claiming that “The Punisher” did not know what it wanted to say about firearm control or veteran’s issues in the U.S. But these reviews misunderstand the point. The beauty of “The Punisher” is its ability to thoughtfully and honestly address such controversial topics without attempting to push an agenda or specific solution. The story addresses these issues in a thought provoking way and attempts to open an honest dialogue. It is food for thought as much as it is a “superhero” story.

Some might find an ultra-violent vigilante story distasteful in the modern political climate, but disregard the politically motivated reviews. “The Punisher” is not only the best Netflix original Marvel property, it may well be the most entertaining addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past few years.

Final: A+

Gambling After Dark expansion pulls in even more students

Gambling After Dark teaches students sexual education while having fun with casino games. (Courtesy of Gambling After Dark)

Shane Foley
Connector Editor

After several alterations to the usual program, Gambling After Dark 2017 proves to be another huge success.

According to Justin Killgoar, senior committee member who helped oversee the program, just over 300 people came to Gambling After Dark this year. The program also partnered with the It’s On Us initiative, and 147 new people signed up to pledge their dedication to preventing sexual violence.

As to how the program garnered as much attendance, Killgoar said much of it had to do with the added tables outside the venue.

“I feel like expanding our operation into the lounge really helped,” said Killgoar. “We had our usual occupancy, but it felt less crowded, which I think people enjoyed.”

The line to get into the venue also extended outside the main room. The line was hardly ever clogged, however, and attendees had an easy time walking through.

Not only did the event look different, but more information was available as well. In particular, information on bystander prevention captured the eye of many attendees. One such attendee, Alex Drollette, said he would have never known the information otherwise.

“While I knew a good majority of that information already, a lot of the extra ones, like bystander prevention, I would not have known a lot of things about that,” said Drollette.

Another interesting nuance brought to the table this year was the Sex Talk in the Dark, which took place directly after the event. The event involved people anonymously asking questions so that they could be answered without identifying the person asking. That event saw 40 people come to it.

As senior committee member, Killgoar was pleased with the help of his staff, which included 40 volunteers. “We did a much better job at preparing people. The person coordinating volunteers did a great job,” said Killgoar. “The things I needed to address were quickly dealt with, and the committee did a great job setting things up so that no issues would arise.”

Another new face that was nice to see was WUML, who played music throughout the night. Their playlist mostly comprised of ‘50s swing songs from the likes of Frank Sintara and Dean Martin, with modern top 40 songs sprinkled in.

Killgoar thought that the inclusion of WUML helped increase attendance greatly. “Using WUML instead of DJ brings us back to the community,” said Killgoar.

In addition to the new features were the usual casino games and tables. The Roulette tables and the horse races that are typically popular were again heavily praised that evening.

Many prizes were also distributed throughout the night. Those prizes ranged from sex related objects to gift cards, headphones and other accessories.

By all accounts, it seems that Gambling After Dark met their goals for the year.

Gender inclusivity on campus

In April of 2016, UMass Lowell designated 40 single-person bathrooms around campus as gender-neutral restrooms. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell)

Veronica Cashman
Connector Staff

Over the past years, UMass Lowell has significantly increased its efforts to demonstrate support and appreciation for underrepresented members of the student body, such as those who identify as LGBTQ. However, some students along with faculty argue that there is much more that can be done to create a safer and more inclusive environment for members of its community.

The university has always done its best to provide a diverse and comprehensive environment for its students. The recent installation of gender-neutral bathrooms and implementation of gender inclusive housing on campus are two ways in which the university has helped shed light on members of the LGBTQ community.

“The university is known for being inclusive and diverse to all students, where they can feel comfortable in their own skin,” said fine arts major Teresa Santana. “In terms of bathrooms and housing, this made it more welcoming to students who commute and live on campus.”

Any student living on campus has the option to select gender inclusive housing through the Office of Residence Life. “This helps any student who feels comfortable living with a certain gender or sex possible and can make where they live their home away from home,” Santana said.

Although these changes have raised awareness and sensitivity toward the LGBTQ community, some believe there is still more to be done.

“As a student who has been advocating for a physical space for LGBTQ students, the university does not provide enough safe spaces for them on campus,” said David Aguiar, a psychology major and diversity peer educator on campus. “There is a significant difference between saying that a university is a safe space for people of LGBTQ to study and actually creating a physical space where students can actually feel included and safe.”

The university has established several resource organizations that aim to promote ally-ship, which can be through creating supportive relationships between the straight and LBTQ communities. The Pride Alliance and the Office of Multicultural Affairs carry out this goal by providing an accepting environment for all. However, there is always room for improvement.

“In terms of raising awareness of gender equity, part of the challenge is creating more resources, really having safe spaces and places where people feel safe about coming together,” said Meg Bond, the director of the Center for Women and Work. “Whether its LGBTQ individuals or allies, creating those types of safe spaces is really important and essential.”

Students and faculty said the enforcement of these resources has undoubtedly assisted those who identify as LGBTQ. However, the issue lies within the lack of information through the academic curriculum regarding the LGBTQ community.

“People are not very well educated about gender orientation and there is a lot for people to learn through helping people understand the issues of sexuality and gender identity,” Bond said. “The whole notion of allies really involves an effort from the whole community to better understand. It is going to be particularly supportive if the rest of the community is informed and that’s why education on the topic should be expanded much more broadly.”

Early subjection to the topics of ally-ship and gender identity at the university could prove beneficial towards their mission to advocate for inclusivity.

“Since incoming freshmen already have to complete drug and alcohol training, why not throw in a 15 minute gender/cultural sensitivity training?” junior psychology student Emma Botelho says. “It would mandate some kind of exposure to the material without making it overwhelming.”

Students and faculty appear hopeful that the university will continue to endeavor down the path to improve inclusiveness and ally-ship amongst the UMass Lowell community.

Campus Living Series: Sheehy offers various living learning communities

Sheehy Hall houses the Living Allegro, Creative Artists and MediaMakers Living Learning Communities. (Courtesy of YouVisit)

Andre Ragel
Connector Staff

Located in the heart of South Campus, Sheehy Hall offers a friendly atmosphere within a relaxed environment close to the Merrimack River.

Opened in 1989, this residence hall is named after former Lowell City Manager and Massachusetts State Representative Paul J. Sheehy. Sheehy was a 1958 alumnus of Lowell State College who played a key role in the formation of the University of Lowell in 1975. Today, around 270 co-ed students call Sheehy Hall their second home, including those who live in the Living Allegro, Creative Artists and MediaMakers Living Learning Communities (LLC).

Rooms in Sheehy Hall come in configurations of four, six and eight-person suites. Every room comes with a standard set of furniture that includes a bed, mattress, wardrobe, dresser and a rolling chair. The spacious common area also includes a sink, two bathrooms and showers. However, unlike University or Riverview Suites, there is no air-conditioning available at Sheehy. There is a ping-pong table, pool table and TV in The Link, a large common area shared with Concordia Hall located in the lobby.

The price of living at Sheehy is about average at $9,833 per year, similar to what a student would pay living at a suite in Concordia Hall but not as expensive as living in University Suites.

Residents of Sheehy Hall park in several lots around South such as the South Campus Garage and the Broadway/Riverview lot. In addition, Sheehy is served by the Red, Blue and Yellow campus shuttles that can be picked up infront of O’Leary Library, a short stroll away.

In addition, its proximity to the McGauvran Student Union, South Campus Dining Commons and O’Leary Library make Sheehy Hall an ideal residence hall for students like Johanna Danas who is happy about the short stroll she has to all her classes compared to the walk that residents of Riverview Suites have to do every day.

During her time at Lowell High School, Danas was heavily involved in musical groups such as show choir, Sound Impressions and Soundsations. Although she ended up picking English for a major, she still enjoys channeling her inner musical self which is fostered by living at Sheehy.

“It’s nice being in a musical environment even though I’m not a music major. I really like all the people; a lot come over from Concordia to Sheehy,” said Danas.

There are not many complaints students had about Sheehy, a good sign of reliability that many students look for when choosing a residence hall.

“We didn’t really have an AC. The first month was really hot. I don’t get hot really easily,” said Danas.

“I wish the size of the room was slightly bigger. I feel constantly cramped even with minimal stuff. There’s a lot of storage available but I feel like I need more,” said freshman music studies major Rachel Sullivan.

Sullivan had an issue during the beginning of the year with her rooming assignment, and she credits the friendly staff of Sheehy Hall in welcoming her and making her move easy.

“The RAs and staff of Sheehy are really nice and supportive of me moving out and transferring into a new suite,” said Sullivan

For students looking for a laidback suite-style living accommodation with sweeping views of the Merrimack River, then Sheehy Hall is something to strongly consider.

“It’s a good price, great location. It’s my favorite. I will absolutely live here next year,” said Danas.

Repurposing of Cumnock Hall greeted with mixed response

Cumnock Hall was opened in 1954 as part of the Lowell Technological Institute. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Andre Ragel
Connector Editor

As students walked around North Campus on a busy morning, they hurried down the various paths leading to different academic buildings along University Avenue. It was a sunny day, and doors swung back and forth except for the six wooden doors in front of Cumnock Hall that sat untouched throughout the morning. However, starting in January, these doors will temporarily be shut for another reason as the university repurposes this 63-year-old building into the “North Campus Living Room” in time for next fall.

Cumnock Hall’s renovation marks the next step in the university’s 10-year commitment of restoring and updating some of its oldest infrastructures and bringing them up to par with today’s standards.

When Cumnock opens next fall, students will find increased seating that will create new spaces to hang out and grab a bite between classes, especially for the large commuter base.

Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Larry Siegel is optimistic that students will utilize and embrace this new space that is modeled after McGauvran Student Center at South Campus.

“I would walk around campus in see students sitting on steps [or] eating lunches in cars. They had no place to go since [North Campus] is not as green as we have made South,” said Siegel.

Between 2015 and 2016, the university brought outside groups and consultants to determine a solution to this problem. The results of this study concluded that available non-academic space at North Campus is very undersized in relation to its population. In addition, Cumnock Hall was determined to be the least efficiently used space on campus.

According to the final report, during the year 2015, Cumnock was mostly used by groups who had under 50 participants for a few hours per day, while events with over 200 participants only took place a few times during the semester. In 2016, the space was used even less frequently, with days passing in which Cumnock would sit completely empty.

Among the student groups affected by the closing and renovation of Cumnock Hall is the Latin American Student Association (LASA). Every April, LASA’s end of the year celebration at Cumnock, called “Rumba Latina,” draws over 250 students for a night of cultural performances, food and dancing. For next year’s event, LASA President Marcos Aguilar and his executive board are forced to find another centrally-located venue that could handle the large attendance.

“We’re working with LASA and other student organizations who are affected by this renovation to find the best option with little to no cost,” said Siegel referring to alternative spaces for large student events such as the Recreation Center basketball courts, Moloney Hall with a capacity of 300 students and the Inn & Conference Center Junior Ballroom, which is larger than Cumnock Hall with a capacity of 400-500 students.

“I’m pretty bummed. I’m worried about students not going next year because any other location will be less accessible to students compared to Cumnock which is centered and easier,” said Valeria Rendon, LASA’s public relations officer.

However, beyond this inconvenience, the executive board’s biggest grievance is that they feel their voice was not heard when the study was conducted.

“I do understand why they have to close Cumnock, but I heard about it when they were announcing it to the public. There was no input from students,” said LASA’s social chair Dominic Flores.

According to Flores, “It doesn’t feel like it’s for the students more than for making profit for the university.”

Many students on North seem to be excited about the idea of Cumnock being repurposed into a student lounge, especially commuter students like freshman Jonathan Meister. He is most excited about not having to walk to East Campus or to Southwick Dining Hall just to get a bite between classes.

“Southwick is small and doesn’t have a good variety of food. And I never go to the library because it’s always packed and there’s nowhere to sit,” said Meister, who is also a Student Government Association senator for the Francis College of Engineering.

According to Siegel, Cumnock Hall is not meant to be a full-service dining hall when it reopens in September, but is rather a student lounge that would sell breakfast pastries, bagels and coffee in the morning and grab-and-go meals during lunch. Students who have purchased a meal plan will be able to use meal swipes during lunch. It is Siegel’s hope that this would help students to maximize the value of their meal plans and allow them to save their River Hawk dollars for other purchases.

Many students will greatly benefit from this project once it is completed. The doors to Cumnock, which has been serving students for 63 years now, will swing open again in the fall.

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