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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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Free Tuition: A Good Reason to “Chill Out”

Goodbye shuttle bus.
Goodbye shuttle bus.

UMass students got a chance to “Chill Out” last Wednesday and Thursday, with a number of activities and contests that sought to give students a chance to unwind after the start of the Spring Semester.

The two-day event, run by the Office of Student Affairs Events Committee, included everything from ice-skating to face painting, along with numerous chances to win prizes, including a shot at free tuition.

The events unfolded at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, as students entering the campus center were greeted with fruit punch and Hawaiian leis by members of the Committee dressed in summer-themed clothing.

“The leis were gone really fast; most people coming in wanted one,” said Meghan Kiley, a member of the events committee.

At the entrance of the first floor cafeteria of the Campus Center, student volunteer Joe Harney juggled golf balls and strummed his guitar to attract would-be putters to the nine hole mini-golf course.

The Wax Hands table was among the most popular of the activities. A constant line of students waited to have their hands sculpted into whatever pose they desired, many holding a small flower between their fingers.

Those who had the need for competition and a faster pace gathered on the upper level for the Go Go Racer track. Here they could speed around on what looked like small-motorized buckets, with many racers crashing into an inflatable wall.

The first floor, keeping with the summer theme, was lined with lawn chairs and patio tables with umbrellas, while a barbecue grill cooked cheeseburgers.

This proved to be the longest of the lines, showing once again that students love free food.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Charlie Titus, who tried his hand at many of the activities, was excited about the event.

“The committee of staff and students did an excellent job organizing this event. We wanted students to feel good about being here…we served well over eight hundred meals and there have been twelve to fifteen hundred students, faculty and staff here periodically. That’s just a great number,” said Titus.

The first day’s events were capped off with a 5 p.m. showing of “Finding Nemo” while Joyce Morgan, assistant dean of students and the chair of the events committee, distributed free popcorn and beverages.

Day two began at the Campus Center, once again at 8 a.m., but this time with a winter theme.

Instead of leis and fruit punch, people were greeted with hot cocoa.

Activities maintained that winter theme, with an open ice skate with free skate rentals, as well as a game room tournament featuring pool and chess and, pretzels and hot chocolate.

Students attending the ice-skate where entered into a raffle for the “hockey puck shoot” with a grand prize of a semester of free tuition.

Four contestants shot from center ice, in a deadlock tie, causing the eventual winner’s name to be drawn from a hat.

Jeran Mondalto, the winner of the free tuition and member of the UMB Baseball team said it was, “Great to win. My mother’s going to be really happy.”

Four other $25 gift certificates to Blockbuster Video, Legal Sea Foods, and Sam Goody were raffled off before the event came to a close.

Later in the day, horse-drawn carriage rides took students around the campus. A trolley traveled the surrounding area while Chemistry professor Jack Looney narrated the history of the land surrounding UMB and the JFK Library.

“Chill Out’s” final events were a showing of the movie “Mystery Alaska” and live entertainment provided by Synergy. The talent included “Hostile Ground,” “Holland,” and “Elemental Zen,” three bands from UMB’s student community.

The Synergy event continued with Reggae/Hip Hop group “III Kings,” followed by Massive D, a DJ from New York’s Hot 97.7, and another Reggae performance by Merrick Mitchel.

“…It was a successful two days-students seemed to have a lot of fun, and enjoyed what they could participate in,” said Events Committee Chair Joyce Morgan.

Other members of the committee agreed. Betty Ann Collins and Meghan Kiley, both members of the Athletics Department, were already brainstorming ideas for the next event.

Morgan hopes to have another event sometime in April or May and the committee is eager to hear student feedback on this event as well as ideas for those upcoming