Odyssey Impact: A UNH Student Sparks A Viral Conversation On How Her School Spent $1 Million

Odyssey Impact: A UNH Student Sparks A Viral Conversation On How Her School Spent $1 Million

Thanks to Odyssey, national media covered UNH's controversial decision to spend $1 million of a gift from a former librarian on a football scoreboard.
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When a former librarian at the University of New Hampshire left $4 million to the school upon his death, the last thing Claire Cortese expected was $1 million of Robert Morin’s gift to be used to buy a scoreboard for their football stadium.

Cortese, a recent alumna of the university, loved her experience at UNH, but she couldn’t help but notice that some parts of campus were severely underfunded.

“When I first read the headline that this librarian just donated $4 million, I thought, oh wow, they’re going to put it toward something good, like a new library or something,” she said. “So when I saw that they were giving the money to a scoreboard, I was just shocked.”

At the time of this news, the stadium was in the middle of a $25 million renovation.

Cortese frequently creates Odyssey posts surrounding UNH and academia, like this one and this one, so naturally, she felt compelled to share her thoughts on the school’s decision and to stand up against what she felt was a massive injustice to the school and its students and staff members.

Her article on the $4 million gift, which was the first opinion piece on the topic, was not only intended to spread awareness on the administration decision, but also served to stand up for students and faculty of the neglected departments on campus.

“I felt like they had completely soiled this guy’s legacy and it spoke to me about how corrupted the higher education system can be, and how these universities pour money into sports even though they tell you they don’t, and they ignore other departments that are underfunded,” Cortese said. “They don’t cater to all students in that way.”

Within just 24 hours, the article circulated around campus, and she was receiving dozens of comments and direct messages by professors and students. For the first time, she was gaining followers on engagement on her content.

“When the article picked up momentum, I was honestly shocked. I did not expect it to pick up steam—none of my other articles picked up nearly as much traction as that one,” Cortese said.

Just a few days later, her article was starting so many conversations on social media that local and national news organizations like News Maca, Daily Mail and Inside Higher Ed picked up her story. Cortese couldn’t believe she attracted so much attention from one article.

“It was really exciting that people were actually listening to me. It made me feel validated as a writer to have so much response because what I wrote clearly had an impact, and I think that’s what every writer wants,” Cortese said. “They want to make an impact.”

Cortese strives to make clear her love for UNH, but that as a proud alumna she feels she must speak up for the whole community.

“UNH was my life, and I appreciate so much of the time I had there, and I met some really amazing professors and students, but that doesn’t change the fact that what I thought the administration did was wrong.”

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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