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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You May Have Worn The Prom Dress With Him, But I Get To Wear The Wedding Dress

You had him in high school, but I get him for the rest of my life.
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High school seems like the best time of your life when you are in it. You think that all of your friends will be with you until the end, and that you will end up with whoever you are dating your senior year. For very few, that might just be the case. For all others, that is far from true.

You thought that you would marry your boyfriend and you thought that everything would work out how you had always imagined. I don't blame you though. He's great. You wanted everything with him, but you were just not right for him.

I wish I could say that I am sorry it didn't work out for you, but I can't. I can't because he is mine now, and I get to cherish him forever. You didn't do that right, and you were not meant to be together. You will find someone too, but I am happy that you were not the one for him.

Sometimes I have issues with jealousy, and I hate that you got all of the high school stuff with him. You got to go to games and support him. It kills me that I couldn't be there for him because I know I would have actually been there wholeheartedly. I would have done it out of love, not as a popularity appearance.

I hate that you got to go to all of the school dances with him. He got to see you all dressed up and probably told you how great you looked. I'm sure you did look great. Prom dresses were always fun to pick out and so colorful. It was exciting to match colors with your date. I am sure you had fun choosing his matching tux to your dress.

I find myself getting jealous, but then I stop. I am getting to match his tux with our wedding colors. I got to go dress shopping in a sea of white, and he doesn't get to know one detail about that dress yet. He will get to see me walk down the aisle and then every day forever. I get to love him forever.

I try to not get jealous of all of the things you got with him because it is all in the past. You had your time, and now I get the wedding. You got to dress up in high school, but I get to dress up for my wedding with him. He may have put a corsage on your wrist, but he will be putting the wedding ring on my finger.

Cover Image Credit: Jessy Scott

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To Whomever It May Concern; It's Time To Forgive Yourself

Personal growth is cultivated through successes and mistakes, beating yourself up over the latter is counterproductive to progress.

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We've reached that point in time again where it seems that the general population in its entirety has recommitted to improving themselves with the start of a new year. While it's refreshing to have a renewed determination to eat better, be kinder, or achieve the goals you had attempted at last year, the beginning of a new year can also prove to be a source of anxiety. As many sit down to put their goals on paper in hopes of making them more attainable, it's all too easy to be bombarded by all of the reasons that ones' ambitions are beyond what that person is capable of.

Memories of past short-comings and words of self-deprecation uttered in moments of perceived failure are compounded by a general fear of the unknown for what the future holds. In my own experience, I've come to understand that the limits we place on our capacity for achievement, happiness, and growth are the direct results of not forgiving ourselves. So many goals are set with the intent to receive some form of external validation to indicate that the world has forgiven our flaws and deemed us worthy, but if we can't forgive ourselves and see our own worth, then how can we possibly expect anyone else to?

In the safety and comfort of your own imagination where you are free to envision your best self, living the life you have always hoped for, the only person that can condemn those ideas for being unrealistic is you. When we allow that sardonic voice from the back of our minds to inhibit our dreams, we permit that voice to embed itself in our conscious thoughts and put trust in our inadequacies rather than our capabilities.

For those who have yet to forgive themselves of their own trespasses, failures, and mistakes; the next time you have the thought to better yourself or your life and find it being attacked by memories of deficiency, do not concede to those assailants with the belief that you are incapable of becoming and achieving anything you choose. Instead of willing away those thoughts that remind us of what we are trying to grow from, face them, face your old self with forgiveness, and decide how you're going to become someone better because of who you were.

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