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.
34
views

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.”

Popular Right Now

25 Things To Do After 1 a.m.

You never remember the nights you went to bed early.
89235
views

I'm a night owl, and at a clean, Christian university, it gets a bit rough trying to find things to do after one in the morning. If your adrenaline's pumping with or without friends, here are some things you can do for free or using that crumpled twenty dollar bill in your pocket.

1. Dick's.

If you're feeling frisky in the wee hours of the morning, head to Dick's with some friends.

Or if you're looking for something more adventurous...

2. Watch a movie.

Reserve a time slot at the movie lounge in your dorm, pop some popcorn, and watch your hall mates cry at your favorite tearjerker.

3. Go on a walk to nowhere.

Without using a map, just walk with no destination in mind. Try to find your way back without any assistance. Of course though, be safe.

4. Jam out.


Bust out someone's guitar or triangle and go to town. If you don't know anyone who plays an instrument, borrow a speaker and blast a good tune.

5. Cards Against Humanity.


People get weirdly inappropriate when they're tired, this makes it the optimal time to play Cards Against Humanity.

6. Gasworks Park.


I swear the park is more beautiful at night when no one's there. Plus, nothing beats the adrenaline rush than when geese surround you on all sides.

7. Late-night drive.


Go for a scenic drive like the one shown above.

8. Go somewhere that's usually full of people and see it empty.

It's hauntingly beautiful to see somewhere that's typically crowded and see it completely empty. It's a private moment that you'll get to remember every time you go back.

9. Watch something in your queue on Netflix.


Hey, you put it there for a reason.

10. Learn that one thing you've been meaning to.


Whether it's a new skill, language, or hobby you want to pick up, learn it now! There's no time like the present. Or, surf some Wikipedia articles and jump from one related article to the next.

11. Scooter races.


Find out which of your hall mates will do anything to win.

12. Table topics.

If you want to find out more about your friends, but the only question you can think of is, "How do you feel about Dick Cheney?" Table Topics are perfect.

13. Retail therapy.

Or, you can do what I do and add everything to my basket and then cry when I see the total.

14. Watch the airplanes fly in.


Knowing that each airplane holds dozens of people who have their own lives and are off on adventures or returning home is so humbling. Also, airplanes look like shooting stars if you squint.

15. City wide Fugitive.


Basically Cops and Robbers, there are two groups of people. Group A tries to make it from Point One to Point Two (we had everyone meet at a park and try to make their way back to campus) without being caught by Group B. Group B is usually dispersed into cars and they flash their headlights at someone from Group A if they're seen.

16. Beth's


Who isn't down for breakfast food at two A.M.? Any 24 hour diner will do, but Beth's is the best.

17. Pinterest baking party.


Even if you don't succeed, it'll make for a good photo (and hopefully still taste good).

18. Salsa dancing.


Or swing dancing. Or learning how to do the latest dance. Dancing is the perfect way to bond by making fools of yourselves. Plus, it might lead to a vicious dance battle between R.A.'s.

19. Picnic on a roof.

Preferably a flat roof that you're not trespassing on, but make do with what you can.

20. Stargazing.

Stargazing is my absolute favorite way to pass the time using the Planets app on my phone. If you're having some trouble identifying the stars, Star Chart app is super easy.

21. Watch the sunrise.


Just pull an all nighter to see the sunrise. It's way more rewarding compared to seeing a sunset.

22. Get a tattoo.

If you just want something simple and know someone who has experience, get a stick and poke tattoo. Even though stick and pokes tend to not last as long and don't look as clean as a professional tattoo(you have to go over it a couple times), it's still a tattoo! Make sure the needles are sterile and you're using the right ink.

23. Skinny dipping.

Maybe not during this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, but spring has to come around sooner or later.

24. Karaoke.


Hit up a karaoke bar with some friends and sing your troubles away. Boxcar Ale House, Ozzie's in Seattle, Crescent Lounge, and Hula Hula are open until 2 a.m. while Seattle's Best Karaoke is open until 3 a.m.

25. Sleep.

As my roommate always says, "Nothing good ever happens past 2 a.m."

Cover Image Credit: Teresa Tsang

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

1655
views
Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

Related Content

Facebook Comments