Singin’ In the Snow

JMU is a cultural kaleidoscope. With the student body completely rotating every few years, traditions and practices change so frequently that the school must be almost unrecognizable to some former Dukes. I recently had the great opportunity to correspond with such an alumni – Linda Hevener, UPB’s Film Chairman in the mid-1980’s.

Over 100 years of changing traditions

She shared some stories about how different the atmosphere was when she went to school:

“I have even heard JMU is cancelling classes because of snow now.  Being snowed IN was fun back then.  My senior year, we had back to back storms and got 3 feet of snow accumulated on the ground, and a driving wind made very deep drifts.  My car is in the yearbook that year, parked in X-lot, at the edge of a row of cars, with snow blown until it completely covered one side, and a lot of snow left on the other side.  We were basically snowed in for about 5 days.  Some of the professors couldn’t make it in.  That was a shame, but we made the most of our time. ; )”

While Linda may be disheartened over some of the changes at JMU, such as how “they closed the Hill, and took away toilet paper, streamers and shaking newspapers at basketball games” she was glad to hear that at least the film spirit still lives on at Grafton-Stovall theatre. She described one of her many great experiences at school:

“When I first got to JMU, we would show Gone With The Wind on a cold Sunday afternoon, since it’s a 4 hour movie.  On Thursday nights, we showed old classics and musicals, the kind everybody could sing along to.  One night, while I was working a showing of Singin’ In The Rain, it snowed, one of those Harrisonburg snows that creeps up on you and dumps a few inches while you are in a building and don’t see it happening.  People came out of G-S Theater and got excited by the weather and started singing “Singing In the Snow” and kicking it up in the air, like Gene Kelly does in the rain in the movie.  It was the coolest thing because such a diverse crowd was singing the same song, enjoying the snow together, showing that “little kid” that will come out when it snows.  I had the best feeling from that, and still get a great feeling from remembering it. “

I personally find it incredibly beneficial to hear from those who were at one point in the exact same place as I am now. If there are any more alumni readers I would love to hear about any of your JMU experiences or memories this post may have envoked. I hope you all enjoy the upcoming winter season and (hopefully) many films like Singin’ In The Rain that are truly deserving of being deemed classics.

– Stephen

A Home Called UPB

There is energy on this campus, unlike anywhere else.  Maybe it is how genuine each person you come in contact with is, or maybe, that at any point in time; there is somewhere worthwhile to be.  Whether it is savoring coffee at Taylor Down Under with a friend or attending a concert at Wilson, I am constantly stimulated.  For that, I am so thankful.

I knew with it being my senior year I had to invest in something, something that aligned with what I believed in. I feel that each student deserves worthwhile events on campus that offer new perspectives and develop a deeper understanding of oneself and the world, all in hopes of enhancing their own college experience.  Ultimately, I was looking for a way to give back to this community that has given so much to me. I needed a way to express how grateful I am for how much I have grown these past four years and for knowing I will leave with beautiful memories.  After careful consideration I knew where my heart was being called, the University Program Board.

I have served as the VP of New Membership Development, a title quite fitting as I too am a new member.  UPB has been a part of my college experience since the moment I stepped onto campus, yet I had not fully been a part of it until now.  This semester I had the privilege of working with fifty amazing individuals new to the organization. Each of them was unique in their gifts and abilities, yet they were unified by the fact that they sought an opportunity to serve our student body through creating memorable events.  As cliché as it may sound, while my position entailed teaching them of all UPB does and hopes to accomplish, they in turn provided me with new, refreshing perspectives.  Most importantly, they reminded me of why I should appreciate each day I have here at James Madison. This university is a place encouraging of authenticity and creativity, a place where no matter who you are, there is somewhere your heart can invest in its greatest passions.

This was our first trial with P.I.T. Crew and I have to say it went wonderfully.  It wouldn’t have been possible without the new members enthusiasm.  Thank you, for making my first semester a part of UPB one that will always make me smile.

– Maeve

Miley Cyrus: There’s No Party at JMU

It somehow happens every year. The student population is briefly conned into thinking that UPB is bringing the biggest music craze to JMU. From a Lil’ Wayne concert to a Three 6 Mafia afterparty, we’ve seen a lot of pranks pulled around this campus in the past. As the PR Director, I was really happy that we didn’t have any episodes so far this year. That was, of course, until Monday morning.

“Miley Cyrus JMU 2010.” Posters claiming the teen sensation was making a trip down to Harrisonburg were planted all over campus (apparently someone still had energy after the rave in the library). Making matters worse, the fliers gave not only details about the date, time, and price, but it also displayed the UPB logo and a replicated stamp of approval.

Fortunately, after some damage control with our Facebook and Twitter accounts, nobody seemed too upset that the Hannah Montana star was not performing in our Convocation Center. I apologize to any avid fans, but in addition to the fact that the pop singer does not tour colleges, she’s also absurdly expensive. So we could either charge everyone several hundred dollars more tuition… or not have Miley for our concert. We choose our battles here at UPB.

Time for the good news. We’re in the final stages of executing our Wilson show contract! Make sure to look for the announcement over break.

– Stephen

Good Studying Is Hard To Do

TO ME THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN THE LAST FEW WEEKS OF EVERY SEMESTER. There is a dark haze over the entire JMU community. Tensions and pressures are overwhelming, while spirits and morale are unfortunately morose.

Personally, it seems like a flawed system. After an entire semester’s worth of work, there is generally such a high proportion of your grade still up in the air. For some this can be one last spurring attempt at raising your grade. More often than not; however, these final examinations are just a liability that can drag down averages.

As my goal to help create a happier disposition around campus, I came up with a list of study tips. This advice can not only save you time, but can also help you achieve the scores you need.

  • Make a schedule and prioritize. Trying to revisit everything discussed is a waste of time and energy. If the teacher writes something on the board make sure to put extra emphasis on that subject.
  • Fully dedicate yourself. Just because you have your book or notes in front of you for hours on end does not mean that you’re studying. Turn off the TV and distracting music, get off facebook, and actually pay attention to your course material.
  • Study based on the type of test. If it’s a multiple choice test, there is no reason to throw away the hours spent memorizing loads of charts, facts, and stats. The majority of the time, you’ll do better by just being comfortable with the overall concepts.
  • Make sure to take breaks. Study in hour intervals or less. The brain retains more information if you give yourself a few minutes to relax and process all the information you’ve just gone over.
  • Check to see if your textbook has a website. There are usually practice quizzes and tests online that can be really helpful in determining what you already know and what you should focus on covering.
  • Write on the test if you can. Right before the test, quickly memorize any facts or charts that you know you’ll need. As soon as you the professor says “begin,” write these in the margin.
  • Get some sleep. While you may think that pulling an all-nighter may be the only way for you to excel, you may actually be doing more harm to your test scores. Your brain doesn’t function as sharply without rest, and a lot of information will be lost.

Hopefully these tips will help to lower stress levels this upcoming week. If you need a place to study or take a break Taylor, Warren, and Festival will be open 24/7 with study rooms and distractions. Good luck with finals Dukes!

– Stephen

Grafton Movies Can Be Good For Your Grades…

Well, we are all back from a (hopefully) relaxing week off of school and stress. However, now we must crack down a catch up on that homework we meant to do while we were home and study for the upcoming exam week. It is a known fact that too much studying does more harm than good, so if you are looking for something to clear your head and help you re-focus your attention- stop by Grafton!

We have two great movies this week! At 7 PM we are showing The Time Traveler’s Wife. Staring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, this romantic drama centers around a Chicago librarian who can travel through time. The movie focuses on his attempt to build a stable relationship with his wife and her attempt to build a life around her unstable husband. Based on a book by Audrey Niffenegger, which I have heard that the movie stays very close to, it should be a relaxing break from all your stressful studying.

Due to a complication with our distributing company, we cannot show Inglourious Basterds. For more information check out the post by Katelyn. Instead of the war film, we are showing Gamer, starring Gerard Butler and Michael C. Hall from the hit show Dexter. This action thriller follows Butler, a star player in an online multi-player game, as he tries to overthrow the creator of the game and retake his independence. With over an hour and a half of intense action, this movie will definitely wake you up and get you pumped for another round of writing those papers!

Best of luck with these next two weeks- push through it and then you have a month of no work! You can do it JMU!

– Christine