Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Activities to do when technology fails

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

As if only one day off from school wasn’t bad enough, some University of Massachusetts students are forced to attend classes without heat, electricity and Internet. The UMass campus is quickly becoming the real-life version of Humans vs. Zombies as freezing, dirty and grouchy students crawl the University in search of a hot meal or source of entertainment outside of thumb twiddling.

Without electricity students are prevented from: accessing the Internet to complete homework assignments, charging their cell phones to reassure loved ones of their safety and viewing what surely is to be the best episode ever of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Coping without a source for cooking, cleaning and entertainment is tough, so provided below is a list of activities to participate in to help pass the seemingly standstill time until Western Mass Electric saves the day.


Host a séance

Scrounge all lighters, candles, matches and glow sticks from a five-dorm or house radius to prepare for a calling of the spirits. It is also generally advisable to recruit neighbors and friends to participate unless being scared senseless is the desired outcome. Gather in a seated circle around whatever light source is available and select a deceased person to channel. This person can be a friend or family member who passed away, drug-addicted celebrity of choice or historical figure. Be prepared to ask the spirit an important question, as they generally only “appear” to provide some sort of wisdom to those requesting their presence. Brace oneself as a cup creepily falls off the table at the exact moment the spirit has been requested and the séance is officially called off due to freakish coincidences.


Learn to make fire

Warning: it is ill advised to play with and/or make fire in the dorms or other on-campus buildings. But for those living off campus, channel a 21st century boy (or girl!) scout in lieu of a spirit to prove self-sufficient survival isn’t just from the movies. Lose the twigs and locate a battery and piece of steel wool or a metal paper clip. Brush the steel wool or unwound paper clip end against the battery terminals to create sparks. Once ignited, nurture the fire by slowly introducing small pieces of paper or wood. If conducted properly, warmth and light should appear to aid in some old-fashioned fireplace cooking and hand-warming.


Visit the Dining Commons

Students without meal plans can breathe easy and enjoy a tasty, fully cooked meal at any of the UMass dining commons for free through Friday, Nov. 4. Simply bring student ID’s and an appetite to enjoy endless pizza, stir-fry, pasta and soft-serve. Heat and wall outlets are another added bonus, allowing students to charge their cell phones and laptops while taking off mittens and hats for the first time in five days.


Build an igloo

Rumor has it a group of students in Northeast successfully concocted enough ice bricks to build a real igloo. To become as locally famous as these talented few, start by collecting Tupperware containers or small trashcans as snow molds. Scoop chunks of snow using the molds and transfer the blocks to a flat surface on the snow, laying the blocks in a circular formation. If the snow is too fluffy, sprinkle water (if available) to harden the blocks. Build smaller circle layers on top of the base layer as the igloo begins to take shape and until it forms a completed semi-circle. Fill in unsteady areas with patted down clumps of unmolded snow to sturdy the building. Never go into an igloo without a partner nearby for fear of collapsing. Once completed, enjoy the protection from the wind and envy of peers!


Have a snowball fight

Although the blizzard has ceased and the sun has melted much of the aftermath, that doesn’t mean snow banks aren’t still calling to students with days of pent-up boredom aggravation. The most epic snowball fights valiantly succeed with a large group of both male and female friends, but can also work just fine if started among a group of complete strangers. Just pick up a chunk of snow, shape it into a firm ball and playfully nail it at the most vulnerable looking student.


These fun and technology-less activities are guaranteed to pass what would have been a few hours of staring into darkness and fill malnourished bellies at the very least. Hopefully by the time the igloo the size of Lederle is resurrected, the electricity will be back on and the Internet and cable dilemma will be solved. Until then, may the spirits be with you.

Kate Evans can be reached at [email protected].


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