Author: Emily Hodson

November 12, 2012 Emily Hodson

Alcohol and college are a common combination. Students both of and under the age tend to drink sometimes.

Every year, UAA gets the opportunity to host Alcohol Awareness Week, an annual event that is designed to help students develop a good understanding of how to drink responsibly.

This series of events is part of nationally recognized National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week program.

Amanda Murdock, UAA’s alcohol, drug & wellness Educator, assists UAA students who have drinking problems.

“I see students and have information they need to get help,” Murdock said. “I’ve received phone calls from students saying, ‘I need help with my drinking.’”

Although drinking is a part of many college students’ live, numbers indicate that UAA doesn’t have many students with drinking problems.

“Most students at UAA drink responsibly. Studies show that 80 percent of UAA students did not binge drink in the last two weeks.”

Every year during Alcohol Awareness Week, there is a new theme. This year’s theme was called “A Shot of Reality” and took place last week.

During the week, Murdock gave a calorie count presentation, highlighting the amount of calories in alcohol, such as cocktails and beer.

After each calorie count presentation, another activity called “Don’t Be That Guy/Girl,” helped students avoid being that one person at a party who drinks irresponsibly.

Complimentary Playing cards were given out to students, with examples of “Don’t Be That Guy/Girl” scenarios printed on them.

Shots of hot chocolate were also offered to students, and a lot of the students responded well to the warm alternative, Murdock said.

The Student Health and Counseling Center did a “Drunken Mario Cart” activity, demonstrating how vision is impaired when driving drunk.

For residential students, there was a similar activity called “Dunk it,” where people put on drunk goggles and tried to shoot a basketball point, comparing it to the impaired vision of someone under the influence.

This event goes on only once a year, but Murdock is still available to talk during the semester via appointment for anyone who needs to talk about or receive help for drinking, drugs or any other sort of wellness issues.

For information about Alcohol Awareness at UAA or to make an appointment, contact Murdock at 907-786-1511 or at [email protected]

November 5, 2012 Emily Hodson

“This summer there was an increased risk of Syphilis among men having sex with men who are finding their sex partners online, through sex-seeking sites in Anchorage and Fairbanks,” warns the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services website.

But what is Syphilis?

“Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease, which is spread during vaginal, anal or oral sex and sometimes by genital touching, with someone who has syphilis.  Symptoms include painless sores on the mouth or sex organs that can last up 2-6 weeks.  Sores may go away, but you still have syphilis. Symptoms show up 1-12 weeks after having sex,” the Planned Parenthood website states.

Syphilis can be a serious disease if left undiagnosed, but is completely curable.

“It is easy to treat if you are HIV-negative and if you’ve had the infection for less than a year.  If you are HIV-negative, early stages of Syphilis are treated with a single dose of Bicillin L-A, a specific type of penicillin. Follow up testing at 6 and 12 months is required to ensure success,” states the Health Interventions for Men program website.

Betty Bang, UAA family nurse practitioner, encourages “students to practice safe sex, even if they only have one sex partner.  You simply never know if your partner is having sex with another person who may be infected.”

Also encourages students to be proactive and get tested.

“The UAA Health Center does STD/STI screenings and are reasonably priced around 10 dollars,” said Bang.  The health center does take Blue Cross Blue Shield and accepts the United Health insurance through UAA.

Ways to protect yourself from an STD are to use a condom, talk to your partner and don’t have sex with anyone who hasn’t been tested for or thinks they may have an STD.

This February the health clinic will be hosting a Healthy Sexuality fair, in which they will offer free STD testing for gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis and chlamydia.

For more information call or visit UAA Student Health and Counseling Center 907-786-4040 or 

October 22, 2012 Emily Hodson

Two internationally recognized comedians are visiting UAA this Thursday. Student Activities presents “A Night of Comedy with Marcus and Melissa Villasenor.”

Melissa Villasenor is best known as a celebrity impressionist contestant in the 2011 season of “America’s Got Talent,” and Marcus was the 2008 runner-up in the “Last Comic Standing.”

The anononymous “Marcus” began his career in radio first, voicing several commercials and putting in thousands of hours of live radio before even attempting comedy stage.

“In 2005 I did commercials for a radio station, and they brought in comedians on weekends. One of the comics told me I should do it because they thought I was really funny on air,” said Marcus.

As the years went by, he began to become recognized for his comedic shows.

He was the winner of the 2007 Seattle International Comedy Competition and winner of the 2007 Rocky Mountain Laugh Off. He was also a semifinalist in the HBO’s “Lucky 21 Comedy Showcase” in 2007.

Then Marcus landed a spot in “Last Comic Standing.”

“It was crazy being on that show,” he said. “When you go from being obscure to people knowing your name.”

Having background in radio has given him many perks when performing a show at universities or at a club, according to his official MySpace.

“I did a show two weeks ago at a community college in Utah, and the first show had 800 people and the second show had 1,300. I had never done a show where so many people showed up,” he said.

He used to do impressions but decided to go a different route.

“When I very first started out, I did impressions. There is only so much you can do with it, though, when you’re a man. It’s more unique when a woman does it,” Marcus said.

He has never been to Alaska, but has another talent to share with this state.

“I’m an avid ghost hunter. If anyone in Alaska knows any places that are weird, I’ll go with you ghost hunting. I have the equipment for it.”

According to Marcus, he and Villasenor have only met once in person.

Villasenor has also never been to Alaska but looks forward to visiting.

At 12 years old, she discovered that doing impressions makes people laugh and feel good.

Her first stand-up was at her high school talent show.

“In that moment I realized I was in an epiphany to do this for the rest of my life,” Villasenor said.

She later made it into the top 16 in “America’s Got Talent” for her comedy. Even though she didn’t win, she still had a great time.

“My favorite thing about being on that show was feeling very unique and different compared to the singers and dance groups,” Villasenor said.

Villasenor is also working on other projects.

She is currently writing a memoir about herself, including humorous stories.

“My goal is to have the book out by December. It’s already at a hundred pages, but of course with all the editing, it will probably be out next year,” she said.

Another thing she did were voiceovers for the cartoon “Adventure Time,” and she also did a one-liner in “Family Guy.”

“It was really fun. Voiceover work is the most fun to me because you don’t have to dress up for work. It’s only your voice so you can be wacky,” she said.

She hasn’t starred on Comedy Central yet, but has been on the road doing shows solo, at clubs and with other comic headlines.

She also starred as Sarah in “The 41-year-old Virgin who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and felt Super Bad about it” parody, but hasn’t done any movies since.

“I don’t have anything planned for TV or movie stuff yet,” said Villasenor.

She has done voice impressions of Barbara Walters, Natalie Portman, Miley Cyrus, Kathy Griffin, Owen Wilson and many more in her performances. Her favorite is Owen Wilson.

“I will definitely be sharing most of the voices when I come to Alaska for the show,” she said. “I look forward to performing at a place I’ve never been and I will warm everyone up with my comedy.”

To learn more about Melissa Villasenor, visit Facebook, follow her Twitter account or visit http://www.

To learn more about Marcus, find him on FacebookMySpace,  or on Twitter.

Marcus and Melissa will be performing in Room 150 of the UAA Fine Arts Building on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for students taking at least six credits and $10 for the general public.

October 22, 2012 Emily Hodson

The Student Union has many events each week, but none as loud and consistent as the Noon Music near Subway.

Students, people and bands from all genres and backgrounds are selected each week to perform for two hours inside the Student Union cafeteria, where many people pass by to go to classes or grab food.

The performers are usually mellow during their jam sessions, which are hosted every Wednesday, with the exception of extra special events scheduled during that timeframe.

“This has been the longest standing base event going on in the student activities department,” said Garren Volper, a programming team member who specializes in sound and finding new talent each week for Noon Music.

Not much has changed since the beginning of the event, other than a widening range of musical genres being performed. From covers to originals, it’s hard to predict what types of performances will happen each week.

Because the Student Union is a place where people study and eat, rockers, heavy metal, and screaming bands are not usually included in Noon Music schedules.

Noon Music is mostly targeted at mellow, jazz and singer-songwriter types of performers. Sometimes people from the Lower 48 will even play during Noon Music along with regular groups.

Costs for this event involve paying the performers, paying the student organizations and paying student employment fees. Students produce graphics at low costs when advertising is needed.

However, a considerable problem with Noon Music persists: Groups with loud instruments struggle with the lack of sound quality the Student Union Cafeteria provides.

Noon Music has planned to do something a little different this year to make this weekly event more interesting. Kat Sweetman, programming assistant manager for Noon Music, said, “KRUA will be sponsoring one Noon Music event at the last Wednesday of every month.”

KRUA recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and wants to broaden the range of music played in the cafeteria.

One of the most interesting performances in the past involved accordions, tenors and banjos with Irish musicians.

A wide range of musicians are currently accepted to play, but not just anyone can get on stage to play or sing something.

“They need to be able to play songs for at least two hours and be on tune. Students who are studying don’t want to be distracted or annoyed,” says Volper. “We usually vote who gets to perform each week after people give us copies of their music.”

Lyrical content has never really been an issue, so there are currently minimal guidelines set for performers.

“We rarely run into that kind of problem. Most of the performers already know to keep the atmosphere clean. I’ve only seen one person drop the ‘F’ bomb three times during a song performance.”

The next Noon Music event will feature KRUA’s Anna Lynch at the end of this month.

If interested in performing for a Noon Music event, please contact programming staff at 907-786-1207 or email [email protected].

September 24, 2012 Emily Hodson

Until iTunes displayed The xx’s album on its “new featured music” page, the talented music group never really had a spotlight. The British indie trio is on their second album now, called “Coexist.” Their album cover, which features a big “X” with a rainbow oil splatter inside of it, was very appealing. After listening, “The…