The Northern Light The student newspaper for University of Alaska-Anchorage. Tue, 25 Aug 2015 01:34:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Eye on the Seawolves Tue, 25 Aug 2015 01:33:45 +0000 A look back on Adam Eberhardt’s photo essay Eye on the Seawolves. Eberhardt followed UAA Seawolf Hockey players during the 2015 Governor’s Cup hockey tournament.

Forwards Zack Rassell and Austin Azurdia wait to get in front of the camera for the Pre-Game Coaches Show broadcast on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Photo by Adam Eberhardt.
Forwards Zack Rassell and Austin Azurdia wait to get in front of the camera for the Pre-Game Coaches Show broadcast on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Photo by Adam Eberhardt.


]]> 0 The Northern Light Forwards Zack Rassell and Austin Azurdia wait to get in front of the camera for the Pre-Game Coaches Show broadcast on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. Photo by Adam Eberhardt.
Wells Fargo Sports Complex construction coming to a close Wed, 19 Aug 2015 19:43:59 +0000 As fall semester looms just around the corner, so does the reopening of the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. The recreation center is in the later stages of several major renovations and upgrades that have kept the building closed all summer. The upper level of the sports complex is scheduled to open by the first day of classes, Aug. 24. The lower level will remain under construction through Sept. 14.

Changes will be readily apparent to returning students. The vacated UAA Athletics offices on the second floor have transformed into a student fitness center and yoga studio. Large glass panels on either side of the fitness center offer gym users and passing students a view outside and more natural light. The fitness center will also have increased hours for students to use.

“For those of us who remember what (the fitness center) was like, they are going to be impressed,” said Recreational Department assistant director of programs Alan Piccard.

On the other end of the building, newly renovated offices for the Recreational Department will also be showcased with glass panels on one side.
Renovations to the downstairs will include an all-new hockey locker room and players’ lounge. Across the hall, the ice rink will be receiving an all new ice plant and set of dasher boards and glass. The ice plant will be placed in a protective structure on the exterior of the WFSC behind the Student Union as soon as it arrives to Anchorage. The rink will also have new LED lights that won’t produce as much heat as the old rink lighting. A heavy-lifting room open to all will replace the space the old hockey locker room once occupied.

As one might expect when remodeling a structure from the 1970s, some spaces posed rather complex design challenges. Kristin Reynolds, the lead project manager on the job, is proud of how the design team and contractors worked around these difficulties.

“It’s much more complex in the construction phase to do a remodel like this than it is to build a new building, when you can just say how big you want it,” Reynolds said. “It’s a little bit more engaging and it’s more challenging.”

One such challenge was the installation of a new air handler unit — a bulky piece of hardware that serves as the origin and terminal of all air ventilation in the building. The unit needed to be moved into the penthouse, an upper chamber of the WFSC between the gym and ice rink. Because the area didn’t offer a convenient entry point for it, the air-handler’s eight units had to be broken into four to six pieces each before being hoisted up from the gym floor and through a small square opening in the wall near the ceiling. Once the air handler pieces were in the penthouse, they could be reassembled. The new air handler unit is roughly twice the size of the old one.

Despite the lower level remaining closed through Sept. 14, the project’s timing couldn’t have worked out much better for students says Piccard.
“The timing was done I mean about as perfectly as it could.”

]]> 0 The Northern Light Construction workers carefully guide an air handler part as it's hoisted up to the penthouse, where it will be reassembled with other parts. Courtesy of Kristin Reynolds
Q&A with TJ Miller Wed, 19 Aug 2015 19:30:06 +0000 The star from HBO’s series Silicon Valley is TJ Miller, this year’s Campus Kickoff Comedian. TNL interviewed Miller about his past visits to Alaska and how much effort it really takes to be a stand-up comedian.

What was your first joke that you actually got laughs from in an audience?

It was something stupid that I’m a bit embarrassed about. “I got called a ‘gay wad’– I mean that’s how feminine I am. One gay isn’t enough, I’m a wet clump of homosexuality.

As a stand-up comic, you have good shows and bad shows. When you recollect bad performances, does one in particular come to mind?

I often tell a story about a man in Atlanta, Georgia who rushed the stage to fight me. It’s a pretty good story. My most recent terrible show was at a casino in Detroit, Michigan. I bombed so hard that I locked myself in my hotel room after and talked to my wife Kate for five hours about quitting stand up. That’s how bad the show was. I actually considered quitting standup comedy. Legitimately. I was like, “Well this is why comics who do TV and film quit standup comedy. Because of this feeling.

What was it like to have your character die in Transformers? (This question is from our Editor who was distraught when Lucas Flannery died.)

On movies like that you never get to read the script until you’re signed on. When I found out Lucas died I was bummed but ultimately it meant less work for me. So, I was in favor of that on an action robot movie.

Have you ever been to Alaska? If not, what’re you hoping to see?

I have! I went on a first date to Anchorage for 24 hours where she and I were high the whole time. Baked Alaska. It’s was pretty epic. The salmon at the ol’ Captain Cook Hotel was the best I’ve ever had.

Do you have an idol that you wish you could work with? If so, what would your dream television show/movie be? (Unless you have worked with them already, then who was it?)

Most assuredly it would be Steve Martin. Although, they say you should never meet your heroes. So, maybe I would work with him I just wouldn’t introduce myself.

Miller will be performing at 7:30 in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. To get in, a valid UAA ID must be present.

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Alaska Airlines Center nears 1-year anniversary Wed, 19 Aug 2015 01:04:47 +0000 The Alaska Airlines Center is approaching its first full calendar year of use. The $109 million, multi-purpose arena has seen several concerts, cultural activities and numerous UAA athletic events in the past year. In total, an estimated 200,000 people have attended an event at the arena since its opening last September.

The Alaska Airlines Center also helped draw in larger crowds to UAA athletic events. Where the gymnasium at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex could only hold 1,250 fans in its bleachers, the Alaska Airlines Center can seat up to 5,000. Both the men and women’s basketball teams saw a large increase in home attendance after the move to the Alaska Airlines Center. In fact, both the men and women hoopsters led their respective Great Northwest Athletic Conferences in home attendance — averaging around 1,100 attendees when at home.

UAA Women’s Basketball head coach Ryan McCarthy said that the Alaska Airlines Center is “right there with the best of them” in terms of other athletic facilities around the world. Many other coaches and players agree with McCarthy and say it outpaces some NCAA Div. I facilities.
UAA Athletics Director Keith Hackett sees the Alaska Airlines Center not only as a useful asset for coaches to recruit players, but also as a way to bring the community together. The center hosted the Alaska School Activities Association 1A and 2A high school basketball tournaments in March. A month later, the center hosted the Native Youth Olympics. Both events drew competitors and spectators from all over the state.
Hackett said he wanted to “make sure everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the building.”

The Alaska Airlines Center also became the new host to one of Alaska’s signature sporting events, the Great Alaska Shootout. The shootout had been hosted at the Sullivan Arena since the inaugural tournament in 1983.

Even before the shootout was hosted by the Alaska Airlines Center, the new arena saw its first major musical act, Tim McGraw. The country singer from Louisiana performed two nights in late October to near-sold out crowds. The venue has hosted several other musical acts such as Brad Paisley, Mötley Crüe and the Alabama Shakes. The center will host another country singer, Toby Keith, this fall.

The Alaska Airlines Center also brought the UAA Athletic program more space. Track and field coach Eric Walsh noted that back when the Wells Fargo Sports Complex was home to the athletics teams, there were times when two or three teams would need to use the athletic training room before and after practice. The room itself, which is only about 12 feet by 26 feet, struggled to hold the number of athletes that required attention from the trainers. In the Alaska Airlines Center, there is now more than enough room in the athletics training area to help athletes that need treatment.

The Alaska Airlines Center has also been beneficial to university traditions like Fall and Spring Commencement ceremonies. Bridgett Dyson, University Advancement’s special events manager, said that the venue has allowed UAA to lower costs of commencement. The building has also allowed UAA to begin holding commencements in the fall and the spring.

The Alaska Airlines Center will host its first UAA athletic event of the season at 7 p.m. Aug. 29, when the UAA volleyball team holds its alumnae match.

]]> 0 The Northern Light The arena saw a crowd of 2,518 for the UAA vs. Point Loma game during the first round of the NCAA Div. II Women's Basketball Western Region Championships on Friday, March 13, 2015 at the Alaska Airlines Center. Photo by Adam Eberhardt/The Northern Light.
Hockey’s hires new assistant coach over the summer Wed, 19 Aug 2015 00:48:21 +0000 Seventy-eight days.

That’s how long the Seawolves hockey team had a coaching vacancy last spring after head coach Matt Thomas announced the departure of former assistant coach T.J. Jindra at the end of March.

However, the Seawolves would eventually find their man.

Thomas announced Louis Mass as his new assistant June 17.

“We were looking for an experienced individual that had a history of winning and developing players at a high level,” Thomas said in a June press release. “Coach Mass hit on all those points and the fact that he is an Anchorage native proved a no-brainer for us.”

Mass’s experience includes an impressive five-year run with Alaska Aces as an assistant coach. The Aces won two Kelly Cups — the trophy awarded every year to the ECHL champion — in Mass’s first year as an assistant in 2011 before winning it again in 2014.
While Mass acknowledged that his old job offered upward mobility, especially for successful coaches like himself, it was not necessarily what he wanted.

“For me being an Alaskan — I realized not that long ago that I wanted to stay here. This is where I want to make my life,” Mass said. “I look at that career, and especially down the road if I have a family, it’s tough.”

The life cycle of pro hockey coaches is typically short, and moving around a lot is not uncommon as an individual moves up the coaching ladder. In addition to the ever-present reality of a move across the country, professional teams travel like — well, professional teams. The 2015-16 regular season for the Aces includes a month with nine away games with contests in South Dakota, Idaho and Colorado.

With the Seawolves, Mass will have to travel less, and the threat of a move is not as imminent. “This allows me to be in a much more stable environment — theoretically,” Mass said.

And while Mass still has a lot to learn about his new team, he won’t be starting completely from scratch. Mass has helped train some of the Seawolves in the offseason at a training facility he operates during the summer.

Junior defenseman Chase Van Allen has worked out with Mass the past few summers and thinks it was a “terrific” pick-up by the team.
“His defensive knowledge of the game is going to help us tremendously,” Van Allen said.

Van Allen also likes what he’s heard about his coaching style. “He’s really personable, easy to talk to, very approachable if you want to know anything,” he said of Mass.

As for the Seawolves he has yet to meet, well, that’s part of what Mass loves about coaching.
“There are always new people you’re involved with and there are new challenges,” Mass said. “It’s never static.”

The Seawolves start the season in Soldotna in an exhibition against Mt. Royal Oct. 2.

]]> 0 The Northern Light UAA's assistant hockey coach, Louie Mass, takes questions from Seawolf fans during a public Q&A at the Varsity Sports Grill last month. Photo by Adam Eberhardt
RED ZONE: Introducing the 2015 Red Zone series Tue, 18 Aug 2015 23:40:52 +0000 As the trees slowly begin to fade to orange, the fight for parking starts anew and hallways at UAA begin to fill and buzz with conversation, something goes unspoken.


What few will tell you is that the beginning of the school year is a time plagued by sexual assault. More college sexual assaults happen in the first weeks of fall semester leading up to Thanksgiving than the rest of the school year. This period of time has come to be known as the Red Zone.

While awareness of this high-risk period of time is low, even worse still is that less than 5 percent of victims will report to law enforcement, according to the Campus Sexual Assault Study report done in 2007.

The Northern Light is embarking on its second year of publishing a series, entitled the Red Zone, in attempts to decrease the stigma of sexual assault victims, raise awareness of this high-risk time period and bring safety to our campus.

To read all the stories from this series, please visit

Info Graphic

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How to do better in classes Sat, 15 Aug 2015 18:41:42 +0000 One of the first things you will notice about college is that it can be really hard. The Northern Light Presents these tips for doing better in classes.

  1. Ask Questions

Don’t understand something said in class, miss a question on a test or having trouble with an assignment?

Raise your hand and ask for clarification.

Worried about interrupting the teacher?

Quietly raise your hand and wait until called on. Instructors love questions: They get , how well everyone is progressing in understanding, and allows them to better tailor their lectures to their audience. Every teacher prefers to see a raised hand rather than glazed over eyes, a sleeping student, or the glow of a cell phone.

Worried about not looking like you know what you’re talking about in front of literally everyone?

Of course you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s why you went to college, so you could know. Remember you came to college to get informed, not look informed.

Worried about looking stupid in front of your peers?

For every person that raises their hand to answer a question there are five others that are too nervous to ask. To those five people your question could be the deliverance from confusion and embarrassment. Be that hero. Besides, if you are going to show that you don’t understand something, it’s better to do it during a lecture than on a test. Remember there is no such thing as a dumb question, just dumb answers on a final.


  1. Study as needed and pay attention

Before you entered college you have no doubt heard conflicting accounts about the amount of work that you do in college: horror stories about studying 10 hours a night contrasted with joyous tales if skipping classes and frolfing on the quad. These stories are all true, they just came from different people doing different things at different times in their lives. You will breeze through some of your classes, and slog through others.

But how long should I study? The truth about studying is that you should find out early on what works for you and stick with it. Make sure that you are staying up to speed in all of your classes, without going crazy and panicking. Remember that digging your way out of a hole is much harder than not falling in one.


  1. Suggested Homework is suggested for a reason-

It was a bit of a culture shock going from highschool to college. I remember distinctly several of my High School teachers saying that if we couldn’t handle their workload we couldn’t handle college. I couldn’t imagine how the humorless teachers, daily homework, weekly quizzes, and monthly tests of pre-calc could get worse. On the first day was given a list of suggested problems by a kindly professor and told that we would be only graded on four tests and a final, with the lowest grade dropped.

I naturally didn’t do a single problem, blew off a few early morning lectures and completely bombed my first test. I spent the next month doing both the last tests list of suggested homework as well as this tests list until I truly felt confident in my abilities. After a herculean effort I emerged from that class proudly with a C. What? Calculus is hard.

  1. Ask for help

Academic issues are amongst the top reasons that freshmen drop out of college. It’s not because they ran into trouble with difficult material tests and assignments. It’s because they ran into trouble, and they didn’t ask someone for help. They were too scared, or too proud, or too uninformed and they gave up before their time. Most classes here are difficult, but none of them are impossible, they only require more work. Every class you take has been passed by someone who wasn’t as smart as you, wasn’t as prepared as you, and struggled more than you, and then planned accordingly. It is possible, you just might need some help.

Luckily you are are drowning in resources to help you. Did the guy next to you get 25 points higher on the test than you? Sounds like the sort of person you want to form a study group with. Not confident in your writing ability? Head to the Learning Resource Center writing lab and they will help you edit your paper line by line.

  1. Use office hours and open lab

Office hours are set periods of times where your professors are in their offices for one explicit purpose: helping any student that comes in. For my less subtle readers, THIS MEANS YOU. Office hours are your best resource to solve any problem you are having with classes. Wondering what is going to be in the test?

Ask the person who is writing it.

Wondering if they’ll like your paper?

Politely ask if they can read it with you and point out problems

Having trouble with a tricky lab?

Ask a TA and they will help your work through it, step by step..

The best, and saddest, part of this is that office hours are rarely used by most students, giving the few that use them hours of undivided attention from their professors. These hours are posted on your syllabus/the lab room in question, or speak with your instructor after class to ask alternative times, that fit both of your schedules.


  1. No seriously, use the help

Anyone who has ever looked through their list of fines and fees angrily has noticed that they pay dozens of fees. Despite our suspicions, UAA administration does not just pocket your 3 dollar outdoor recreation fee whilst they cackle madly. They use the fees collected to run programs and hire people with the goal of helping the greater student body. You pay for these programs regardless if you use them.

A glance at any university website or bulletin board will show you countless programs offered at this university without any cost.

These programs are not free, and this is a very important point. We don’t take advantage of free things all of the time. Community billboards are covered with offers to take guitar lessons, go to yoga classes, join crossfit, get involved with pyramid schemes: all free of charge. University programs are not free- you already pay for them. It’s one thing to not take advantage of the free offers in life, it’s quite another to spend 1,153$ in fees every semester, and not use a single program that they pay for.



3 Alternative. Skipping Class Costs you

A three credit undergraduate course will cost you 549$, when split into 32 1-hour and 15 minute sessions over the course of 16 weeks will run you about 17 dollars a session. Doing make-up studying is inefficient and difficult, the fact that you don’t know what your instructor is focusing on and your lack of someone who can help with difficult questions and concepts that come up, means it may take 3 or 4 times as long to absorb the same amount of relevant information.

But how much is your time worth? If you have a job, the answer is at least 8.50$ for an hour of work. By skipping class you are out over 30 dollars worth of effort. Skipping that class for an extra hour of sleep has cost you at least 45$ worth of effort, more than enough cash for a nice date, night out, or tank of gas. Sure, going to bed earlier is tough, but a heavier wallet should help lull you to sleep before 3 in the morning.



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“The Original Butt Sketch” Thu, 13 Aug 2015 18:20:47 +0000 For UAA students who have been to Campus Kickoff in the past, they know the Butt Sketcher. Lines lengthen across Cuddy Quad to get their backsides drawn by Pjae Naiima. Naiima has been coming to UAA for more than twelve years to draw butts for the students. Her boss Krandel Lee Newton, the creator of “The Original Butt Sketch” talks to TNL about how sketching has taken her around the world.

Are you the current artist or the one who created the idea?

I actually created the idea. I quit an engineering job (Mechanical Engineer) years ago to pursue art full-time. I showed my paintings – paintings of people, buildings and odd ends –on a street corner in Dallas. It was an attempt to do a painting of a parade scene – people from behind – that ignited the concept in my mind. After months of sketching people from behind, I coined the phrase: The Original Butt Sketch” and charged people based on their shape – if they were “flat, round or regular.”

When did you see yourself as an artist?

I began sketching and painting around the age of 9. I actually took painting lessons. After a few years, I put down my brushes to go play football and things like that. It was after I started my engineering career that I resumed painting as a hobby. I was soon engulfed with the passion of painting and then quit my engineering job after have practicing it for 5 years.

Where has your talent taken you besides Alaska?

I have maintained a federally registered trademark on Butt Sketch for over 20 years. We – I have a group of 8 artists –have traveled to Europe, Canada, Mexico and Asia. We have sketched celebrities and other luminaries.

Naiima will be at Campus Kickoff for those who are looking to get their booties drawn. Campus Kickoff starts August 22 at 5:00 pm at the Cuddy Quad.

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