Laugh a Little…

Our student, Anna, discovers the funniest group on campus…

Over the weekend I learned something about UMBC that I never knew: we have an improv comedy group. Cool, huh? One of my friends invited me to join her at one of the shows, so that’s how I found myself sitting in a lecture hall on Friday night (not that it felt a lecture hall!).

I don’t feel like I can rightly explain the show, so instead I’m going to let some videos and pics do that part. I will say that there’s some audience participation (to provide suggestions—you don’t get drafted to be laughed at, don’t worry), and that the room was packed. The improv group, the Dog-Collar Comedy Troupe, is a team of about 10  students who get together to perform—you guessed it!—improvisational comedy. And it’s great. So without further ado…

A roomful of bored people waiting for the show to begin.
A roomful of bored people waiting for the show to begin.



Improv in Progress
Improv in Progress


That man is on a television daytime show explaining how to cook beef stroganoff. His hands, however, are a bit tied up…and a friend is lending him a hand—or two. (And said friend may or may not be having a lot of fun smearing food on his face in the process…)
That man is on a television daytime show explaining how to cook beef stroganoff. His hands, however, are a bit tied up…and a friend is lending him a hand—or two. (And said friend may or may not be having a lot of fun smearing food on his face in the process…)


 – By Anna Crow ’16

The Cure for the Freshman 15: Healthy Cooking

Our intern Brittan tries her hand at some healthy home cooking…and it looks pretty delicious!

The ingredients started out like this…

Coming to college holds different excitements for everyone. But there’s one thing about college that pretty much everyone is excited for, new freedom. You decide when you wake up. You decide when you go to bed. Want to watch Netflix until 4 in the morning? No mom to tell you no, so why not? There’s also no mom to cook you your dinner.

Food is pretty much everywhere. Pizza, sandwiches, ice cream. This may seem like heaven, and, at first, it definitely is. You can skip the vegetables and go straight for the waffle fries. But I’m here to tell you a sad truth: filling up on chicken nuggets and pizza actually does catch up to you. I’m sure you’ve heard of the dreaded Freshman 15 but think there’s no way that can happen to you. Reality is, it can and it probably will. It happened to me, this “new freedom” proved me to be completely helpless in the face of unlimited pasta bowls and chocolate cake.

This is not to say that UMBC doesn’t have healthy options, there are plenty. It just took me and mostly everyone I know a year of indulgence to learn the strength to limit ourselves. Okay, fast forward to junior year, most students by now are out of the dorms and into the apartments or, in my case, in houses off campus. So when you finally grasp how to eat properly on campus, you’re thrown into a whole new adult challenge: cooking healthy food without burning a hole in your wallet. It is easy to buy a pack of ramen or Easy Mac and call it a day, but Junior 15 doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

…and became these delicious, healthy red pepper and avocado bites!

Considering that, in the beginning of this year, I had to look up “How to cook chicken”, so you might say I started off this adult thing pretty slowly. I want to share with you my crutch in the hopes that it can soon become a crutch for you too.

*Cue the trumpets*

The Healthy College Cookbook!  Essentially this little guy teaches you how to make pretty much every meal, breakfast through dessert, on a college time schedule while also keeping in mind the college bank account falls down to $2 pretty much every month. Don’t worry, it’s not the only one of its kind. You can pick up an array of healthy cookbooks for college kids at the local library (located 2 minutes from campus) and all groceries at the Giant right down the road.

The meal I made this week was roasted red pepper and avocado bites. It cost me 7 dollars, took me 35 minutes, and was a real crowd pleaser. Doesn’t look like 160 calories does it? Yum!

— Brittan Gibbons-O’Neill ’17

Previous posts by Brittan:

Meet Your Student Bloggers
A UMBC Love Story

Football at UMBC? One Night a Year…

A glimpse into Superbowl night from our blogger Anna…

Superbowl Par-tay_1
Superbowl Party 2016 at The Commons’ Sports Zone

UMBC may not have its own football team, but don’t worry—you’ll still find the Super Bowl on TVs all around campus. You can even find it projected on a large screen in the Commons’ Sport Zone, thanks to (seb) [the student events board]. This year, 2016, is Super Bowl 50: the Carolina Panthers versus the Denver Broncos.

As a Maryland university minutes from Baltimore City, you’ll see people wearing purple for the Ravens more than any other color in support of any other team, so this year the overall game-day hype seems pretty tame. Nonetheless, people turn up to the SEB sponsored Super Bowl party. Why? Well if they weren’t there to watch the game, perhaps they were there to watch the commercials. Or to eat the free food. Or to watch the half-time show. Beyoncé anyone??

Whatever their reason, there’s a small crowd that appears as groups of friends claim their seats and their shares of wings and falafel (UMBC loves falafel). Lady Gaga belts out the national anthem while rocking some new snazzy hair-do, and kickoff soon follows. And…the game is on.

I’ll admit, I’m not a football fan, except when it comes to the Eagles, and even then, I’m a fairly reserved *whispers-whoo-hoo-under-my-breath* fan. With that being said, I’ll admit that this is the first year I’ve attended the Super Bowl party on campus. Thankfully, I was not let down. As a friend and I sat in the corner and caught up about life (love, and the inevitable pursuit of employment), refs called plays and people cheered sporadically, abruptly ending our conversation as we turned to the big screen to see what the fuss was all about. (If you watched the game and saw the beautiful, leaping touchdown, you too were blessed.) The atmosphere was tense, then chill, then tense, then chill. If you love football, you would have had a place at the party.

My favorite part was, of course, the half-time show. With Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars, how could it not be fabulous? We all made sure to scream extra-loudly for Beyoncé and her flaming entrance, which I was lucky enough to have caught on film (and I’m not usually very lucky when it comes to filming).

All in all, the party catered as much to those who need to scream at the screen to a player who clearly doesn’t see that so-and-so is open, as to those who just want to hear the game as they feverishly finish an assignment that’s due the next morning (yes, I saw you glasses-guy). Even I enjoyed the party!

— Anna Crow ’16

Creativity on Screen: MovieFest

TRW-Logo-New11Campus MovieFest rolled out the red carpet for 16 finalists in the world’s largest student movie festival. Students only had one week to create their films, and the talent of the UMBC community was evident in the films made. The 66 participants turned in approximately 30 films. Many students worked on multiple projects, increasing the opportunity for community collaboration.

Attendees were greeted by a red carpet before the event, although the actual red carpet was stuck in New Jersey, due to transportation issues. The filmmakers didn’t seem to mind. The Hallway in the ITE building buzzed with activity and excitement.

J.R. Hardman, the senior tour manager for CMF, felt very positive about the entries.

“There was a very strong presence,” she said. “The students came in a big way with talent.”

Read more at: Creativity on screen | The Retriever Weekly.

Block Party!

blockpartyTwo weeks ago, Resident Student Association, threw their annual Block Party event.

Block party is a carnival style event, with cotton candy, face painting, shaved ice, various types of games, food, and much more. During block party, each residential community sets up their own table and provides a game for everyone to participate in. This years theme was nautical, so everyone did some “sea” related. For example, Erickson Hall did organized a sand art table, where people came and decorated small bottles shaped like sand castles with different colored sand. Also, Walker Apartment did a boat sailing competition. Other halls did caramel apples, t-shirt/sock tie dye, and throwing darts at paint balls. Basically it was a afternoon/evening filled with a lot of fun.

Everyone, including, the RSA executive board, the Community Councils, and the advisers, put in a lot of hard work to make this event really big. However, the only problem was that there was a lack of advertising, therefore, not a lot of students were aware that Block Party was happening. Nonetheless, there were a lot of people that came and enjoyed themselves; the cotton candy and the caramel apples were a great hit!

Furthermore, there was a BBQ style dinner at True Grits. There was hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, black bean burgers, potato salad, and dessert.

Block Party was an event to bring together all the communities and most of the residential students in order to allow an evening of socialization. Like all other RSA events, this event was designed to strength the connections between all the communities in order to better  Residential Life. It was really fun and exciting to help organize, decorate, and take part in this great event.

To all prospective, and incoming students, if you want to be more involved in residential life and throw events like this and help advocate for residential students, then don’t hesitate to join the RSA!!

Read more at: Retriever Believers | Stories and Experiences from Current UMBC Students.

“Final Four” of Game Development

In a year of tremendous success in national competition — with UMBC teams vying for titles in the “final four” of men’s soccer and chess — another team of talented UMBC students is heading to a U.S. championship, this time in video game development. Microsoft is flying four Retrievers to San Francisco, where they will pitch their project to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in the software giant’s Imagine Cup worldwide technology competition.

UMBC’s students will compete against teams from the Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Houston and University of Southern California. The team that claims the national championship will compete internationally for the chance to bring its game to market and a prize of $50,000.

“Everybody is really excited about the game,” says Michael Leung ’16, computer science, the team’s lead, who has received congratulatory notes and well wishes from leaders across Maryland. UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski recently highlighted the team’s work in an opinion piece for CNBC, where he wrote, “As the students vie for the honor of representing the U.S. internationally, they’re also showing us the future of teaching, learning, and careers.”

The game, called HueBots, features vibrant, friendly robots of different colors designed by Erika Schumacher ’17, and animated by Jasmine Martin ’15. Both are visual arts students with an interactive media concentration. The concept, programming, and music are the work of Tad Cordle ’16, computer engineering, with assistance from Leung. The game asks players to solve a series of increasingly challenging puzzles that revolve around the bots’ affinity for color-matched objects in a maze.

“Even people who don’t like puzzle games like HueBots,” Leung shares. Martin reflects that the game is positive, friendly, fun, and engaging, in contrast to the other three games in the national finals, described with terms like “mortality,” “combat,” and “domination.”

The teammates met for the first time in Fall 2014 through UMBC’s Game Developer’s Club, mentored by computer science professor Marc Olano. Olano founded and oversees UMBC’s game development track in the computer science and electrical engineering department. He’s familiar with the Imagine Cup, having previously judged the competition’s game entries.

Read more at UMBC: Gaming Gets Real.

UMBC Kinetic Sculpture Race Kick-Off

URCAD15-8104Join us, April 29, as we send off our Kinetic Sculpture Race team as they prepare for the big race on Saturday, May 2.

The team will talk about what to expect from the race and discuss the features of their kinetic sculpture. They will also go into detail about the free rides provided the day of the race!

The actual race takes place Saturday, May 2 at 8 am at the American Visionary Arts Museum.

More information about the race:

via The 2015 UMBC Kinetic Sculpture Race Kick-Off · Undergraduate Research · myUMBC.

Run for SGA 2015-2016

By David Hoffman

by Craig Berger

Every undergraduate is a member of UMBC’s Student Government Association, but 20 students each year have the special privilege of organizing and supporting the others in making UMBC their own. Those 20 serve as elected officers of the Association: President, Executive Vice President, VP for Student Organizations, Treasurer, Senators (11) and Finance Board Representatives (5). (Read more about these positions here). Officer terms run for one year starting May 15th.

I hope you’ll consider applying to run for one of these positions for 2015-2016.

UMBC’s SGA has distinguished itself from others by getting beyond the standard “let’s pretend we’re politicians” model to make a real difference on campus. These positions offer a chance to work with others on initiatives that matter and can empower all students.

The application and election process is an open door, and I hope you’ll walk through it. You don’t need any experience; training and opportunities to learn come with these positions.

Applications are due Friday, March 27th at noon.

After the due date, all eligible candidates will receive more information via e-mail regarding next steps, including campaigning.

I serve as SGA’s staff advisor, and it’s a role I treasure because this SGA emphasizes using members’ gifts, energy, and relationships to create a platform for building a stronger UMBC community. It takes courage to make yourself vulnerable and to put your name and ideas in front of your peers, but I see so many students who take that risk and never look back, exploring issues and passions, forming friendships, and developing their confidence and sense of direction.

So check out the application, and if you have questions, contact me at or the Election Board Chair, Evan Leiter-Mason, at

I’ve been advising UMBC’s SGA for three and a half years, and each day I become more and more inspired by all that committed, courageous students can learn and accomplish together.


Co-Create UMBC is a blog for and about UMBC, written by David Hoffman and Craig Berger from the Office of Student Life. Join the Co-Create UMBC group on MyUMBC. Like Co-Create UMBC on Facebook. And follow David and Craig on Twitter.