How the pandemic gave us hands-on learning opportunities

Pre-pandemic, Chemistry professor Matthew Gage’s day-to-day life focused on teaching chemistry and running student labs focused on course material. His research was primarily dedicated to bacteria, proteins and fungi, not viruses. That all changed in 2020.

Professor Gage’s expertise in laboratory sciences made him the perfect person to head up an on-site COVID-19 testing and surveillance laboratory. Since last fall, he has been working alongside a handful of students to ensure the campus infection rate is monitored and controlled. Their work is one of the main reasons why UMass Lowell’s positivity rate continues to be low.

The best part? The students in the lab are getting a truly enhanced and critical hands-on-learning experience. By turning the unexpected into an opportunity, they embody what it means to be a River Hawk. And you can, too. We’re here to give you the tools and support you need to tackle the unexpected. We’ll guide you every step of the way as you make strides to a brighter future beyond this pandemic.

Check this out: 275 clubs and counting: Here’s where you can find them

What’s online learning really like?

what's online learning really like?

Like many colleges and universities, UMass Lowell converted most instruction this fall to online formats. We know that switching to online learning is a cause of concern for many, but we’ve also been leaders in online education for over 25 years – so we’ve had time to get pretty good at it.

As proof, I talked with Professor Keith Mitchell about how supports his online students.

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Self-Care Sunday: Staying active and healthy with household items

staying active and healthy diy gym household items

Staying active at this time is a big ask for most of us. But it’s probably the highest-ranking self-care task you can do for yourself. Some good news: UML’s Campus Recreation Center (a.k.a. CRC or the Campus Rec Center) has you covered.

Certified Functional Strength Coach and CRC Fitness Instructor, Rebecca Olivieri (who is also working on Ph.D. in Physical Therapy at UML), recorded herself doing a fitness routine with everyday household items.

Don’t have a full gym in your house? No problem.

Rebecca’s DIY gym is fantastic. You’ll be able to get your heart rate going—easy-peasy—with these five exercises that target your core, legs and arms.

Our videographer, Alfonso, spruced up the video so you could follow along.

Staying active with household items: The Routine

There are five exercises in this routine. Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one.

Once you finish 12 reps of all five exercises, rest for 60 seconds. This should be an active rest for recovery—don’t come to a complete stop. You don’t need to do anything intense—light movement will work (walk around a bit, step side to side, etc.).

You should work through the routine three times all together. Obviously, only workout within your comfort range and ability—don’t feel bad about doing less reps or taking a longer break after you finish the five exercises.

1. Single Arm Swings

What you’ll need: A jug of laundry detergent

How many reps: 12

2. Backpack Squats

What you’ll need: Your backpack filled with some textbooks

How many reps: 12

3. Backpack Good Mornings

What you’ll need: Your backpack filled with some textbooks

How many reps: 12

4. Canned Food High Plank Stacking

What you’ll need: Two cans of food

How many reps: 12

5. Basketball Russian Twists

What you’ll need: A basketball, soccer ball, volleyball or something similar

How many reps: 12

Check out more of Alfonso’s videos.

Good luck. You got this. See you next week!

Miss last week’s Self-Care Sunday? Catch up here.

Shift in seasons

There’s a transformation happening at UML.

In what feels like a very sudden change, like Mother Nature flipping a switch, the beautiful green spaces on campus are now full of bright reds, oranges and yellows.

Orange is the new green and fall has arrived in full-force to UMass Lowell.

Fortunately, my colleague, Alfonso, was able to catch the shift in the seasons. Enjoy!

Like this video? Check out more from Alfonso.

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Let them eat grass

There were over 100 sheep on the UML campus a few weeks ago.

No lie, for every sheep that was on campus, I *herd* a sheep/goat/lamb pun (which is to be expected working in an office with creative and fun people). But the sheep weren’t here so everyone in my office could make puns, at least, that wasn’t the only reason.

They were here on a working lunch.

UML Facilities hired Goats-To-Go in an effort to find a sustainable, safe and cost-effective way to maintain the green areas of campus that are difficult for humans to get to (think areas overrun with bees, poison ivy and gopher holes).

But what ~we~ thought of as a sustainable solution was, in reality, the biggest all-you-can-eat salad bar on campus to these sheep.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see them in action, but my coworker, Alfonso, pulled through with this great video.

Like this video? Check out more from Alfonso.

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Colors of spring

I’ll just leave this here for everyone who feels like this cold and rainy spring was some kind of sick joke. On the plus side, this is what we get in New England when it rains 20 days straight.

Props to my colleague, Alfonso, for making this video and restoring my faith in the world.

Spring has arrived at UML. It’s. About. Time.

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