Author: Nicholas Herrmann

My name is Nic Herrmann, and I hail from the great city of St. Louis, Missouri. I’m a communication major at Loyola, and in my free time I enjoy Frisbee, running, skiing, reading, and watching hockey. I hope you enjoy my blog!
Christmas on Campus: Round II

Christmas on Campus: Round II

This past Sunday, the second annual Christmas on Campus event got underway here at Loyola University Chicago.  Just like last year, Santa Claus made his special appearance, along with 40 Loyola student organizations.  All in all, over 130 Loyola students buddied up with over 100 Chicago Public School children to tour the Gentile Center-turned-Winter Wonderland.
Among the numerous activities filling the concourse of Gentile were snowflake making with the Loyola Ultimate Frisbee team, basketball dribbling drills with the Loyola Women’s basketball team, seed planting with the Growers’ Guild, the candy cane walk with SAE and many, many more activities.
Also adding to the festivities was the Loyola break team team SCORCH, who showcased their impressive dance moves, the Sandy Pilgrims, a local Loyola band who played a combination of Christmas classics and contemporary Christmas creations and Christmas-themed Zumba.
Perhaps the highlight of the day came when all of the students, Loyola and CPS, gathered together to watch Magician Chris Bohne perform his many impressive magic tricks, including an escape from handcuffs inside a locked trunk.
All in all, everyone went home, happy if not tired, from a day of holiday activities.  Many carried with them handmade creations from the day, but all carried with them memories, new friendships, and a generous Christmas spirit.
(Pictured above is the core team of Christmas on Campus planners; photo courtesy of Alex Boesch).
Thanksgiving with the Family

Thanksgiving with the Family

Thanksgiving.  During the year, probably the holiday I look forward to most.  This year, it had special meaning for me.  Of course, I had a chance to go home, but it was the first time I was able to be home with my two younger sisters since we all left for college.  In fact, it was the first time we were able to share a true family meal with this group of people in a long time.

My best friend (a family member, minus the DNA), the guy with the yellow shirt, was in Nicaragua all summer working with an organization called Amigos for Christ; building wells for those who need clean water.  Between his dedicated service in Central America and my internship up here in Chicago, we haven’t all been together since last Easter, which was a long time ago.

So this thanksgiving, besides the great food, family parties, football and hikes, I was especially grateful for the chance to reconnect.

Seasonal Appreciation

Seasonal Appreciation

As fall rolls around here in Chicago, I am fortunate enough to be able to experience the changing season.  For years now, fall has been my favorite season, and for good reason.  For me, fall represents family time, foliage, and of course, delicious food.  It is in the spirit of fall that I have created this list of my favorite fall flavors (and naturally, they are all pumpkin-related).

5) Pumpkin Cream Cheese- My favorite spread, regardless of season. Unfortunately the reality of the situation is that I can really only enjoy this flavor for 3 months out of the year.

4) Spiced Pumpkin Lattes- Dunkin’ Donuts has been my favorite creator of this fall drink, but I am always willing to give other coffee shops a chance to win over my taste buds. Typically, I try not to drink too much coffee, but these lattes make it difficult, and they hardly count as coffee anyways.

3) Pumpkin Muffins- Just like mom makes.  But really, my favorite muffins are the ones that my mom makes.  Our course, there is a little bit of bias, but they really are the best way to start a morning.

2) Pumpkin Pie- This dessert has been a staple for me since I was a kid.  No matter the various selection of pies at my family Thanksgiving party, I always choose pumpkin pie, and I am never disappointed.

1) Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream- In the interest of full disclosure, this fall is the first time I tasted this delicious Ben and Jerry’s creation.  However, it took no more than a few bites to win me over.  I recommend this snack at any point of the day and any time you have a chance to indulge.

If any of these flavors come new to you, I recommend you find a way to try them.  Of course, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Filling the Void

Filling the Void

For all of the hockey fans who are really looking to fill the gigantic gap another NHL lockout has left, I can relate. An avid fan myself, I have had a difficult time finding a remedy to my hockey lockout blues. In fact, it are days like today when I miss coming home after a long day of school and watching the slick shots, heavy hits and stunning saves on NHL.com. However, I have found at least a few things to divide my time between, and the nice part is, these double as tools to relaxation during test/exam season here at Loyola.

1) Parks and Recreation– A fan from episode one, I have not found a funnier show on television today. Parks and Rec, as the aficionados call it, mixes an eclectic cast of quotable characters together in a small town, Indiana government department (the parks and recreation department, of course). Throughout the show, the characters find themselves in odd situations, often times at odds with each other. The reason I am such a huge fan is because of the balance of content and humor, and also, the type of humor. There is a clear story line in each episode, and there is always a protagonist, a small, seemingly insignificant problem, and a whole bunch of true characters who try (or try to avoid) solving the problem. The humor is often witty, quick, and usually at the expense of someone else’s dignity. If you can’t tell, I highly recommend this show.

2) Arrested Development– I must admit, I was let down by the first few episodes of the Fox TV show.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like the show, but rather, I didn’t understand it.  However, a few episodes in, I realized that Arrested Development hinges on the strange and silly occurrences that lead the Bluth family from where they are in the beginning of the show to where they end up in the end.  The humor is not as obvious as it is in other shows on TV today, but it can easily be found in the sheer wackiness of the situations the characters find themselves in.  Plus, each episode is only 20 minutes on Netflix, so it fits neatly into all of the crazy schedules college students have.

3) Top Shot– This show is considerably different than the two previous.  For one, this show can be found on the History Channel’s website, which says a little bit of something about the show.  The neat part about this show is that it is reality TV without the reality.  The show consists of 2 teams made up of some of the best gun shooters around the world.  While on the show, the teams compete at a number of very difficult looking competitions, sometimes with weapons no one has ever used (tomahawks anyone?).  As contestants are eliminated (based on a voting system), the teams get smaller, until there are just two shooters left.  The winner gets $50,000, and the loser walks away looking without money, but definitely looking like one bad apple.  This show is great when looking for that sense of competition lacking from no hockey.

Here are a few shows I find enjoyable, and I hope you can too. Hopefully by the time I get to the season finales hockey will be back in action. Hopefully.

Sports Fan 101

Sports Fan 101

Something I have come to appreciate over the course of the past two plus years here at Loyola is the diversity of classes that are offered.  In fact, I find myself writing this fully willing to admit that my favorite class this semester is something that I picked spontaneously after I realized I would have to drop another class for time conflict purpose.  The class: is called Communication 364 Sports Journalism, but it may as well be called Sports Fan 101.

As made apparent by some of my earlier posts, I would consider myself a sports fan.  Though, I am partial to St. Louis based teams, I always enjoy a good game, even at the expense of my favorite teams.  So, I felt like sports journalism would be a good class for me to take, as I might be able to gather an understanding of how the trade works.

I knew from the first few minutes in class that I would be enjoying this section very much.  My teacher is Dan McGrath.  If that name sounds familiar, it is because he was the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune for 13 years.  One of my philosophies is that when teaching, first-hand knowledge of the field is nearly essential.  It does not get more first-hand than Professor McGrath.

Professor McGrath began by outlining the purpose of the class: to learn how to analyze a game, write a column, support an opinion, and look for a story line, among other things.  He explained that the format of the class would be mostly conversational, and that homework would include reading and writing articles on various topics.

I do not hesitate to admit that the five other students in the class probably know more about sports in general than I, but Professor McGrath made it clear that this class would meet each student where they are at.  He was also very good to acknowledge we all have different interests and therefore we will be able to choose from an option of writing topics.

The assignment for the first week was to watch the Bears-Packers game and write a column about it.  That’s right.  The homework was to watch Thursday night football.  After watching a grueling game, I wrote on my article on dropped balls and penalties being the reason for the loss.  I felt like a write for a major sports network because I applied to tips he had taught me and followed the format he gave.  I felt good about being able to construct a logical argument about a subjective topic.

Class the following week consisted of conversations about the game, our thoughts and opinions, and a chance to talk about important turning points in the game.  As a sports fan, I felt like I was having a well-informed discussion about a game I enjoy watching; I had forgotten that I was in class.  Those are the best type of classes.

In future classes, we will be covering concussions in sports, steroids, lockouts, and various other sports-related topics and as a sports fan, I am happy I found this class.

Night Trip to Milwaukee

Night Trip to Milwaukee

One of the nice parts about being in the city of Chicago is the access to other cool cities that are located just a short drive away.  Among those cool cities is Milwaukee, and this summer I had the opportunity to drive up to Milwaukee for a St. Louis Cardinal baseball game.

There were many “best parts” about this game: the cheap tickets ($2 dollars on StubHub, if interested in baseball, you should seriously check this out), the good friends that accompanied me, even the brats at the ballpark.  However, the actual “best part” would probably have to be the fact that one can drive from Chicago to Milwaukee in under 2 hours, which means that my friends and I were able to travel up to a baseball game on a weekday night, catch a 7 PM game, and get back to Chicago for work the next morning.  It really doesn’t get more ideal than that.

Sure, their are toll that must be paid on the trip in and out (and those add up), but for a chance to catch your home team steal a victory at one of its rivals ballpark, it is well worth the drive.  Something else that was cool is the stadium itself.  Unlike Wrigley or US Cellular field (or Busch for all those Cardinals fans), Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, is isolated outside of the city and is surrounded by miles of parking lots.  In fact, it almost reminded me of a football stadium with vast stretches of parking and tailgaters.   As a fan of baseball, I like having a chance to get to new stadiums in new cities, and as a fan of Chicago, I like the access to the many cities, stadiums and baseball.

By the way, the Cardinals came back in the 9th inning to win the game, which was a perfect cap to a great evening.

Free

Free

If there is one thing a college student likes to hear, it is the word “free“.  Free is great, especially for penny-pinching, savings-savvy college students looking to get through the year by tapping into free meals offered all over campus.  Thus I have create a list of things going on at Welcome Week at WTC this August, highlighting the “free“.

August 22: Pizza Wars is a popular Loyola event where Loyola students have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Chicago-style pizza.  Pizzerias participating include Giodano’s, Connie’s, Go Roma, Pizzeria Uno and Pizano’s.  Pizza is free and good times are guaranteed.

August 23: Trolley Tours is a free chance to see the beautiful city of Chicago while on a historically popular trolley. Learn information about Chicago you never knew, and then use it to impress your friends and family next time they are here for a visit.

August 26: “The Avengers,” the summer blockbuster hit, will be screened in the Lawson Center parking lot for all Loyola students.  This begs only one question: Who wouldn’t want to see a free outdoor movie while enjoying free Garrett’s Popcorn?

August 27: Trailblazer Reception is a great opportunity for incoming Loyola transfer students to come enjoy the WTC campus while meeting staff and faculty from Loyola.  This is a great way for transfer students to meet other students here at Loyola while enjoying free food and drinks.

August 30: Block Party is the grand finale of the WTC welcome week events.  Hosted at Rush and Pearson (next to Corboy, Terry Student Center and the Communication School), the block party features many fun activities, such as free henna tattoos, Michael Jackson Experience on Wii and free caricature paintings.  Plenty of free food and local treats will also be provided.  What Loyola student does not like free food?

Like I said before, there are many enjoyable events that WTC plans at no expense to Loyola students.  I certainly hope students will come down here and appreciate all of the great opportunities to engage the Water Tower Campus and their free enjoyment.  But if not, it’s just more free food for me.

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago

Having been in Chicago for more than a month now, I can really begin to understand what everyone means when they say: “You must live in Chicago during the summer.”  I thought my home town of St. Louis was an interesting place to spend my summer breaks; however it pales in comparison to its big Midwest brother.

Last Thursday, I checked out the largest festival Chicago has to offer, appropriately titled: “Taste of Chicago”.  Among many other things, “Taste” is the premier event for food-loving aficionados who happen to be in Chicago during the early part of July.  Traditionally a ten-day festival that begins around the Fourth of July, “Taste” underwent some changes this year in an effort to increase numbers.  These changes included shortening the event to a five-day celebration (July11-15), as well as cutting back on the amount of food vendors invited to participate (complete rersturant list here).

Though the vendors may have been less in number than in years past, the food quality was of no concern.  Amongst the food vendors stood some Chicago pillars, such as Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Cubby Bear, and Gold Coast Dogs.  Dessert was served too, with Chicago favorites like Eli’s Cheesecake and Original Rainbow Cone in attendance.  Picky eaters need not be concerned with limited selection because a wide variety of cultures are represented at “Taste”, including Mexican, Jamacan, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and many more.  But even with some of the best food in the city, “Taste” is so much more than a food festival.

The icing on the cake for all “Taste” attendees is the concerts that play on the large, open fields of Grant Park.  Creating the inseparable bond of delicious food and great music, big-name musicians provide the evening’s entertainment.  This year, names like Jennifer Hudson, Luke James, Michael Franti, Calexico, Dierks Bentley, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Death Cab for Cutie all turned out to play for the 1.2 million “Taste”-comers this year.  For an up-close-and-personal experience with the bands, seats could be bought for around $25 dollars, but for those who don’t mind enjoying their pulled pork sandwiches and watermelon on the lawn, seating was free.

So, if you dare to bare the heat and mingle with some million-something people while enjoying the cities best food and a wide variety of music, the Taste of Chicago, is an event you should put on your 2013 calendar.  After all, it is the largest food festival in the world.

Welcome Week Activites

Welcome Week Activites

The first few my internship has provided me with ample opportunity for learning and appreciating.  Tasked with working in with Water Tower Campus Life, I have a great opportunity to learn about all of the perks to living at the Water Tower Campus.  In an effort to bring to light all of the great opportunities the Water Tower Campus offers, I will talk about the programs planned for next year as well as the many perks to living downtown.

Welcome Week, as almost all Loyola Students can attest to, is a great opportunity to learn about all Loyola does for its students. Traditionally, Welcome Week is full of games, scavenger hunts, free food from local venders, prizes and raffles, free merchandise, and escapades around the city.

What isn’t quite as well known around Loyola is the Welcome Week Activities hosted at the Water Tower Campus, the other main Loyola campus located minutes from the Magnificent Mile.  As someone who has traditionally fallen into this less-informed category of students, I want to make sure all Loyola students know that this Welcome Week invitation extends to everyone on the Lake Shore Campus.  Furthermore, this is an opportunity for continued free food and merchandise, things Loyola students hardly ever pass up.  Here is just a brief list of the activities going on at Water Tower Campus this year for Welcome Week:

Pizza Wars: 8.22- 7PM
A chance to taste many different local Chicago pizzas.  Some Pizzerias partaking in the on the list include Connie’s, Pizano’s, Giordano’s, Pizzeria Uno, Go Roma and More!
Trolley Tours: 8.23- 2PM and 4PM
Take a tour around the scenic and historic Chicago downtown area.  Some locations on the list include the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building and of course
Outdoor Movie 8.26- 7:30PM
Located in the Lawson parking Lot (Pearson and State), WTCL will be screening The Avengers.
Trail Blazer Reception: 8.27- 4PM
A reception for all transfer and commuter students as a welcome into this Loyola community
Labre Ministries: 8.28-  6PM
Part of living in Chicago at a Jesuit school is giving back to the community.  Join Labre Ministry as they feed and interact with the homeless around the Chicago area.
Block Party: 8.30- 11-2PM
Exactly what it sounds like.  A block party in the middle of downtown Chicago to celebrate the onset of a new academic year.

Loyola in the Summer

Loyola in the Summer

Readers,

My apologies for being away for such a long while, however I am back now and excited to be back on the blogosphere.  To start, let me catch up on my life and the fun activities I have been involved with.

Firstly, the first 6 weeks of summer I spent recovering from finals, catching up with friends, hanging out with family and eating the delicious foods home never ceases to offer.

Now though, I have started a new summer project, a project that will help me better appreciate this Loyola community that has brought me so much joy.

I have been fortuned with an internship opportunity here at school that allows me to meet with directors of various student development departments so that I understand their roles, and appreciate their service to the university.  I also have the opportunity to work within two departments and assist with some projects they are working on.  These two departments are the Center for Community Service and Action and Water Tower Campus Life.

As a student blogger and liaison to the flow of information here at Loyola, I will spend these next couple weeks blogging about the great people and great opportunities this university offers.  I hope you can learn about all of the exciting events going on here at Loyola as I relay the information.