The NH Holiday Poll

December 20, 2013

Granite State Poll logo

New Hampshire’s WMUR-TV sponsored a poll, recently conducted by the UNH Survey Center, that measured New Hampshire residents’ holiday travel plans, whether or not residents plan to have a real or artificial Christmas tree (or any tree at all), and whether or not they expect a white Christmas.

The results are in!

Most Granite Staters will stay at home over the holidays–either as a “staycation” or working. If they have a Christmas tree, it will likely be a real tree. And to complete the traditional New England Christmas scene, most think we will have snow at Christmas.

Read the poll results.

Music Alum Works as Composer for Online Video Game “Poptropica”

December 13, 2013
Jeff Heim in his Dover, NH studio

Jeff Heim in his Dover, NH studio

Jeff Heim ’11 is a film and video game composer currently living in Dover, N.H. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music theory from UNH. He is the composer for the popular educational kids game Poptropica, an online role-playing game owned by Pearson, PLC, the global publishing and education company. Poptropica was created by Jeff Kinney, the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Heim explains how he landed this fascinating job:

“During my sophomore year at UNH in 2008, I invested in some sampled orchestral instruments and a midi sequencer for the purpose of writing faster and getting a better sound quality for my compositions. The new sampled instruments, which are pre-recorded by live musicians and programmed for use on the computer, also enabled me to begin uploading music online, allowing for more exposure. By the beginning of my junior year, I had uploaded about 30 short pieces of music on an entertainment and social media website (popular among indie game developers) called Newgrounds, and for the first time in my life I began working with young developers on low-budget video games. At the start of my senior year I began composing music for independent game developer Bart Henderson on a game currently in development called “Underverse.” Bart really pushed me to get a better sound, often rejecting music over and over again until it met his expectations.

“Last year in the fall of 2012, opportunity struck. Turns out that Bart was a programmer working for Pearson, and there was discussion about adding music and sound to Poptropica, which was released back in 2007 without sound because of overall lower computer capabilities. Bart had already put in a good word for me and timing could not have been better. A struggling composer at the time, working several low-paying retail jobs, I was thrilled. During the next few weeks I worked on a few demo tracks, which were very well-received, and I was offered the composing job. Since this past February I have written over 100 short music loops between 30 seconds and two minutes in length, each intended for a specific scene in the game. Of the expanding list of 35 existing islands, two islands have been released with music (including 24 Carrot Island and the more recent Virus Hunter Island), with many more to come.”

Poptropica is geared toward children ages 6 to 15. Players can go to different islands, compete in multiplayer games, and communicate with each other. Players are given several quests, called islands, which they are encouraged to complete. Poptropica was officially launched in September 2007 and it has grown to have over 500 million registered users as of October 19, 2012 (35 million of whom are in the 6-15 age group). Poptropica is free to play.

You can listen to samples of the music for Poptropica on Soundcloud at, and you can find more of Heim’s music at

The full version of this story by Susan Adams originally appeared in the Music Department’s Alumni Newsletter 2013.

COLA Website Nominated for a Pixel Award

December 9, 2013

COLA website homepage

The College of Liberal Arts website has been selected as a 2013 nominee for the 8th Annual Pixel Awards. Competing in the Students and Schools category, is one of only five websites nominated in the category. Web Solutions and College of Liberal Arts staff collaborated for over a year to produce this dynamic, engaging website on the Drupal platform.

The Pixel Awards take a fresh look at the best on the web and mobile. The awards honor compelling apps and sites that have shown excellence in design and development. Awards are given in 32 diverse categories. In addition to juried awards, Pixels are awarded in a people’s choice contest. To help the College of Liberal Arts win a “People’s Champ” award, please visit every day until December 20 and vote for the College of Liberal Arts!

First Student Art Sale Set for Dec. 5

December 3, 2013

student art

by Jody Record, from Campus Journal

If you’re looking for handmade gifts for the holidays, don’t miss the first  annual student art sale Thursday, Dec. 5, from 1-6 p.m., at the Paul Creative Arts Center.

What started as an idea to sell student-made pottery has grown to include paintings, prints, wood sculptures and photographs. Handmade greeting and holiday cards painted by art students will also be available for purchase.

The event is being organized by six  fellowship students in the art department: Brianna Smith, Katie Bogosian, Forrest Elliot, Kayla Granoff, Jennifer Lamontagne, and Elizabeth Curry.

“The other fellowship students and I have really been trying to develop a stronger sense of community in the art department, and we are hoping that this will be a good bonding experience for all of us,” Smith says. “It also will be the first opportunity that many of us have had to sell our own work.”  Smith’s oil paintings will be for sale.

All profits will go to the artists.

Submissions are open to all art majors. The works will be displayed in the PCAC lobby and hallways.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to share our ceramics program with the university community, as well as an opportunity for students to gain experience selling their work. Throughout the course of the semester as a group we decided to broaden the sale to all mediums of art within our department,” says Kayla Granoff, whose ceramics will be for sale.

Live music will be performed by music students. Refreshments will be served.

Read more here.

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