All posts by Luke Larkham

Post pandemic Spring Jam a success

NECC’s first Spring Jam since April 2019 came to fruition last month, drawing over 300 people to the Haverhill campus outside and inside the fitness and sports center. The annual resource fair offered food, games, activities, and information on the array of extracurriculars and programs NECC has to offer.

 The resource fair was spread out on a clear spring afternoon, with outdoor activities such as tie-dye hosted by the art club, mini-golf, and an obstacle course by the U.S Army. Students could find even more activities within the gym, with over 35 tables hosted by a variety of different organizations and clubs alongside free lunch and desserts.

 “Everything did go as planned, and I think that is due to setting a lot of time out to plan and get all the tasks done ahead of time […] I had no idea how many [people] to plan for and I guessed 300 but was not sure at all due to not doing this event for the past 2 years due to the pandemic,” said Stephanie Haskell, a key organizer of the event.

 In the end, Haskell guessed that there were well over 300 attendees based on food plates and crowd size before and after lunch was served.

 In addition to free food, games, and apparel, Spring Jam offered student interest forms to get emailed reminders for club meetings and other related news.

 “We did get to talk to a lot of students, and we had 14 people fill out the SGA interest form […] Many students came over and won plenty of prizes, and we have plenty left over for future events. I loved being able to communicate with students, and surprisingly, the games got students to ask more about what SGA does,” said Franziska Hoene, vice president of NECC’s student government association (SGA).

 Hoene, among other SGA members, hosted a carnival theme table with a variety of different games like spring the wheel and skeeball. In addition, the gym housed henna and caricature artists to attract as many students as possible.

 Janel D’Agata-Lynch, NECC’s civic engagement, and service-learning coordinator, also played a key role in organizing volunteer opportunities for students.

 “My office reached out to community organizations that have volunteering opportunities, as well as services that may be of interest to our students. We also helped with marketing Spring Jam to the NECC community and assisted with finding volunteers and securing snacks from Cedars Foods,” said  D’Agata-Lynch.

D’Agata-Lynch’s work allowed for local organizations like the YMCA, Lazarus house, and Community action to offer students opportunities to get involved in their local communities beyond campus.



Student Government election met with lackluster particpation

Northern Essex’s Student Government Elections came to a close on March 3, with just 44 NECC student votes counted. The special election filled five positions on the board; however, two positions remain vacant.

 “In the past, I remember seeing low voting numbers, but it was always at least 100 votes. Some students voted more than once, and some students who are not enrolled tried to vote, but 44 is the final count after taking those votes that don’t count out,” said Stephanie Haskell, SGA adviser and election organizer.

 Voter turnout is a drastic shift from previous years. For example, in 2020, all candidates needed at least 50 student nominators just to appear on the ballot. However, the board has some theories as to why these numbers were so low.

 “The voting period was shorter than we usually have, and the voting numbers showed that […] This was the first time using Microsoft Forms instead of Google forms since we now have this available through our college account. We wonder if some students didn’t vote because they had to verify their account,” said Haskell.

 Despite the low turnout, SGA election results have been shared via social media and NECC’s weekly email updates. The winners included President Franziska Hoene, Programing Chair of Lawrence Ozgur Sutlu, Programing Chair of Haverhill Sarah Pachano, Marketing Chair Toni Pavao and Secretary MacKenzie Lio-MacDougall.

 “When I found out that I won the election, I was in shock, and then I became super excited. I am glad that I won because of all the work I get to do for SGA,” said new SGA President Franziska Hoene. 

 Hoene’s new position as president has left her former position as vice president of the Haverhill campus vacant. This is the second currently vacant position alongside treasurer, which had no runners this past election.

 “Currently, the main things I am working on is the Golden Lamp Award and the NECC wifi problem,” said Hoene.

 This past election also welcomed three new members onto the SGA board, including Programming Chair of Lawrence Ozgur Sutlu, Programing Chair of Haverhill Sarah Pachano, and Secretary MacKenzie Lio-MacDougall.

 “Franziska has been a great president already, and Stephanie Haskell is an amazing adviser […] I wanted to contribute and participate in the school, and I know my strengths, and I thought I could be more of service in the programming chair or marketing,” said new Programming Chair Haverhill Sarah Pachano.

 Students interested in becoming a member can find information via SGA’s blackboard page under student life on Additional election news will be available through NECC’s weekly email updates and @neccsga and @neccstudentlife.


New England’s agricultural fairs are back after a year hiatus

Topsfield and Deerfield had a taste of fried dough and normalcy early this month with the return of their long-awaited annual agricultural fairs. 

However, after the global pandemic forced the tradition to a halt this time last year, many feel that there needs to be precautions.

“It’s definitely a big concern. We’ve always had dozens and dozens of handwashing stations and hand sanitizing stations, but those numbers even increased this year.” According to David Thomson, head of public relations for the Topsfield Fair. 

The town of Topsfield has even gone as far as to institute a mask mandate for inside buildings. Deerfield, on the other hand, was ready to throw caution to the wind. 

“If people wanted to go in a building, it was up to them if they wanted to wear a mask or not. It’s such an open-air event […] pedestrian traffic goes one direction, they weren’t butting into people face first.” said Vice President of the Deerfield Fair, Richard Pitman.

Although according to some fairgoers, the pedestrian traffic Pitman refers to may be misleading. 

“Crowd movement was unpredictable and felt unorganized, it was hard to tell where one line started and the other ended,” said fairgoer and NECC student Ava Tavares.

Covid protocols aren’t the only hindrance caused by the pandemic this year. 

Thomson went on to say that “we lost some vendors. A few of them have gone out of business because of the pandemic, and others just weren’t able to get staffing in order to run their booth.”

Lost costs were a heavy hit for fairs last year, and with supply chain shortages, the typical high prices associated with fairs like these were even higher this year. 

“We’ve been fortunate that we got everything we need because we planned ahead but the prices have gone up, in some cases dramatically.” said Thomson. 

 “We didn’t know what to expect so we just went full speed ahead, it cost us a lot of money to not open last year because we still have to pay taxes, insurance, labor, maintenance. So we had a big amount to recoup here.” said Pitman 

One thing the pandemic hasn’t affected is turnout. More than 114,000 people attended the Deerfield Fair, and the Topsfield Fair saw a turnout of approximately 500,000.