Brain Booth works as a library lifesaver

By Christine Harris
Flapjack staff

Students and faculty at HSU have been on campus for four weeks now. Some of us are already experiencing the stress and overwhelmed feelings that accompany getting back into our school routines. Most likely in the next few weeks our classes will have back to back tests, a presentation, and a huge group project that will be due at the end of the semester and count for most of our grade. Also, don’t forget about your job or multiple jobs, and the internship. Overall these coming weeks probably are not going to have a lot of “you time,” but don’t worry the library is here to save us.

You are thinking, “The library really? How could they possibly save me from not stressing?”

Two words — Brain Booth.

The Library Brain Booth is a new addition to the many resources the library has to offer its students and staff. It is a program that is helping and teaching those who visit how to take mindful brain breaks. Inside the rooms, there are a variety of activities and resources available to those who come.

The Brain Booth offers  six stations for people to participate in; Biofeedback Station, Relaxation and Contemplation Station, Gaming Station, Virtual Reality Station, and a Light Therapy Station and Recommended Reading Section ( For the Virtual Reality station the Brain Booth does ask that you bring your own phone). This program is new to our campus and has been going on since the beginning of September.

The event is sponsored by the HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation and the Office of Research, Economics and Community Development. Marissa Mourer, librarian for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, is one of the people in charge of the study. She explained the idea behind having the Brian Booth at Humboldt.

“I have had students come up to me after class or when I’m at the Help Desk in the library very flustered and overwhelmed, and they tell me they find it difficult to unplug from their day to day tasks,” Mourer said. “So I want to teach students that taking mindful brain breaks can refresh us.”

brain-booth-copyThe web page for the Brain Booth states under the “research study” tab that “observational research is being conducted to identify levels of engagement with activities, technologies, and exhibits for all Library Brain Booth visitors.” Mourer said that since it is all anonymous work she is unable to verbally asks students how they feel after participating. However, she stated that she had a gentleman who self-reported to her after being in the Brain Booth that it was exactly what he needed.

Emily Baker, a 24-year-old kinesiology student, said she enjoyed the Gaming Station.

“I liked the game that is at the Gaming Station because while it was relaxing it helps and improves hand coordination and motor learning,” Baker said.

Ryan Sendejas, 29-year-old environmental studies major, said he came to do one of his favorite activities.

“I came out of curiosity,” he stated. “Also I like to color and I saw that that they had a station that has coloring.”

Will both of them come back to Brain Booth? They both said they definitely would.

“It’s my second time coming to Brain Booth, so I’m pretty sure I’ll keep coming back,” Sendejas said.

Mourer expressed that her favorite section is the Biofeedback Station where she uses the Heart Rate Variability machine to help her concentrate on her breathing and increase heart rate variability from lowest to highest heart rate.

The Brain Booth is available to students and staff in the Library on Wednesdays from ten am to noon in room 114, and on Thursdays from one pm to three pm in room 208. If you are unable to attend the Brain Booth through its available hours, they provide outside resources in the library for students.

“Because the Brain Booth is only available four hours a week I wanted to allow students who are interested, but unable to attend during our hours, the opportunity to still access some of our tools,” Mourer said. “Also they can use these tools if they don’t want to be a part of the study. Overall it is for the pure benefit of the students.”

Some of the outside tools include the Meditation Room, a collection of DVDs and books, and new FitDesks that are located on the second floor of the library.

The Brain Booth will continue through the semester, Mourer said.

“It will be based on interest and the traffic that it gets,” she said. “But our main focus is the support of mindfulness in the academic library for our students.”

Humboldt students go clubbing on a weekday

By Cara Peters
Flapjack staff

The Clubs Office of Humboldt State University held the Clubs Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Organizations ranging from the Acro-Yoga Club to the Society of Women Engineers filled the campus quad in an effort to advertise and make new recruits.

Hosted at the beginning of every semester, the fair allows club-leaders to promote their groups, while enabling students to explore HSU campus culture.

Molly Kresl, coordinator for clubs and activities on campus, organized the Clubs Fair and feels strongly about its positive impact on the student-body.

“We host clubs fairs so students can see all the opportunities for involvement and engage with our community,” Kresl explained. “Humboldt is a unique community, far away from where many of our students call home. Clubs often become a second home and connection to this community.”

The Queer Student Union was one of many clubs tabling at the event. Wren Brokema, Queer Community Building Coordinator for the Multi-Cultural Center, represented the QSU table.

“What we really do in the QSU is provide a space for queer people to connect with others like them,” Brokema said“More than anything, we want queer people to feel accepted on campus by giving them a kind and loving support system.”

With 75 organizations present, many found ways to attract and entertain students. The Humboldt Circus Club hosted juggling demonstrations and invited peers to join in. The Marching Lumberjacks formed what is best described as a five-man moshpit, fist-pumping, chanting, and even striking up a brass instrument. Outdoor speakers provided by KRFH blasted early ’90s hip-hop, which helped set the fair’s lively atmosphere.

“It’s fun out here!” said Jack Gates, a 22-year-old critical race and gender studies major. “There’s good music and a lot of friendly people. Plus, it’s a great environment for shy students, because it gives them an excuse to approach tables and meet new people.”

A full list of Humboldt State University clubs and their contact information is here.

YAMS Syndicate bringing light to local musicians

By Sean Bendon
Flapjack staff

 In a dark room full of noisy college students, a band prepares to take the stage and perform in the first YAMS show of the semester. They are called Al Gorgeous, and like their band name states, they are all dressed gorgeously, bearing signs of college influence and peer acceptance.

The lead guitar player, Leo Plummer, is the organizer of the event and the co-founder of the YAMS syndicate. He is a 22-year-old music major at Humboldt State University and he’s making a growing impact in the local Arcata music scene.

Working with co-founder Jonny Woods, Plummer has been steadily organizing events under the YAMS name for around six month, starting in early 2016. He wanted to bring the local scene closer and find a way to support live music through the many venues Arcata has to offer.

In the beginning Plummer and Woods gained strife for having a cover charge.

“We’ve always charged covers for our shows and at first people had really adverse reactions to paying for shows,” Plummer stated.

However, now that the shows have gained a steady following, the reaction to the cover charge is shifting to a more positive one.  

HSU student Jacob Partida, 19, was happy to see the YAMS show at Blondies.

“A lot of good things are coming out of it,” Partida commented. “ It’s good to see people working hard to make good things.

The YAMS syndicate has actually held seven shows in the last four and a half months, shifting locations between Blondies and local Eureka bars like the Siren Song. Each event holds a wide variety of artists, but are sometimes 21+, which lead to smaller crowds.

The main goal of YAMS is to help promote and support local music by charging a suggested donation of five dollars. While it is not much to ask, any donation goes directly to the artist and helping these YAMS shows continue.

The show was packed to the door. Many faces were familiar and the atmosphere was buzzing lightly. The first few weeks of the new semester had passed and everyone was more comfortable.

Naoki Omatsu, a 21-year-old art studio student, found his way to the show through the YAMS Facebook page. 

“I heard about the show through Facebook and word of mouth,” Omatsu added.

The YAMS Facebook is the main way to find out information on the group.

Blondies offers an open mic for open minds

By Lukas Henderson
Flapjack staff

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A pitbull plays with a Jack Russell terrier on the smoking patio in front of Blondies Food and Drink at the start of Thursday night’s open mic event. The venue’s proximity to the laundromat and vast beer selection make this place an ideal hangout spot for college students who enjoy multi-tasking.

“We’re a main stop for college students throughout the week,” longtime employee and Humboldt State Student Jade Reano says while she taps the Emerald Triangle keg. “But on Thursdays, the students don’t just grab a quick beer and sandwich while doing laundry. The whole atmosphere shifts during open mic nights. There is a very special artistic vibe that is very apparent.”

As this was said, the atmosphere did in fact shift dramatically. The people who had been playing up until this point had been mainly bluegrass, folk, and low key background type music. Little did we know we were being visited by a wizard.

“We are Visitor 10 a time traveling apocalyptic wizard who practices alchemy.”

A man in baggy Mad Max-looking apparel took the stage, SSengam Niloc. He had no shortage of gadgets hanging from his pants, and a briefcase that was set on a table. This brief case happened to be a portable sound mixing station. He began talking in and out of lucid speech that left an uneasy and mysterious feeling in the room. When the beat actually hit, the unsure onlookers immediately brightened up.  His backing tracks layered with his excellent flow and powerful subject matter. His first song was performed by him and his alter ego, hence the “we” in the introduction of himself. He would swap a skeleton mask for a raggedy hat to signify his transformation between his alter egos.

“I died a long time ago. Happy daily birthday,” was the majority of what he had to say.

Further research revealed the artist to be a very genuine, and normal guy when he was not performing. He says he performs in such an extreme way to, “get the gears running, and make people question reality.”

It is people like this who make open mic night at Blondies such an awakening experience. Another artist encounter occurred on the smoking patio directly outside. Bryant Kellison, former Humboldt State student and local artist, asked for a lighter and offered his opinion on the venue.

“What I like about Blondies, and the people that attend open mic night is that they’re not afraid to stir the paint once in a while,” Kellison said. He went on to express his ideas about the college students that attend the event.

“I’ve seen many freshman looking types walk in here and not know what the f**** was going on,” he said. “I appreciate this, because these people learn to express themselves, and to be openly weird. The vibe here is very much accepting and open, and I think people come into their own here. It’s almost like a grow room for young adults.”

Discover SSengam Niloc on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SSNten

Humboldt Pride: torn in two

By Belen Flores
Flapjack staff

Humboldt Pride is held every September and it was torn in two this year. Not only did were there marchers but there was also protesters at the end of the parade in Halvorsen Park. One of the most memorable posters read “ Humboldt Pride Is Not Here To Serve The Community Or The LGBTQ+ Liberation (They Are An Over-Aged Prom Committee).”

Neesh Wells, 19, student at HSU appreciated people that had voiced their opinion on how the parade can better improve and make it a safe space for everyone.

“I think it is important to have a safe space like pride in order to come together and celebrate the diversity in the queer community,”Wells said. “I feel as though those protesting should be more mindful of taking that into consideration.”

Although marchers knew about the protest they still kept a joyful outlook on the day they are able to proudly celebrate a community they are part of. Kelsey Young, 22, an Arcata resident, has been to many pride parades but this year was her first year marching in the parade.

“Marching in the parade was so positive,” Young said. “It was such a big turn out and seeing everyone that understand or at least support LGBTQ+ issues was uplifting.”

Once everyone had finished the parade and had made it to Halvorsen Park, people were able to join the festivities. From drag shows to musical performances the event was filled with positives vibes people had come to expect. There was a variety of booths that were available for everyone to see. The Queer Resource Center and the Eric Rofes Multicultural Queer Resource Center from Humboldt State made an appearance in hopes of making people more aware that HSU has many queer resources on campus.

The planning of the parade seemed like a difficult and stressful task to coordinate.
Nicki Viso, Mike Kirakoysan and Sierra Farmer were the organizers of the parade this year. They were able to split up tasks and have a successful event.

“Many hands make light work!” Kirakoysan said. “It was stressful at times though, but the end result was worth the effort.”

CAt the end of the event Viso said she felt really accomplished and had expressed.

“I felt really awesome afterwards, knowing I had a hand in the parade’s success,” Viso said.