The first thing many students do every two weeks is run for the nearest newspaper stand for the biweekly edition of The Retriever.
Annie Richer, a sophomore studying political science and psychology, cannot get enough of the newspaper. “It is absolutely amazing,” Richer said. “One of the best I’ve ever set my hands on. I mean really,” she said, taking the paper and unfolding it. “The thickness of the page is fantastic. It creates the perfect crease for my newspaper hat.”
People have a lot to say about the quality of the paper. “It has a really nice consistency,” said James Tolup. “It is smooth yet firm.” Tolup proceeded to explain in vivid detail how The Retriever is his new choice toilet paper. “No longer am I subjugating myself to the school-supplied toilet paper’s painful toll. The exfoliation of my posterior ends here. The Retriever has liberated my skin and allowed for all of the chafing to heal quite nicely.”
The paper also boasts dense fibers that are free of silica and calcium carbonate. For the layperson, that means that it is an excellent material to use to clean off car windshields, or other glass materials. Simply crumple it up, dip it in water, wipe down the surface and then throw it away when finished. This explains all of the crumpled up newspapers that have been found filling garbage cans campus-wide.
Enough with the material quality of the newspaper, though. Richer and Tolup are not the only ones using the newspaper for non-academic purposes. All over UMBC, students are showing their support of the newspaper by donning all types of articles beyond the simple hat. Pants, shirts and even dresses, all crafted with exquisite attention and care, are the latest fad here at UMBC.
Competitions have started cropping up around these newspaper outfits as well. Given the multitude of unread copies available on the newsstands, there are contests to see who can create the most paper-inefficient outfit.
“The papers go to waste anyway, why not have a little fun with it? What else would we do with them?” asked one student as they set an entire stack of The Retriever on fire. They proceeded to explain how they would use the ashes of the paper to help dye their newspaper shoes black, which would disguise the dirt that would accumulate on the shoes from daily use. “Dirt would make them look tacky,” the student explained. “I don’t want my paper shoes to look tacky.”
Beside the library, we found one student folding up a small stack of The Retriever issues. When asked what they were doing, they said they wanted to make a replica of the British Armada and let it loose on the library pond. “Where some people like to read to waste their time, I like to litter,” the student said. When prompted about whether or not they read any of the papers, he burst out in laughter. “Heavens no,” he said between laughs. “Who would do such a thing?”