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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Something to smile at: Wholesome things happening around the world

This year began with catastrophe after catastrophe.

Headlines describing the massive impacts of the coronavirus litter our screens. TikToks of college students longing for their friends with moody indie songs playing in the background have flooded the “For You” page. The new normal is filled with plenty to be sad about. 

Although the surface of this moment in history looks bleak, glimmers of light continue to peak through. Here are some reasons to smile, even during a global pandemic:

Captain Tom Moore exists

Captain Tom Moore is a former British army officer. The 99-year-old veteran, after seeing the devastation caused by the coronavirus, vowed to walk 100 laps around his 25-meter yard by his birthday on April 30. He hoped to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together: a group of charities dedicated to supporting those caring for COVID-19 patients in the U.K. 

Moore raised his anticipated £1,000 in four days, but he was determined to complete his laps and continue raising money in the process. 

By the time Moore finished his 100-lap goal, he raised more than £12 million. And as of Tuesday evening, that number is over £28 million. 

Livestream concerts

Many artists are now performing live on platforms like Instagram and Twitch so fans can still enjoy their shows from the safety of their homes. 

Artists such as SHAED and Vance Joy have already shared individual performances, with some artists even upping the game, sharing entire festival sets. Excision’s Couch Lands, a three-day stream of the 2019 Lost Lands EDM festival, was released on Twitch from April 17-19, with some sets still available on YouTube

Some shows to look for in the coming weeks include Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Festival on April 25 at 6 p.m., which features performances from Ziggy Marley, Ben Harper and many others. It can be streamed on Amazon Music’s Twitch account. The 320 Festival — a festival dedicated to talking about mental health — will be streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube Live on May 8-10 and will feature artists such as Gnash, Social House, Lindsey Sterling and many more. The Grammy Museum will also produce “digital public programs” with Sabrina Carpenter and Brett Young on its website on April 27 and 29, respectively.

Graphic by Paolo Blanchi

Shedd Aquarium penguins

Zoos around the country have sparked joy, live streaming their animal enclosures for patrons to enjoy at home. But the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has taken things a step further. 

Videos of Wellington the penguin wandering the halls of the empty aquarium are online for your enjoyment, and they’ll give you the same sense of wonder that the penguins seem to feel with their new-found freedom. 

The aquarium posts videos of Wellington’s adventures on its Instagram

“Some Good News”

You didn’t think Jim from “The Office” could get more likeable? Well John Krasinski has done it again.

The actor began his own news broadcast amid the Covid-19 panic. The catch is, he only tells stories of good news. He has highlighted everything from the noble work of medical workers, to generous donations, to quirky and uplifting TikToks. SGN episodes are posted on Sundays on YouTube

Reilly Mullen is the news editor and can be reached at or on Twitter @ReillyMMullen. 

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Reilly Mullen is the editor-in-chief at The Spectrum. She is a senior majoring in political science with a journalism certificate. She enjoys Dunkin’ iced lattes and Scrabble. A former web, features, news and managing editor, she is a columnist at heart but has covered everything from UB Football to breaking news. 



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