Congratulations to UMF students Melissa Sawyer-Boulette, Ronie Morales, and Rhiannan Jackson, who, with the help of Community Health Education professor Dr. Kelly Bentley, recently secured a $5,000 grant for the Western Maine Homeless Outreach homeless shelter to help fund an 11-week daytime educational program. Amazing work, guys!
Thanks to the tremendous efforts of five UMF students, Tip Whip is now officially operating on campus! For those who don’t know, Tip Whip is an exclusive ride sharing service for UMF students, fully operated by UMF students. It’s kind of like Uber, but way cooler because you only pay the tip! A special thanks to UMF senior Tom McGowan for serving as the UMF Tip Whip representative on campus. Congratulations to all five students on this wonderful achievement!
By Courtney Fowler, President
“Write drunk, edit sober” was the advice from award-winning science journalist Jenny J. Chen, as she laughed hysterically and followed with, “take that with a grain of salt people!” Last week at the 50th annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, Chen, along with her fellow panel members, led a discussion on how to balance the fact-based demands of journalism with the creative and emotional craft of creative writing. This laugh out loud panel discussion was only one of the memorable experiences I had at the conference, which for those of you who don’t know, was held in the fabulous, picturesque city of Washington, D.C.
As a whole, AWP is kind of like one of the Scholastic book fairs you went to at your elementary school library, but 10,000 times bigger and on a whole lot of steroids. From the 1,000 tables set up at the book fair, to the 675 possible panel discussions and conference events you can attend, AWP is truly a writer’s dream. Thousands attend the conference each year, ranging from college students who run their school newspaper (yes, that would be us) to world-renowned authors who are celebrating the launch of a new book. With such a range of age and experience, the opportunities to learn and network are endless.
In one panel, Washington Post reporter Dan Zak discussed the troubling reality of the emergence of fake news in recent months. Not only are news stories becoming opinion-based, but the truly alarming fact is that one in five adults receive their news from social media. Social media was created as a platform for human expression, not a credible source for the most current and pressing news stories like some may believe.
In this distressing time, how are journalists able overcome such challenges? Coincidentally, I had this exact conversation with my Uber driver just hours before, a nice man from Uruguay who had recently moved to America to find a better life. “I fear for journalists these days,” he said. “Not only are they constantly targeted by our new president, but must deal with the fake stories that undermine their hard work.”
Serious topics aside, AWP also provided us with a fabulous time to have fun and enjoy the city outside of the panels and book fair as well. Hundreds of off-site events were offered at local restaurants and bars in D.C. We enjoyed socials, dances, and of course, free drinks!
If you follow the Flyer on any social media platforms, you probably also saw that we were able to take advantage of the excellent location of this year’s conference to explore our nation’s capitol on our own. We enjoyed 60-degree weather (basically summer compared to the horrible amount of snow we just got) while touring the Capitol Building and taking photos with Senator Susan Collins. We visited monuments and saw the most breathtaking view of the city from 15 stories up at the Skydome Restaurant in Arlington. I even got the chance to sneak away and visit a few graduate schools when we had some free time. Because honestly, why wouldn’t I want to live in such an amazing place after graduation?
AWP is more than just our annual trip to a writer’s convention, but a time to leave Farmington behind and experience the wonderful country we live in beyond UMF. And of course, the conference always has a way of sneaking in a few life lessons into panel discussions when you least expect it. My favorite this year was an insightful quote from Zak, one that seemed quite relevant as I pondered my recent trips to graduate schools and the daunting fact that graduation is soon approaching. “Embrace ignorance and do not be afraid to admit when you’re lost,” he said. “It’s a big world out there and we should honor the messiness in our lives.”
By Marissa Chamberlain, Contributing Writer
In spite of several injuries among top players, the UMF men’s basketball team is making a run at the playoffs following a five game conference winning streak sparked by newcomer Tyus Sprague-Ripley. Ripley, a 6’6” freshman transfer has made a huge impact for the Beavers offensively and defensively over the past month averaging 9.4 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game, according to UMF Athletics.
Changing teams in the middle of the season can make it tough for a player to get comfortable, but Ripley, who was previously a Saint Joseph’s College Monk, said the changeover has been smooth. “Some of the players I’ve played with before,” said Ripley, “so it seemed like it’d be the easiest transition.”
Stepping on the court during a game this year for the Beavers wasn’t part of Ripley’s expectations coming into the new team. “At first I didn’t know if I was able to play,” said Ripley, “I was just expecting to practice.”
As soon as Ripley got his chance on the court, he proved to the Beavers he was going to be an important asset to the team. He was recognized as NAC Rookie of the Week for the last week of January, following another UMF Rookie of the Week, freshman forward Riley Robinson.
Ripley was recognized after a week of averaging 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block, while also shooting an impressive 57.1% from the floor and going 5-for-5 at the free throw line. The team went 2-0 that week.
Ripley, who humbly accepted this accolade, said he is hoping for more of a team goal, such as going to playoffs and winning a championship. He said, “I actually didn’t know I got it until like way after everyone else.”
Head Coach Dick Meader explained that injuries have had a huge impact on the team this season. Freshman forward Billy Ruby suffered a broken ankle early in the season, and freshman center Anthony Owens has faced two sprains, according to Meader. Both players are known for their talented offensive and defensive presence on the court.
Meader explained that Ripley has helped make the team stronger where injury has made them weak. “He’s added some size, toughness, doing what’s right getting loose balls, and establish our defense,” said Meader, “he helped fill the gap of Anthony Owens.”
Although Riley came in halfway through the season, Ryan Camire, a senior captain on the team, explains that this isn’t apparent in his play. “He’s growing into his own,” said Camire, “he’s picked up right a way.”
“Tyus definitely is one of our most important guys,” Camire said, “he gives us a nice down low presence.”
The Beavers, who are now 8-6 and tied for third in the NAC, are looking to clinch a playoff spot and home court advantage.
“The big thing is we have some big road games, keeping that focus of what we need to do, trusting the coaches game plan and scouting reports, letting our instincts carry,” said Camire, “we always have to stay hungry and stay on our toes.”
By Shana Tilley, Contributing Writer
UMF will be presenting the One Acts Festival on April 21-23. There will be four performances each night by UMF students that are part of the Advanced Directing Course, led by Professor Jayne Decker. The festival acts as a final project for the course, unlike last year’s performances which were led by APO.
Steffon Gales, Jonas Maines, Konner Wilson, and Zack Peercy are the four students who will be presenting their One Act directorial. According to sophomore Steffon Gales, “this is a more structured festival than last year’s One Acts that were run by APO, the theater fraternity, because this year’s festival is for the Advanced Directing Course, so it will be different.”
Out of the three acts one of them is a student written piece, while the other three are published works. Gales explains, “I am doing ‘Impromptu’ by Tad Mosel. Zack Peercy is doing ‘Greetings From the Moon.’ The next one is ‘Boundary’ by Tom Stoppard and Clive Exton, which Konner is doing. Finally, the last one is ‘Home Free!’ by Lanford Wilson, which Jonas is doing.”
The One Act Festival will be held in Alumni Theater and prices are still to be announced. Senior Zack Peercy explains though that tickets will be, “low and affordable.”
Gales believes people should go for the experience. “It’s going to be a great display of UMF’s performance talents and the plays explore the different genres of theater,” he says.
Recent auditions were well attended and a fair number of UMF’s students came to participate and show their acting skills. Each director got to pick who they wanted for their piece, but it wasn’t easy to choose. Gales assures, “we had a great number of talented actors and they made it difficult to cast our shows.”
Peercy thinks everyone who can should go and experience the One Act festival. “Theater, not just being involved, but also attending, is the most important thing you can do with your free time. It’s an opportunity to sit in a room full of strangers and collectively feel something. We need a lot more of that.”
Gales is looking forward to working with the actors that he chose for his piece and getting to bring the piece to life. “I enjoy getting to know them and figuring out how to make the playwright’s piece of fiction a reality,” Gales says.
Senior Konner Wilson will also be directing a One Act performance for the festival. She’s looking forward to having people witness the different types of plays that will be performed.
“The great thing about something like this is that it’s a ‘One Act Festival.’ It’s not just about the performance of our shows individually, but the mixture of comedy, drama, and a touch of absurdity that brings about a completely different type of theater experience.”
The One Act Festival will start April 21st and go until the 23rd. The performances will be held in the Alumni Theater and everyone who is interested in attending is welcome. Prices will be announced prior to the festival.