Leah Boucher – Staff Reporter
UMF Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Nicole Kellett, along with her husband, Assistant Professor of Anthropology/Sustainability Coordinator, Lucas Kellett, led a travel course to the South American country of Peru this past May, giving students the opportunity to experience a vastly different culture for eighteen days.
This is the third trip the Kelletts have organized, but this year, they took fifteen students instead of capping the number off at thirteen as they did in 2013 and 2015. On this trip, students were able to visit Lima, the capital of Peru, the off-beaten highland city of Andahuaylas, the Andean mountains, the local community Sacclaya, Cusco, where students visited Inca sites including Machu Picchu, and finally a trip down the Amazon River.
Nicole Kellett always enjoys returning to this country, where she and her husband have performed research and fieldwork, and loves seeing the interactions between students and locals. “ Luke and I always enjoy being able to introduce students to a number of our dear friends in Peru,” said Kellett. “I love seeing our godchildren and other friends walking along holding hands with our students, sitting in their laps, and laughing–really building these cross-cultural connections.”
In fact, these connections with the local people are what stuck with Sarah Jenkins, a senior Elementary Education major who was a member of this trip. “One day, we trekked into the Amazon rainforest and went into an indigenous community where Spanish was their second language,” said Jenkins. “When we arrived on the bus, the whole community was in traditional clothing and put on a welcome ceremony–the kids took us by the hand and danced in a circle with us.”
Another senior in the course, a Secondary Education Social Studies major, Connor Lynch, felt a huge sense of culture shock when arriving in Peru; he had only previously been to Canada and knew little to no Spanish. However, his limited Spanish did not stop him from trying to interact with a local gift shop owner at Huaca Pucllana, a Peruvian archaeological site. “One of my friends was having problems with getting the exact amount of change, so I turned to the owner and said ‘loco’ with my limited Spanish—not knowing that it may be offensive to call someone ‘crazy,’” said Lynch. “The older woman was a bit shocked, but then wagged her finger at me, and we laughed together. It was funny to share a laugh with someone when we could not understand each other’s language but still understood what each other was trying to say.”
UMF students on the travel course to Peru this past summer. (Photo by Connor Lynch)
Dr. Nicole Kellett is aware that students each have an immense sense of adventure and curiosity as they peruse Peru, and for this year’s trip, she and Dr. Luke Kellett added a new location. “We added a trip to the Amazon rainforest for the 2017 course. This included a four-day three-night adventure during which we visited a native Amazonian community and a wildlife sanctuary, went on boat rides down Amazonian river tributaries, and went on numerous forest walks to learn about the flora and fauna of the Amazon,” said Kellett.
The Kelletts are in the process of putting another travel course together, but nothing is set in stone as of yet. “We typically offer the Peru travel course every two years, but we are also exploring the development of a travel course to the U.S. southwest,” said Kellett. “If that travel course is created, the timeline for the Peru travel course may shift, but we will definitely be offering the course again in the future with minor adjustments.”
Emily Mokler – Contributing Writer
UMF’s Ultimate Disc Club focused on recruitment this Fall by showing off the fun and competitive sides of the game.
Tim Pacini, a UMF senior and co-President of the club, credits the increase in new members to playing on the Mantor Green.
“One of our biggest and best recruitment tools is simply tossing a disc on the green,” Pacini said. “People come and hang out, think it’s fun, come to a practice and they’re hooked.”
Justin Davis, a recent sophomore transfer, joined the club a few weeks ago. “When I first joined, I wanted to find something that would keep me active and moving,” Davis said. “I got into Ultimate because I saw people playing on the green, and they invited me to play with them.”
Davis was at the club fair on September 13th and “a lot of people were saying things like ‘I don’t know I’m not really that good.’ To them I usually say, neither am I,” he admitted. “We encourage anyone to join no matter the skill.”
Ultimate Disc Club Member’s at the Fall 2017 Club Fair from L to R : Cory McCullough, Justin Reid Davis and Tim Bullard. (Photo by Mitchell Walston)
Ultimate is like a combination of soccer’s running and football’s passing and field. Tim Bullard, a Senior Community Health major and captain of the team, said, “the running is physically demanding. In a tournament, playing up to ten games in two days is hard on your body.”
Bullard praised the new members of the club. “The freshmen this year are excited about playing,” he said. “They’re really enthusiastic about the game.”
Recent freshman recruit Sylvie Fenderson said, “I played ultimate in high school and knew I wanted to continue in college, whether with the team or just playing pickup.”
The team practices 5 days a week, but members don’t have to attend every practice. It’s a reflection of the flexibility the club has to offer. Bullard attends practice three times per week, and there are causal members who practice once per week. “It’s a much different atmosphere than varsity sports, which I’ve done in the past,” Bullard said. “It’s still competitive, but we have fun too.”
Exercise, competition and schedule flexibility are not the only contributing factors for player retainment. Bullard said, “Over the past four years, I’ve made friends through Ultimate, some are my best friends.”
Blair Bailey, a senior and the treasurer of the club, shared this sentiment. “The people who recruited me last year made it sound so fun so I thought I would give it a try,” Bailey said. “Those people have now become my current teammates, but even better they have become some of my closest friends.”
The Ultimate Disc Club has been a club sport at UMF since 1997. They fundraise by hosting tournaments at UMF, where Ultimate teams from other colleges register to play. The team went to Orono for their first tournament of the semester.
Pacini encourages interested students to “come on out to a practice and try it out. Look up the club’s Facebook page and join it to see practice times or if there’s a pick-up game going on.”
Their page can be found by searching Facebook for “UMF Ultimate Disc Club.”
Collin Regan – Contributing Writer
Recent college graduate and new hall director Dan Knox is looking forward to adding a new perspective to the Farmington community.
Knox is the new hall director that oversees the residence halls Lockwood, Dakin, and Stone. While he may be new to the Farmington community, Knox comes with a variety of experiences.
Fresh out of Ripon College with a dual degree in Business Administration and Politics in Government, Knox comes with three years of experience in residence life.
During his freshman year, Knox was a resident. His sophomore year, he was an RA, and during his junior year, he was a Programming Assistant where he essentially interacted with the whole campus. During his senior year, Knox was a Student Assistant Hall Director.
While all of these jobs involved working with residents, the responsibilities became greater as the years went on. These responsibilities did not seem to bother Knox. “I like interacting with residents, but I think I’m better at administrative work than most people,” he said.
Kathleen Simpson, a UMF Hall Director in her second year, was part of a team that hired Knox. “We were looking for somebody who added diversity to what we already had, knowing that our staff was going to be similar to what we had last year,” Simpson said.
The team saw that Dan would add that type of diversity to the staff, because of his experiences. “We saw his yearly growth as something that proved he wanted his own self-growth and the fact that his school thought he was good enough for this position was evident and good to see,” said Simpson.
Knox and Simpson both understand the importance of their jobs. Simpson points out that a
hall director “is responsible for thousands of lives on campus.” Knox describes the job as, “making sure residents are figuring out life and doing it in a safe and responsible manner.”
Knox is already helping impact the community through overseeing the Community Assistants (CA) in Lockwood, Dakin, and Stone. Sage van Eekhout, a third-year student and second-year CA in Stone Hall, has enjoyed working with Knox so far this year. “I think Dan brings in a really good and new perspective, being recently graduated and being in a Student Life Department while bringing some of his ideas into our staff,” said Eekhout.
First-year CA in Stone Hall Kendra Burgess has enjoyed getting into a new job, as Knox is settling into being a new hall director as well. “We’re both getting used to new positions but the communication has been great,” says Burgess.
Both Burgess and Eekhout agree that Knox has done a great job creating community within the staff. “I think he’s really great at positive reinforcement and making our staff feel so close. He gives out gold stars to people at every staff meeting from shout-outs we give,” said Eekhout.
As the year goes on, Knox is looking forward to this experience and the personal growth that will come with it. While he has small goals of visiting more places throughout Maine, Knox also has some career goals. “I want to figure out more of my styles in leadership and supervision,” he said.
Devin Lachapelle – Contributing Writer
With the fall semester now underway at UMF, returning upperclassmen are eager to see new students get involved with some of the many clubs on campus.
Kelsey Rohman, a junior with a psychology major and a minor in rehabilitation services, said, “We’re all friendly here,” and that “the goal of clubs is to not exclude people [but] to welcome people.”
Rohman, who is the treasurer of Alpha Lambda Delta and the Tennis Club, stressed that “Building connections with students is a must.”
Rohman mentioned that it’s a good idea to try out a few different clubs. “Sign up for a few clubs you’re interested in, get emails, test the waters by going to a few meetings to see what suits your fancy,” she said.
Brennah O’Connell, a senior Biology major, has been involved with clubs since her first semester at UMF and is part of both the Tennis Club and Active Minds.
O’Connell, also in her third year as a Community Assistant (CA), said, “especially for [students] that are new to campus, they might not know about all of the options available to them.” She added that “it’s important to let them know about how many different clubs there are or that they can make a new one. Students have a better college retention rate if they get involved.”
Elina Shapiro – Contributing Writer
The IT department at UMF plugged along this summer to upgrade the Wi-Fi in the library and several residence halls.
Students at UMF have been pleased with the improved Wi-Fi in the residence halls. “The new Wi-Fi improvements have definitely been a big improvement here in Stone because last year almost every 10 minutes I’d be kicked off from my computer and not be able to do homework,” Amber Chesley, a UMF Sophomore, and Stone Community Assistant said.
The Wi-Fi now works faster and allows buildings full of students to be able to be online at the same time without trouble.
“We’d always complain about it, ‘Oh, there’s someone else on it, oh there’s this horrible Wi-Fi’. This year it’s so much more efficient,” said Chesley. “There has been a significant decrease in complaints about the Wi-Fi here.”
Kelsey Dunn, a senior, said: “With the new renovations, I am finding speed is quicker, so it’s great that I don’t have to worry about the Wi-Fi shutting down and not starting back up.” Dunn mentioned that registration last year was an issue for some people, so she is hopeful that this year will run more smoothly.
Angel Allen, who works for the University of Maine system as a program manager, said that it was widely known that there were problems with the Wi-Fi.
“In 2015, there was a report written that did an assessment of technology needs throughout the University of Maine System. One of the of the needs that were clearly identified was better internet access, specifically better Wi-Fi access for students,” said Allen.
Residence Life does a student survey every year, and in last year’s survey of students there were a lot of comments about Wi-Fi in a bad way, Allen said. “We’re really hopeful that this year’s survey will show improvement.”
Though IT made progress this summer, there is still more work to do.
“The tentative plans are to do the same upgrade for the Scott residence halls next summer,” said Allen. “We didn’t have the capacity to do it all. We were also doing a lot of upgrades on other campuses throughout the summer.”
Allen hopes to extend these renovations across campus. “I think that the classroom buildings on campus all could certainly use the same sort of upgrades. Those are things that if at any point we come into more funding and have that funding – we’d really like to see every building on campus have that kind of internet wireless access,” said Allen. “There were places in the buildings that didn’t have any Wi-Fi coverage. Every nook and cranny in those buildings should have good coverage.”
There were some challenges while completing these Wi-Fi renovations during the summer because the campus was not empty. “We were coordinating around re-waxing the floors, and painting the rooms, and doing other things in the buildings that needed to be done and we didn’t want to get in their way,” said Allen. However, Allen thought everyone worked really well together to let everything go smoothly. “I would say that the residence life, conferences, and facilities management were great partners in this work with IT.”