UMF and Community Team up to Promote Child Health

UMF and Community Team up to Promote Child Health

By Samuel Carignan – Contributing Writer

   In partnership with UMF Health Promotion students, the Franklin County Children’s Task Force held the Make Tracks for Kids event to raise money to end child abuse and neglect.

   On Saturday, October 14th, community members got together to participate in the Make Tracks for Kids event. The program supports children who need help in learning or school activities and works to get them the resources they need. The day featured a 2-mile walk, 5K run, and 1-mile kids run. Through registration fees and donations, the group was able to donate the proceeds to 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N. After School Program.

   UMF students in Health 310 also added to the day’s events. The students were tasked with running multiple stations that provided information on nutrition and provided participants with healthy snacks.

   Chantal Diamond, a Community Health and Anthropology major, was one of the UMF students involved at Make Tracks for Kids. “My job was to provide nutritional and health guidance and give out snacks. We provided information on how to make healthy snacks on a tight budget,” said Diamond.

Students of Health 310 at the Tracks for Kids event.
(Photo courtesy of Katie Callahan)

   Information booths were located both at the Task Force Center and Mt. Blue Middle School. UMF students also set up obstacle courses for children to enjoy. “One was a hoop game, another hopscotch, and a bunch of other little activities to get the kids moving,” said Diamond.

   The main events at Make Tracks for Kids were the three runs. Participants could choose between a 2-mile walk or a 5K run and children could race in the 1-mile kids run. The races started at the Task Force Center and went through both Bonny Woods and Flint Woods. Racers enjoyed the beautiful fall colors that the trees of New England are famous for. Although it was a race, as a charity run, the focus was on raising money and awareness for the programs as opposed to the winners of the race.

   Bikers Against Child Abuse, a non-profit national organization of motorcyclists, was also in attendance. Their mission at Make Tracks for Kids was to raise awareness for child abuse prevention. Healthy Community Coalition, along with UMF students, helped provide families with health information and snacks.

   Make Tracks for Kids has left a positive impact on the community. “I think it definitely [made an impact on] the children. It really gave them a chance to learn a little more about nutrition and health,” said Diamond. The money raised from this event will be used to better the lives of community members, especially children.

   Work for the students of Health 310 did not end at the conclusion of the event. UMF students taking the course will use this experience to create a project, presentation, and paper on the process of going through an intervention.

   “It teaches us on what we can do better and what we need to focus on in order to make sure an intervention goes smoothly,” said Diamond.

UMF Residence Halls Open Their Doors to Trick or Treaters

UMF Residence Halls Open Their Doors to Trick or Treaters

By Bryan Eldridge – Contributing Writer

   Every residence hall at the UMF campus is preparing to open their doors for yet another Halloween, letting kids from the community come in and get candy from the students during the “Trick or Treat Through the Halls” event.

   “Trick or Treat Through the Halls” is an event sponsored by the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) club on campus where kids and families from the community walk to each residence hall on campus, collecting candy from the festive Halloween spirited students in their halls. The event has been a UMF tradition for over 10 years, and always seems to keep the busy residence halls full of laughing children and happy students.

Mallett residents, Katie Franke and Becky Paradis decorate their dorm room in preparation for trick or treats through the halls.
(Photo courtesy of Bryan Eldridge)

   Emily Hartford, a junior at UMF and current President of APO, finds the event to be a great connecting point for many students in the same school.

   “They get to see kids they might not be able to hang out with outside of school.” said Hartford.

   The event aims to provide a safe experience for the families in the surrounding community. “It’s a safer alternative because you’re not wandering through the streets.” Hartford said. “You know who’s passing out the candy [and] you know why they’re handing [it] out,” said Hartford with confidence.

   Information regarding the event is sure to reach students and their parents. “We have flyers going out that have all the contact information on it that will be distributed to every school in the district,” Hartford said.

       Stephen Riitano, second CA in Mallett Hall and a senior, finds the event engaging for the residents. “It gets people in the hall out of their room and engaged in a similar activity with other people in the Mallett community.” said Riitano. “They all have a similar goal.”

   The event in recent years has been a hit, with many eager and busy feet flooding the halls. “The past two years have been a pretty good turn out,” Rittano said. “There’s a large number of kids that come through.”

   Kierra Carmichael, a senior at UMF who has been a resident on campus for all four years, enjoys the variety of costumes and anxious kids that visit each year. “[The kids] seem so eager and excited and their costumes are adorable.”  Carmichael said.

   Carmichael feels the event is very important for connecting with others and brings UMF closer with its surrounding towns. “It connects us with the community so we’re not just a campus.” said Carmichael. “It made me feel like I was part of the community as a whole.”

   There are other ways for the residents to be a part of the event besides handing out candy. “Just come down to the lounge and help people give out candy and interact with parents and kids.” said Carmichael. “I think it’s still important to try and be involved.”

   The event is scheduled for Sunday, October 29th and will begin around 5:00 p.m.

UMF CAs Add a Spooky and Nostalgic Start to Family and Friends Weekend

By Collin Regan – Contributing Writer

   UMF students and their families packed the Mantor Green on a dark and beautiful fall

Friday night on October 13th to watch the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus.

   UMF Community Assistants Michaela Zelie, Kendra Burgess and Sam O’Neal teamed up to create the event to add to the experience of Family and Friends Weekend at UMF.

   Senior CA Michaela Zelie said, “the attendance is huge for this program every time.”

   With the feeling of Halloween in the night, Friday the 13th featured one of the most successful and populated programs that UMF has seen so far this year. Along with the film, there was also popcorn, donuts, candy, a variety of hot chocolates, coffee and apple cider available for the UMF community. Students snuggled in their blankets and their eyes never left the screen as people relived some of their childhood memories.

   This was the second year that Hocus Pocus was shown on the green. Last year, the event was created with the name Campout Cinema to give residents the chance to watch movies on a bigger screen. Senior Brennah O’Connell remembered last year’s program and was excited to see it come to life again this fall.

   “I love that this is becoming a tradition,” said O’Connell. “A lot of people were looking forward to it this fall.”

   Tyler St. Pierre, a junior at UMF, was also at the event and enjoyed the atmosphere. “It

was perfect. It was a good way to get into the Halloween spirit,” said St. Pierre.

   One of the best parts about the event that had campus buzzing was the movie itself.

   “Hocus Pocus is known as one of the classic movies, and it’s good for kids and adults,” said St. Pierre. “It’s a great family movie and really worked out for Family and Friends Weekend.”

   Over the course of a semester, each CA has to put on a total of five programs or events

for residents at UMF. The goal of these programs is to build a sense of community. While

most programs are aimed towards a specific residence hall, this program was targeted towards

the whole campus and community, which added work for the three CAs.

   “This is easily the hardest program I’ve done because it takes so much time. However the end result is always my favorite,” said Zelie with a smile starting to grow on her face. “To see that many people show up is wonderful.”

   The CAs involved with the program had to communicate with several different people

across campus in order to make the program as successful as it was. Some of these

departments included Facilities and Student Life in order to get the rights for the movie. While the process was lengthy, it seemed to be worth it. Kendra Burgess, a first year CA and

sophomore, was impressed with how this program turned out.

   “I think it gave a good example of the kinds of things CAs try to do for the community over the entire year,” said Burgess. “I think it was good for families to see this as well, as it fell on Family and Friends Weekend.”

   Zelie and Burgess hope to continue more Campout Cinema events during this upcoming

year. “Because Hocus Pocus was such a success last year, the university bought their own screen,” said Zelie. This makes the event more manageable as the extra step of renting a screen is taken out.

   Zelie and Burgess urge residents to be on the lookout for all programs that their CA’s put on, and especially potential future Campout Cinema programs.

Eric Mina Hypnotizes UMF Students in Mesmerizing Show

By Elina Shapiro – Contributing Writer

   Eric Mina, a life coach and certified hypnotherapist from Scranton, PA, hypnotized ten students at UMF during his show on Friday the 13th.

   At the start of the show, Mina invited anyone in the audience to come on stage to be hypnotized, to which students responded eagerly. “[Hypnosis is] being in subconscious mind which is highly suggestible,” said Mina. “You inlay suggestions to help people or have fun on stage.”

   Throughout the show, volunteers’ bodies went completely limp, and they believed exactly what they were told. When Mina said he was blue, participants reported that they saw a blue man. They made comments that generated roaring laughter in the audience such as, “You should probably see a doctor!” and “Are your parents blue?”

   When Mina said that he was invisible and carried a shoe across stage, participants screamed in horror, believing that the shoe was floating. When they were told they were dogs, they followed Mina’s orders and rolled over, sat, barked and waited for a treat. When participants were told that an audience member was Channing Tatum, they dangled off the stage trying to shake his hand.

  Although the experiences were dictated by Mina, they felt like reality to those who were hypnotized, even though the students were just on the stage of Nordica Auditorium.

   “The surrounding experience was real; I was really a dog, and I was really a cat, and a dancer, and a model,” said Cody Curtis, a freshman and Visual Arts and Graphic Arts Major with a concentration in Theater at UMF. “It was really weird. I saw the cameras, and it was as if people were coming out with cameras and there were ones coming from above that looked like they were dangling and moving, and I was on stage.”

   Some students found the experience to be similar to dreaming. “I wasn’t actually sleeping, but I felt completely relaxed,” said Sarah Jenkins, a senior and Elementary Education major at UMF. “My eyes were heavy, my breathing changed, that was really weird.”

   Time was distorted in the minds of the hypnotized. “It felt like it happened for maybe five minutes, but it was an hour and a half,” said Jenkins, laughing. Students reported that they knew the audience was there, and they knew what they were doing was strange, but they had no control. “I could see [the audience] but I didn’t care, and usually I totally would have cared,” said Jenkins.

   Mina ended the show by having those who were hypnotized “see” themselves in a film about their future life in which they make better choices and feel more confident about themselves.

   “I became what I want to call myself a ‘Dream Achievement Specialist,’” said Mina. “I want to help people achieve their dreams and goals in their lives and get over their biggest hurdles so they can have the life they’ve always wanted.”

   In addition to leaving the stage with a new life vision in mind, students felt peaceful.

   “It’s very relaxing, you feel wonderful after. Shaky, tingly, but you feel wonderful,” said Curtis. “I felt very relaxed, I felt like I just slept for like a day. But at the same time, I am kind of tired.”

   Mina loves his job as a hypnotherapist because he can do performances on stage, where he feels at home. “What I love about hypnosis on stage is that I get to show [how the mind works] in a very fun and interesting way, it makes people a lot more interested in listening to the information,” said Mina. “I love entertaining and I love inspiring people and seeing that their minds are more powerful than they realize.”

   

 

Two Hurricanes Prompt Cancellation of Virgin Islands Travel Course

Two Hurricanes Prompt Cancellation of Virgin Islands Travel Course

By Leah Boucher – Staff Reporter

    Nancy Prentiss, UMF Lecturer in Biology, has announced that the Tropical Island Ecology Course for May of 2018 will no longer take place, due to the devastation from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

    Prentiss was in the middle of planning the 13th annual trip to the island of St. John when the hurricanes hit. She knew that the trip was not possible after hearing that there had been total destruction of roads and homes throughout the Virgin Islands, but especially on St. John, where structures that had been around for hundreds of years were in complete ruins. The two hurricanes that swept through St. John left the entire island without electricity, which will likely not be restored for several months.

VIERS, although not completely destroyed, sustained damage from Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
(Photo courtesy of The Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station Facebook Page)

 The Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS), where past UMF students have stayed for the entire 10 days on the trip, was affected by the hurricanes but still left standing.

   “At VIERS, the roofs are still on the buildings, but all of the buildings got knocked off their posts,” said Prentiss. “It is likely that a high wall of water actually pushed the cabins off their posts.”

    Michaela Wright, a sophomore Elementary Education major who took this course in May of 2017, distinctly remembered what initially drew her on this trip.

   “When I first saw pictures of the island on a slideshow Nancy showed to students who were interested in the trip, I fell in love with the landscape and the beautiful coral reefs,” said Wright. “It’s difficult to think that the places I once visited around St. John are extremely damaged or completely destroyed.”

    Ron Butler, UMF Professor of Biology and the other professor who teaches this ecology course, is hoping that despite all this damage in the Virgin Islands, VIERS will be back up and running by 2019 for another trip to take place.

   “For me, St. John has a unique magic,” said Butler. “It’s hard for me to imagine finding an alternative site that would offer all of the learning opportunities for UMF students that are available in the Virgin Islands National Park, where VIERS is located.”

    Although the general infrastructure of the island has been destroyed, nature on St. John has been resilient. “After the two hurricanes went through, the island was completely brown and dead looking,” said Prentiss. “Every leaf was gone, but now leaves are already coming back, and the two days of heavy rain from Hurricane Maria provided water for parched, dry land, slowly making the island look green again.”

    Butler is aware that time is needed to help the island recover. He knows that more attention needs to be given to the St. John natives whose lives have been intensely altered from the two natural disasters.

   “The island’s ecology will recover, but there are people who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, and in some cases – their lives.” said Butler. “With the devastation in Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida, and California, coupled with the tragedy in Las Vegas, the plight of people in the US Virgin Islands has essentially disappeared off the nation’s radar–we tend to forget that those people are American citizens, too.”

    One major way people can help with recovery efforts is by directly donating money; St. John Rescue is one reputable organization on the island, where 100% of the funds go directly to helping the locals begin to recover. Prentiss believes that sending money is better than trying to go down and help right now.

   “If you go down to the Virgin Islands, you become another person who needs food and water and a place to stay,” she said. “Local people may not have a place to go home to, but they are beginning to get their basic needs met.”

   To donate to St. John Rescue, visit their website at www.stjohnrescue.com/donate

 

 

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