Building Community in Mallett Hall

Building Community in Mallett Hall

By Emilee Eustis Contributing Writer

 

   CAs in Mallett Hall believe that residence hall programs not only help ease the unfamiliarity of college, but also aide in higher academic achievement and bonding opportunities.   

   Jamie St. Pierre, a first year CA at Mallett Hall, said that living in the dorms holds a lot of importance for students.

   “Not only will they probably meet their first friends this way, but they also have great resources like CAs to help them out with whatever they need,” St. Pierre said.

   “I enjoy being a mentor and a resource in the halls and around campus,” said Brian Weiner, another first year CA at Mallett Hall. For both Weiner and St. Pierre, building their community and having a positive impact on their residents is the most important aspect of being a CA.

   Weiner and St.

Mallett CAs are working towards building a sense of community in the residence Hall. (Photo Courtesy of Brian Weiner)

Pierre are dedicated to making sure the residents who live in Mallett get the best experience possible by putting on hall programs to benefit the students.

   “Programs are typically put on to build community,” said Weiner. “So the residence halls are not just where people live, but also where residents socialize and learn as well.”

   It takes flexibility and creativity to come up with programs that everyone will attend, especially with the tight budget the CAs have to shop for supplies. An upcoming program Weiner is putting together is called “Guided Meditation and Glowsticks” which will help students relieve stress before going into finals week. “We have to shop on a budget so we make the best programs we can for the least amount of money,” Weiner said.

   St. Pierre is also aiming to help with the end of the year madness by putting on a program called “BJ’s in your PJ’s,” where students can eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream while doing homework in their pajamas. “Programs enhance the dorm experience by bringing residents together,” St. Pierre said, “they help to build a community with everyone around them.

   Both St. Pierre and Weiner are helping to put together an end of semester barbeque with the other CAs in Mallett Hall along with programs like making your own laundry soap to help students save money and better the environment.

   The CAs will continue to brainstorm program ideas to close out the end of the semester by helping students tackle the stresses of finals and begin to think about the move-out process in May.  

The Future of Campus Lighting

The Future of Campus Lighting

By Emily Thibodeau Contributing Writer

The Student Senate has plans to “brighten” campus up as they have been working to improve lighting on campus. Stephen Riitano, the Vice-President of the Student Senate, recently met with Jeff McKay, head of Facilities, to talk about lighting improvements.

   Riitano and McKay discussed lighting options and later put out a survey for students.  The survey asked students’ opinions on the lighting and where more lighting is needed. Out of the 30 responses reported, a majority suggested improvement at the walkway to the Emery Community Arts Center, the Admission Courtyard and a light shining down on the Mantor Green.

UMF students are worried about the lack of lighting at certain locations across campus. (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

  “Facilities has planned to update the spaces listed above and many others,” Riitano said. “Facilities work out of a ‘Green Fund’ that was established to update the campus and make it more efficient. Student Senate’s Student’s Rights and Affairs Committee (SRAC) is tackling the issue.”

   SRAC members include Chair Stephen Riitano, Senator Sudeep Stable, Senator Nathan McIvor and Senator Samuel O’Neal. SRAC is currently proposing a plan to the Student Senate General Assembly and waiting for approval.

   When asked about the timeline of this project, Riitano said, “The hope is that when the money is transferred to Facilities, they will start making the upgrades and improvements when the ground thaws. Some exterior and interior lights that are affixed to buildings may be done sooner. However, Facilities has a long to-do list, and I am unable to pinpoint an exact timeframe for when this would be done. My hope is that some improvements and upgrades are made this spring or summer.”

   When interviewing UMF students, a main concern was if the new lighting would be energy efficient. Riitano said, “the lights will be much more energy efficient and save the campus in lighting costs.”

   In regards to the budget, Riitano commented that it costs anywhere from $200-$600 to replace and/or update the current fixtures. “The idea is to make the campus safer, listen and act according to student requests, and to leave a lasting legacy for the campus and Student Senate for the 2017-2018 school year,” he said.

   Public Safety student worker Talon Hutchinson, a Sophomore Anthropology major at UMF, was interviewed about the lighting on campus. Public Safety is often walking around at night to motioner the campus, check that doors are locked and offer their escort service. The escort service is to “help people feel safe while being walked safely somewhere,” Hutchinson, who worked this service last year, said it was used almost every night.

   In Hutchinson’s opinion, “Lots 21 and 22 [freshman parking on Prescot Street] don’t have enough lighting.” Hutchinson also said that the crosswalks in front of Mallet and the Student Olsen center need to be better lit at night.  

 First-year student Ella Russell commented that “Walking back alone from the FRC parking lot at night is scary.” Russell suggests more outdoor lighting should be installed near the parking lots of campus.

   

 

“Rough Drafts” Exhibits Art Faculty Works in Progress

“Rough Drafts” Exhibits Art Faculty Works in Progress

By Nicole Stewart, Staff Reporter

UMF Division of the Arts is featuring the exhibition “Rough Drafts,” a special art event dedicated to show off art from all of the UMF Art faculty.

   The professors featured in the show include Ann Bartges, Tom Jessen, Dawn Nye, Elizabeth Olbert, Jesse Potts, Katrazyna Randall, and Barbara Sullivan. The show offers multiple forms of art, ranging from sculptures, drawings, paintings, and animations. The show is a way to bring the community together to see what the different art styles that th

Nye utilizes color among other techniques to depict subtle differences in society (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

e Art faculty have, as well as offer different perspectives of the modern world

   Dawn Nye, one of the professors involved with “Rough Drafts,” has her artwork on display. In an email interview, Nye reflected on favorite parts of the gallery. “I think this exhibit shows the diversity in our faculty, which makes me proud,” said Nye. “We are such a small institution, and we’re lucky to have such great people teaching here.”

  Nye has two different pieces in the UMF Gallery. “The first is an animation called ‘Daydream Narcolepsy.’ This short deals with ideas of escape and distraction. The second piece is a hand painted woodblock series called ‘Public.’ This piece deals with divisions in our society–though not in a direct way,” Nye said.

   According to Nye, the preparation began a few weeks prior to the opening. The Art department have been working to set up in the Flex Space and UMF Art Gallery. Nye mentioned how the gallery also helps the professors who are involved. “All of our faculty are working artists. Exhibiting and working in studio not only help us to develop our careers, it also helps us to become better teachers.”

   The professors worked hard to complete this project, and Nye noted her favorite pieces among the others who are involved with the gallery. “One of my favorite moments is in the Flex Space at the Emery Arts Center, where Jesse Potts’ and Katrazyna Randall’s pieces are in view together. They have such different aesthetics, but somehow they seem to connect to each other,” said Nye.

   On opening night, both

Jesse Potts’s Arc and Katrazyna Randall’s piece interact in subtle ways in the Flex Space
(Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

UMF students and the general public came to the show. The gallery had a wide arrangement of displays from projections to sculptures on the wall. The entire studio was filled from the first floor to the second floor in the art gallery on campus. In Emery, the displays featured portraits and sculptures done by the faculty involved.

   For those who are interested, Rough Drafts is being presented in Emery Community Arts Center Flex Space and the Art Gallery. The show is open on Tuesdays through Sundays from 12PM-4PM until March 9th. Students and faculty can visit the website at artgalleryumf.org.

UMF AmeriCorps Volunteer Team Plans Several Events for January

Lindsay Mower – Staff Reporter

This year UMF has served as a host site for a team of AmeriCorps volunteers, made up of both past and present students, advocating for energy efficiency on campus and in the community. UMF Alum Vanessa Berry and Ben Rodriguez are part of the volunteer team who have been preparing for a few events AmeriCorps will be hosting in January.

According to Berry, Energy Efficiency Coordinator, the first event being held is a community energy forum and will be taking place on January 20th, with the location still to be announced. “It’s going to be informative for homeowners… mostly just giving educational materials that can help get people connected with local businesses and resources within the community,” said Berry.

The second event takes place the first Saturday after students return from break on January 27th from 9am to 1pm in the North Dining Hall. The AmeriCorps team will be partnering with United Way to build weatherizing window panels that will be installed in the homes of low-income families in Franklin County in effort to reduce fuel costs and making home more energy efficient as the winter approaches.

“It’s a four hour session, about three hours of it is actual work, and then the last hour is tear down and free potluck dinner,” said Berry. “A few off campus commuter students will be receiving these panels, and helping build them, so there are a lot of stakeholders involved in this project… On average, each window panel insert installed per home saves a save a gallon of oil a season, per square foot of panel.”

Rodriguez, Energy Efficiency Community Specialist, says he particularly enjoys the window building sessions. “They are just a great way to engage with the wider community. You see participants who are just volunteering their time, and you also have individuals who are receiving these panels attending the building sessions. It’s great to be able to work alongside everyone and then sit down and have a meal with them.”

The final event planned will take place Monday the 29th from 4pm to 8pm, also in the North Dining Hall. Berry says the AmeriCorps team planned this event in hopes that students and faculty who are done with their classes for the day will be able to participate. Dinner will be included for this event as well. “It is a great event for anyone interested in getting service hours,” said Berry.

Thanks to a grant written by Maine Campus Compact, who started an initiative under the Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship, creating six hosts sites, including UMF, to carry out services like those provided by this volunteer team, Berry says she feels she is able to make a more personal impact in her community. “The way we doing things is really site specific because we have different communities with different environments and people who all have different needs and finances to work with, who all can use support from the services we provide,” said Berry.

“We’ve also got a great network at UMF and they have been really supportive,” says Berry. “An example of that is just this week we were tabling to get donations to supply kits for low income families who are receiving our window panels for free, but we didn’t have any money in out grant to supply any other weatherization supplies, things like caulking guns and weather stripping… just the small stuff that creates a big change in the comfort of somebody’s home. Just from asking students for pocket change, we came up with almost $70 yesterday, and today a little of $87. The general support from the Farmington community in order to get projects done, is overwhelming.”

Berry graduated from UMF with an education degree in December of 2015 and was also a member of the Sustainable Campus Coalition for three years where she worked with Luke Kellett, the host site supervisor for AmeriCorps at UMF, before taking on this full-time position.

Rodriguez, quarter-time AmeriCorps volunteer, graduated from UMF with a History major and a minor in International Global Studies, “I know there isn’t exactly a correlation between my major and sustainability, but after graduating I just wanted to find a way to further engage with this community, that I really fell in love with for the four years that I was here,” said Rodriguez.

“I was a teacher’s assistant for an English 100 class, I was a tutor for the 21st Century Program, and I also was an archival assistant through the Partnership for Civic Advanced for the Temple Historical Society. Making those connections within the community and being able to reach out to the same people to help bring awareness to what were are trying to do with our initiative is what I love about this opportunity.” said Rodriguez. “I’ve always wanted to do environmental education and this is a really good way to kind of fill the deficit that I felt that I had in terms of experience with environmental work.”

The AmeriCorps volunteer team also works to help students and community members practice sustainability and energy efficiency in other ways. “We do campus and community audits, basically doing a consultation with families in their homes, and college students in their dorms and talks about ways to be more energy efficient,” says Berry. “We also do a an energy revamp challenge, a campus wide contest to encourage more students to reduce their energy use and offer incentives to do so.”

The efforts of the AmeriCorps volunteers amplify other energy efficiency efforts taking place in Farmington. “We have the biomass central heating plant, which is also a great educational piece that we will also try to become more involved with, including the solar panels that are to be installed, which will also be a really great educational resource that we will have right here in Farmington… We would love to get involved with spreading knowledge about the installation. If we aren’t exploiting it, then it’s kind of a waste… It’s going to put Farmington of the map in terms of sustainability. People are going to drive into Farmington and they are going to see all of the solar panels.”

The Effects of Modern Technology on the Social Behaviors of Generation Z

Lindsay Mower – Staff Reporter

What makes Generation Z (Gen Z), those born in between 1996 and 2010, different from Millennials, those born between 1977 to 1995, are two major characteristics: they have never lived in a world without the internet (many of them haven’t experienced dial-up) and most of them can only recall September 11, 2001 as a historical event.

As a Gen X’er, born between 1965 and 1976, UMF’s Assistant Dean of Teaching Learning and Assessment Ashley Montgomery says there is an apparent generation gap between her and her Gen Z students, which is brought to light in the classroom.

Montgomery teaches a first-year seminar every fall that examines the anthropological repercussions of technology in the modern world called ‘The Internet of Us’ where, ironically, the discussion revolves around how technology impacts our interactions with each other by altering conversation and social engagement.

“My Generation Z students have grown up with devices in their life, that I did not grow up with, and those devices are such a significant part of how they interact with the world from a very early age,” said Montgomery.

She points out that one of the biggest challenges that she recognizes her Gen Z students facing is struggling with having to make face-to-face interactions with adults. “They aren’t as practiced with thinking out loud. It feels like we have to do a lot of translation,” she Montgomery. She believes this is because the Gen Z population may lack certain processing skills, most likely caused by the impacts technology has had on their childhood development.

Montgomery believes the Gen Z population may not quite see in themselves technology’s dangerous impact on our behavior in conversation, but they do see it in their parents. “They have this dynamic where they think, ‘I need to talk to my mom about something, but she’s on her phone. She says she’s listening to me, but I don’t think she is.’ And maybe the reason they think that is because they know in themselves that if they’re looking at their phone,” says Montgomery. “They aren’t really hearing everything you’re saying. They are giving you distracted attention.”

Another struggle Montgomery says she sees Gen Z students facing is making the adjustment to adulthood. “For many of them the shift of college, the shift away, where they have to create their own structure can be hard for them… It’s something I have seen increasing, she said. “I teach first semester, first year students… They have grown up in a more structured environment, from the outside, from parents and school and after school activities, and they have a lot of expectations, and then suddenly their structure isn’t being artificially imposed from somebody outside of themselves, and that’s a big hurdle for some of these students.”

Senior Outdoor Recreation and Business major Vaughn Keenhold, who has grown up in the Gen Z timeframe, agrees with Montgomery, but naturally sees the whole picture from a slightly different perspective. “I’ve was fortunate to grow up in a time when I didn’t have a cell phone, I didn’t have cable and I didn’t have internet in my house. My parents would bring us to family get togethers and I was always able to talk with adults and hold legitimate conversations with anyone from a young age,” says Keenhold, “however, I can totally see with those around me they while they are engaged in their phones, everything is happening around them, and they are having a harder time engaging with adults because of this.”

Keenhold, a Millennial, also doesn’t believe technology’s effects on social behavior are only affecting the Gen Z population. “I also think that adults now, with social media usage and everything like that, adults are having issues relating to other adults, as well as children, because of the same technology,” says Keenhold. “With Millennials and Generation Z, they just aren’t making the connections and experiences that they would normally be making otherwise, I don’t think it has as much to do with disruption of normal child development.”

Feeling uncomfortable with a lot of the ways that Millennials have been “pigeon-holed” or the way that tern has become a stereotype in the media, Montgomery finds herself waiting to see if Gen Z will be portrayed with a more positive manner. She believes that understanding each other and the differences in place due to these generational differences can help us to learn from each other. “We can use this generation gap as a lense to relate to each other in order to help better navigate the world,” said Montgomery.

Indoor Track Balances Increase in Members with Limited Budget

Indoor Track Balances Increase in Members with Limited Budget

By Leah Boucher –Staff Reporter

    The UMF Track Club has recently grown to over 30 athletes, creating a challenge for its Executive Board to strictly adhere to the $4,200 budget given for the winter semester. With the first meet of the season on December 9th, the team faces the stress of funding before they begin to compete.

   Instead of coaches taking on the responsibility of the club, students on the E-board are in control of finding transportation, lodging, and calculating the costs of each meet while trying to stay under budget. Ben Toribio, President of the club, knows that the increase in team size this semester will force them to make some changes in order to stay within their funds.

Senior Jesse Enos and UMF Alum Sean Cabaniss compete in an indoor track meet in 2016.
credit: Jesse Enos

   “During the last indoor track season, we had around 20 athletes, allowing us to take school vans or local buses to meets,” said Toribio. “However, now that we are pushing 30 members, we need to look for other ways to transport the entire team without spending thousands of dollars on a coach bus.”

    Jesse Enos, Vice President of the club, has the job of finding out what, how, and when the team will spend the money, forcing him and Toribio to make the decision to cancel the original first meet on December 2nd.

 

 

“To my knowledge, I don’t think the budget has changed drastically since last year, but more members means more equipment, gear, and entrance fees,” said Enos. “Plus, after looking for a coach bus to Smith College for two days, it would have put us out of $3,500, which made it fiscally irresponsible to attend that meet with our budget in mind.”

    Kirsten Corey, Secretary of the Track Club, is sticking with a positive outlook on the season due to team growth. “When looking at our overall team goals for the winter semester, I do not expect that our limited budget will interfere with reaching them, as more members give us a stronger team,” said Corey. “Ultimately, our goals for indoor are to train and prepare for the NAC championship meet in the outdoor season, so even if we have a meet or two canceled, we can still prepare just as hard in practices.”

    Enos believes that if the indoor club was instead a varsity sport, they may have more money to work with to attend meets in Massachusetts and other states in New England.

   “Right now, it’s disappointing that we can’t attend more meets in various states, as this gives us more competition to work with and build from,” he said. “If we were a varsity sport, our funding would come from tuition, but as a club, most of our money comes from the activity fee that all students pay as well as any fundraising we take on, limiting our choice in meets in connection with their distance from UMF.”

    Although the team will compete in Maine for the majority of their meets, Corey doesn’t want this to discourage new members. “Most of our new athletes are freshman, and they have a lot of potential and put a lot of work into each practice,” she said. “As a team, we need to support them and stress the importance of their talents and efforts.”

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