Dorm Talk: Audio Insights From by Two College Freshman

Dorm Talk: Audio Insights From by Two College Freshman

Thomas Young, Contributing Writer

The artwork for “Dorm Talk” a podcast by UMF freshmen Riley Cushing and Corbin Bouchard (Photo Courtesy of Thomas Young)

Dorm Talk, an untraditional and lighthearted podcast created by UMF freshman Corbin Bouchard and Riley Cushing consists of authentic discussion between the co-hosts on a wide variety of topics.

   Creating the podcast was Cushing’s idea. “I always found [podcasts] really interesting,” Cushing said, “I always liked listening to them, so why not?”

   Bouchard, on the other hand, was originally against the idea. “[Cushing] dragged me along,” Bouchard said with a chuckle about his co-host.

   A podcast is essentially a free audio blog. Typically a podcast comes in a series, with each new episode published regularly. Podcasts allow for a strong connection to exist between the listener and the host due to the conversational atmosphere created by its audio form.

   Dorm Talk had a rough start. It took three attempts to record the first episode due to technical difficulties. Neither student has any sort of podcast or audio editing background. “It’s a little challenging sometimes,” Bouchard admits.

       Traditionally a podcast will focus on one theme, such as politics or video games. Dorm Talk does not follow this style, and instead the co-hosts talk about a new topic every episode in order to reach the interests of their many followers. “It’s very broad, [because] we have a broad audience,” said Cushing. Dorm Talk’s podcasts are anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.


   In their first podcast the pair talks about how they faced doubt from a lot of people when they mentioned they wanted to start a podcast. “Right off the bat, we didn’t even get a chance,” Bouchard said in episode one titled “Getting Started.” In order to get the word out about the podcast, the aspiring co-hosts “spammed everyone they knew,” Bouchard said, to which Cushing added, “and we actually got a lot of views.”

   In episode two, while moving on from the difficulties faced during the creation of the podcast, the two co-hosts discuss the struggles of having, or not having, a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. In episode three, the duo moves away from the theme of romance (or lack thereof) and into an entirely new one about road rage. It’s in this episode that they have their first guests: Alison and Jorja Hooper.

   Bouchard and Cushing never prepare a script before the recordings. In fact, for a recently recorded episode, Bouchard admitted to not even knowing the episode’s topic until fifteen minutes before recording. “When we come up with a topic, we agree to not talk about it until we are in the studio recording so that it’s more authentic,” Bouchard said in an online correspondence. “Dorm Talk is supposed to be raw, and sorta messy,” said Cushing.

   The co-hosts said that the hardest part of making Dorm Talk is scheduling. With different course loads, it can be hard for the duo to find the time to create an episode. Since this is the biggest difficulty they have faced thus far, both Bouchard and Cushing highly recommend to anyone who might be interested to create their own.

   Dorm Talk is currently posted on Youtube, Spotify and SoundCloud under the name “Dorm Talk.” Any student interested in buying stickers of their logo, or potentially t-shirts in the future, should follow and message the Instagram account “dormtalk.”

Chillin’ and Grillin’ with the Health Club

Chillin’ and Grillin’ with the Health Club

The UMF Health Club and health classes aimed to show students that managing stress and health is important for success (Photo by Gina Schultz)

By Allison Jarvis, Contributing Writer

  The Health Club recently put together an event in the student center called “Chillin’ and Grillin’,” aiming to educate the students and promote ways to make healthy choices in four areas: Physical health, nutritional health, sexual health, and mental health. Each section had tables with different games, activities, quizzes, displays, and pamphlets for students to take.

   The Health Club teamed up with students in two health classes to make this event possible. “The long term goal is to change the behavior of students by informing them how to better manage their stress, have a positive sexual health behavior, better nutritional diet, and become more physically active,” said Jamie Dillion, the vice president of the Health Club, via email interview. “It is to promote overall health.”

   The games and events acted as an effective stress reliever for finals week. “It was not intended to be this late in the semester but it has worked out nicely as this is when students’ stress levels heighten,” said Colby Stevens, a senior who helped with the mental health portion of the event. “Through this program, we hope to teach students how to effectively manage their stress.”

Justin Davis wearing a “Captain Condom” costume (Photo by Gina Schultz)

   Free hot dogs and hamburgers were served outside the Student Center and more healthy food was offered in the Landing. There were two games set up for students to show how much sugar is in popular snacks and compare prices between healthy and unhealthy choices.

   “There are not a lot of healthy options in college for food and students tend to struggle with eating healthy,” said Norma Williams, a senior and community health education major.

   The mental health portion of the event was also hosted in the Landing, including activities like yoga, coloring, and making stress balls. The students of the Health Club find it vitally important for everyone, college students especially, to manage their stress and maintain their mental health, which is often overlooked socially.

   Katie Callahan, the health professor and Health Club faculty sponsor who helped oversee this event, believes very firmly in the importance of stress management. “College students have a lot to balance, and that is incredibly difficult,” said Callahan. “Many times, self-care is the first thing that can be pushed aside because it doesn’t come with a ‘deadline.’”

   All of the activities offered were chosen so students could feel like they can afford it and have time for it. Pamphlets were handed out with stress management strategies that students can practice at home.

   The students running the physical health section had a number of games to play including Twister and Just Dance. One table ran a “Diabetes: Fact vs Myth” Kahoot! trivia game for students to try. If a question was answered incorrectly, the student had to spin the wheel of exercise and do a quick session of jumping jacks, squats, or pushups. The health students always did the exercising with them so no one felt embarrassed.

   The students running the sexual health section arranged a small display with a colorful banner hung above the table that read “Let’s talk about sex, baby!” The table was decked with presentation boards providing facts about how to have healthy sex and prevent unwanted pregnancies and diseases. On the table were several products such as birth control, condoms, and even a few sex toys. Students were tested to see if they knew how to put a diaper on a baby doll, or how to properly put on a condom by using a squirt gun made to look like a penis.

   To make the subject of sex ed more lighthearted, health student Justin Davis volunteered to come dressed as a condom-themed superhero. He stood at the display, answered students’ questions, and walked around the room tossing packaged condoms at other students.

   Dillion spoke about the reasoning behind the outfit. “[It was] definitely an excuse to put our peer in a condom costume,” said Dillion. “Maybe that was not the main reason, but it was definitely a deciding factor. The idea of the condom costume is to draw people in and show how sexual health can be safe and fun!”

   Callahan and her students hope that their community not only had a good time but that they felt better prepared for finals week and can take some knowledge with them in the future. “It is in hopes that the students are able to better manage their stress so that they have a higher chance of success and end the year strong!” said Dillion. “Whatever follows them afterward, it would be beneficial for them to have these skills in times of need.” The Health Club hopes to host this event again next year with the same amount of success.

A Tale of Two Improv Groups

Ciera Miller Contributing Writer

    On March 29, Lincoln Auditorium was bursting with laughter, and not just from UMF’s resident improv group, The Lawn Chair Pirates (LCP), but also from a special guest improv group, the Teachers Lounge Mafia (TLM). First on their own and then together, the groups fueled stomach splitting shenanigans the entire night.

   Steffon Gales of LCP had worked previously with his Practicum teacher, Dan Ryder, in a earlier LCP/TLM collaboration, and Gales thought it might be fun to have one more performance with the TLM before graduating. Together, the two began planning and soon the night was born.

    Members of both groups were eager for the collaboration. “They were all for it,” Gales said of LCP. Jeff Bailey and Kyla Wheeler of the Teachers Lounge Mafia expressed their own excitement. They’d only had one rehearsal before the performance, and although every improv group has their “own flavor, own vibes”, the two worked well together.

   Audrey Keith, recently inducted into LCP, was nervous but she’d worked with Ryder before as he was one of her previous teachers, so she knew his brand of humor and appreciated it. “It’s a little weird to play ‘Sex is like…’ with my old teacher,” Keith said.

   Even Neil Noilette knew the other group. “I play D&D with Jeff and my dad,” Noilette said, “so it made it easier.” Though he was a little wary as well. “If it’s not good,” Noilette said, “it’s 50% not our fault!”

    But the performance was phenomenal, and 50% of it was LCP’s fault.

    The first third of the show was designated to TLM, to introduce the crowd to a new kind of comedy. LCP agreed that the other group had a more experienced style as they have been doing improv for longer. TLM introduced their game “Clickable”, the exact opposite of LCP’s notorious game “Sniper”, and is incidentally where “Sniper” originated from.

   “Yeah, one of the older members took ‘Clickable’, where you ask a person which character they want to know more about, and thought, ‘Hey, what if instead, you killed them?’” Wheeler said, laughing.

   LCP were up to their own tricks in their third of the show. Memorably, Jeremy Tingdahl and Brock Bubat played ‘Nouner’, where the audience gave Tingdahl three nouns and he had to explain them all to Brock, who had to guess what they were. The first noun laid some heavy unhappiness on Michelle Obama’s school lunch policies, the second took Bubar to France where he’d forgotten what Paris was called and was convinced that Tingdahl’s arm was a baguette, and the third noun brought them to a mountain side where Tingdahl tried help Bubar understand that he wasn’t talking about goats, but about llamas. “Brock, they spit, like this,” Tingdahl had said, then acted it out.

   The two groups melded well together. The way that Ryder and Eil Mowry held (and dropped) Simba at Pride Rock caused the audience to burst into laughter. Eli’s comment “Can’t we just get a new one?” struck a similar chord, followed by Ryder retrieving a new baby that seemed more like a zebra than a lion.

   Keith survived playing “Sex is like…” with her former teacher, and it was just like he was another member of her improv group. In ‘The Dating Game’, Gales’ famous character Julian (a young boy going through puberty) found love with Bailey’s Shakira character, though Hailey Craig’s Captain Marvel and Phil Hobby’s kleptomaniac continuously eating nachos created some competition.

   “There was no need to figure out the chemistry, it was just there,” Gales said. The groups expect to collaborate again in the future. Gales hopes, since it’s his last semester at the UMF, that LCP can continue to interact with the Farmington community after he leaves. “We are part of it,” Gales said, “so we should interact more in it.”

    Gales’ last show is April 27 in Lincoln Auditorium. This show will also be the final LCP performance Nick D’Aleo and Jonas Maines as well. TLM will be performing on April 26 at Mount Blue high school.

Public Hearings about NECEC Held at UMF

Public Hearings about NECEC Held at UMF

By Darby Murnane & Emily Mokler Assistant Editor & Editor-in-Chief


The public forums provided a platform for discussion about the CMP powerline. (Photo by Emily Mokler)

Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hosted a week-long collection of hearings and two public forums on the UMF campus to address the proposed Central Maine Power (CMP) transmission line during the first week of April. This project, the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), has been met with controversy from Maine residents as both those for and against the project have voiced concern over how the state’s actions will impact the course of climate change.

   The transmission, according to The Portland Press Herald, will run 145 miles from the Canadian border just north of route 27 to Lewiston, ME, and approximately 50-55 miles of this would be newly constructed lines, the remaining distance consisting of existing lines that would be widened by 75-150 feet. Electricity generated by Quebec Hydropower would be carried to Massachusetts via the NECEC to aid MA. in meeting state green-energy standards. The transmission line is set to run directly through Farmington.

   Many Mainers came forward during the public forums on April 2 and 4 to argue in favor of the line and implored the DEP panel members to take timely and productive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Speakers often cited the estimated 12 years the world has to take proactive steps in reversing climate change before it is too late.

   The project is also meant to provide economic benefits to Mainers as workers will be needed for construction. Matt Marks, CEO of Associated General Contractors of Maine (ACG) spoke at the April 6 forum on behalf of his company to argue for the NECEC job opportunities, stating that AGC had lost 10,000 workers in recent recessions.  “More than 5200 megawatts of oil, coal, and nuclear power plants will be retired from from 2013-2022. And another 5000 megawatts of coal and oil fire generation could retire in a couple years,” Marks said. “We need to replace these plants and 1200 megawatts of clean, reliable hydropower delivered to Lewiston, maine will be the region’s  largest source of electricity from clean energy.”

   Conversely, those speaking against the NECEC expressed fear that environmental damage and greenhouse gas emitted by the construction of the line will outweigh the proposed benefits. As an estimated 50-55 miles of land would be cleared to make way for the transmission line, environmentalist opponents argue that the deforestation and carbon dioxide (CO2) released from clear-cut vegetation essentially cancels out what CO2 is meant to be eliminated by the NECEC.

   Tom Saviello, a former Maine Senator, also spoke at the April 6 forum, adding to the environmental debate with his expertise in forestry, having earned a Phd in Forest Resources from University of Maine. “One tree can absorb as much carbon a year that a car produces while driving 26,000 miles. Over the course of a life, a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide,” Saviello said. “So if we take the 55 miles of the corridor, that’s 150 feet wide and the rest 70 feet wide, we’ll cut a lot of trees which will equate to about 800,000 pounds of car carbon emissions.”

   There was some discrepancy among speakers about how many trees would actually be cut as many in favor of the line argued that the supposedly pristine wilderness through which the line would run is already crossed by access roads, as well as stretches of working forests such as logging ground. Yet those against the line noted that logged forests are able to regrow, whereas land home to transmissions line are routinely sprayed with herbicides to keep vegetation at bay.

   As Saviello testified before the DEP panel, he also commented on Maine’s legal responsibility in addressing climate via environmental law, stating, “We set goals for Maine, not New England. So I do suggest this part of the law should be addressed as part of the site location permit for [NECEC] can be issued.”

A Beaver For The Books: Erin Buckland

By Libby Shanahan Contributing Writer

   From racing down snowy mountains of western Maine, to scoring a try while playing rugby with some of the best collegiate female athletes in the Floridian flatlands, Erin Buckland – junior, Officer of Club Affairs (OCA) of Student Senate, and general studies major – sheds light on her exciting life as a UMF Beaver.

   A Farmington native, Buckland attended the nearby snow sports academy Carrabassett Valley Academy, (CVA) where she was able to hone in on her alpine racing abilities while competing alongside some of the best in the business. “I have always been competitive and dedicated to what I decide to do,” said Buckland. “With that being said, being in that environment gave me an edge that I have been able to see transfer over into my day to day life.”

   Since first arriving to UMF in 2016, Buckland has gotten involved in several on-campus leadership roles, clubs, and organizations – even working her way to becoming the student-assistant alpine coach. “I’m not quite sure how it all began, like I don’t think that there was a huge moment where I realized that this was what I wanted to do,” Buckland said, “I guess I sort of came into these positions with not only a clear idea of the changes that I wanted to make, but how I wanted to be involved.”

   Buckland is an active member of Student Senate. She first began as a senator but has now moved into the executive role of OCA. Among many duties, Buckland primarily oversees the functioning of all clubs on campus, and assures that all clubs are using funds properly and keeping up to date on proper documentation.

  Buckland has a personal goal that she wishes to tackle before leaving her position as OCA. “I want to make it so that clubs, both sports and regular clubs alike, have someone that they can see as a sounding board in Senate,” Buckland explained, “When I first had a got elected to E-board for rugby as Vice President of the women’s team, I was shocked at how much shuffling around from different offices and people that you had to do just to get your club remotely on the books.”

   Perhaps Buckland’s most gleaming passion is for the rugby team. Buckland described her first season as a rookie on the team, “I was completely new to the sport, but I also had a feeling that I had met a solid group of girls who kicked a**, as cliche as that may sound.” No stranger to hard work, Buckland picked up the sport within weeks and scored her first “try” (which is worth five points, the maximum amount of points that can be scored).

   After her first season, Buckland was elected vice president of the team. Shortly thereafter, her talents and accomplishments were recognized and moved into the captain/president role on the team. “I take being captain and president very seriously, and it really means a lot that the girls trust me to be that position,” said Buckland.

   “I guess I was just excited that I was able to find something that ultimately has become one of my favorite things to do, and hopefully something that I could turn into a career,” said Buckland.

   “Now that I have some coaching experience on the hill, and even though the sports are vastly different, I keep toying with the idea of coaching rugby,” Buckland said. “Even though I never thought that I would go to UMF, I am glad that I did… I don’t think that I would have come into these positions anywhere else.”

Checking in on Spring Student Teachers

By Avery Ryan Contributing Writer

  The projector whirs with the display of a world map. A flurry of Expo markers paints rules, legends, and keys across the expanse of the whiteboard. Students ponder, murmur, and think. Suddenly, a spark. Discussion deepens, smiles spread across students faces as their understanding grows. The bell rings and students rise from their seats, but discussion has not stopped.

   “That’s my goal. To have a classroom that is both engaging and enjoyable,” said Isaac Michaud, a social studies student teachers at Skowhegan Area High School. Michaud, like all spring student teachers, has reached the halfway point of his assignment. “I felt prepared educationally, [in January, when he started student teaching] but I was still very nervous… you never know what can happen in a classroom.”

   Michaud emphasized how valuable the experience of student teaching has been for him. “I hadn’t been in the classroom in a while, and being in a classroom teaching what I love made me want to teach.” Even will all of his classes, Michaud felt that there was much to be gained from student teaching. “You can be taught lesson plans and strategies, but you can’t prepare for the behavior and interactions from students and faculty.”

   Chelsea Ballard, another student teacher, offered a different perspective going into her assignment: “In October I joined this class for the Advanced Practicum and transitioned right to student teaching in January… I already knew my mentor teacher, the staff, and my kiddos so I wasn’t introduced to anything new. My perspective on teaching hasn’t changed, and this has confirmed that this is exactly what I want to to do with my life. I look forward to getting up and going to school everyday.”

   Both student teachers noted the “lightbulb moments” as their favorite times in their placements. “This student was really confused one day during math instruction. I noticed, and took the time to sit down with the student one on one and break down what we were doing,” said Ballard. “At the end of my explanation, a light bulb went on in the students head, and they finally understood. I love being able to have those special moments with my students. It makes me feel like I am doing a good job.”

   Similarly, Michaud stated that “It was one of my first activities with a senior group. I was nervous about how close we were in age, and it was an activity focused on the development of countries. They got really into the activity and asked if we could do it again with different countries. They left the class smiling.”

   On the topic of obstacles, both Michaud and Ballard noted how difficult it is to balance their personal lives with teaching. “Whether it be managing time with schoolwork, or trying to have a social life, it can be pretty difficult,” said Ballard. “As a college student there are a lot of different times during the day to do schoolwork. When you are teaching, there is barely any time to go to the bathroom. So learning how to manage your time for schoolwork and a social life can be challenging.”

   Michaud echoed Ballard’s thoughts: “In teaching you can only plan so far ahead. When I get home I’m doing all kinds of other work.” Michaud continued with advice from his mentor, “You have to ask yourself, ‘Is it important, or urgent?’ Does it have to happen now or can it happen tomorrow? Go for that run, hang out with friends – take care of yourself.”

   As far as advice for future student teachers, Michaud said “Don’t be afraid to take risks that are different from your mentors approach, and don’t get caught up in all of your outside work for seminar. Take care of yourself, then your students, then seminar.”

   Ballard offered another perspective: “Take every opportunity you can get. Go to every meeting, every parent teacher conference, and really get to know your kids. You would be surprised to how much you learn about yourself as a teacher from your students. Kids need us and we need them.”

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