On Campus or Off Campus… That is the Question

On Campus or Off Campus… That is the Question

By Caitlyn Raye Contributing Writer

Right now, many UMF students are either beginning the vigorous search for an apartment or choosing the easier option of life on campus in the residence halls.

Foothills is one of the many companies that students rent apartments through. (Photo by Eryn Finnegan)

   Kelsey Champagne-Smith, the Assistant Director of Housing and Academic Success at UMF, explained in an email interview that the number of students on campus compared to students off campus is about half of the UMF population. When asked if UMF loses students to apartment companies each year, Champagne-Smith explained, “I don’t know if I would say we lose students to apartments. If you mean from year to year how many students do we retain in our campus housing, then that would be around 63 percent.”

  The price of living on campus varies depending on the type of room a student lives in and the meal plan chosen. The average cost of a double room is $2519 a semester and the meal plans vary depending on year at UMF. Freshmen, however, are required to have meal plan A, which costs $2148 a semester. For a room and a meal plan on campus, a freshman will be paying around $4667 a semester, totaling $9334 for a whole year.

   Kimberly Day, a junior at UMF, explains the decision to move off campus by saying that “living on campus is ridiculously expensive and you can save a lot more money by moving off campus.”

   Day is convinced that living off campus is cheaper.  “Based on doing the math, you save a pretty good amount of money but it is different for everybody because it depends on what your financial aid package is too and how much you will be getting back as a refund at the end of it,” Day said. “For me, I know I will be saving at least a couple thousand dollars by moving off campus.”

   Day will pay approximately $380 a month for her apartment. Day has also calculated that the apartment will cost around $4600 a year, not including outside expenses like groceries.

   Day explained other reasons for moving, such as “having the responsibility of my own place and having my own space and not having to share things like bathrooms.” Day also explained that a big pro of being off campus “would be not having to eat dining hall food.”

   Although a student may be off campus, they still have access to the dining hall. Students living off campus have the choice to purchase a voluntary meal plan.

   Kelsey Brann, a sophomore at UMF, lives in the Frances Allen Black (FAB) residence hall. Brann explained that the decision to stay on campus next semester was due to campus being convenient.

   “It’s good to live on campus so you know where things are for the first year or two but I wouldn’t recommend all four years,” Brann said.

   Brann does plan to move off campus at some point, but described the advantages to living on campus. Brann said that “the dining hall and snack bar are close by, so I do not have to cook for myself, as well as having my friends a short walk away.”

   Champagne-Smith agreed and provided the pros of living on campus by saying, “living on campus provides students with secure housing and access to food through our dining services. Additionally, students who live on campus are able to interact with their peers, faculty, and staff on a regular basis. Programming such as CA events, the Landing Events, and club events are also easily accessible by students who live on campus. In Student Life, we hope that living on campus encourages personal and professional growth for UMF students through leadership opportunities and involvement in the community.” Champagne-Smith however did not provide any cons of living on campus.

UMF Supports #metoo Movement

By Olivia White Contributing Writer 

UMF is showing its support for the #metoo movement by hosting “The Vagina Monologues,” a play by Eve Ensler based off of interviews from over 200 women speaking out about about sexual assault and abuse experiences in February.

   People everywhere are voicing their views on sexual harassment and sexual assault through #metoo, a social media hashtag that opens a space for people to share their stories on being sexually harassed and/or assaulted.

   Alyssa Leonard, a freshman at UMF, said she “can’t really relate to #metoo personally, but just knowing so many people that do makes me genuinely sick. No one should ever have to go through something like that.”

    Other student’s views echo Leonard’s position, arguing that sexual assault is a horrible thing, or they avoided answering the saying they felt uncomfortable talking about the subject.

     The students of UMF have expressed their views on campus awareness and precautions. Sophomore and Clefnote member, Vanessa Brown said that, “as cliché as it sounds, campus awareness is unity. Whether its physical, verbal, mental, emotional….unity is the strength in which all hopes and fears are destroyed.”

   Brown also said the campus should be encouraging the students, “to create safe spaces, to incite discussions, to allow all stories be an important one.”

    Some students on campus are not used to sexuality being so public and outspoken and it makes many uncomfortable. Others feel as though they cannot express their thoughts for fear they may have the “wrong” opinion in the minds of their peers.

    When asked how she thought sexual assault could be prevented on campus, Leonard said “a good idea would be to have conversations. I know there’s something on campus happening called ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ where they are talking about sexual harassment.”

    The cast for this year’s production are students from UMF, who will be under the direction of Gavin Pickering, a counselor here at UMF. The characters delivering monologues talk frankly about sexuality as a whole and women’s perceptions of their bodies. “The Vagina Monologues” will be held at the Emery Arts Center at 6 p.m. on February 23rd. 

    Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services (SAPARS) along with Safe Voices are organizations that helps those who have experienced a form of sexual assault. If you need help please contact one of these organizations; SAPARS: 207-778-9522 or 1-800-871-7741, Safe Voices: 207-778-6107 or 1-800-559-2927, and/or Non-Crisis Peer to Peer Support: 1-866-771-9276.


Students Express their Thoughts on the Repeal of Net Neutrality

By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted a 3-2 repeal of Net Neutrality in December. Without Net Neutrality, internet service providers can control the content seen on websites and block out what they do not want people to see, as well slowing down the speed of their customer’s internet. If a user wanted to gain faster speed, they would have to pay for it.

   Although there are still more steps the repeal has to go through before becoming official, there is worry for what the lack of an open internet could mean. For college students, this repeal could make getting assignments done a challenge in the future. Students who work for the I.T. department voiced their reservations about what it could mean for classes and using social media.

   Bethany Haynes, a sophomore and IT student worker, expressed thoughts on what could happen if people were charged for using individual websites in addition to paying for internet access. “When I first found out about it, I was pretty angry,” said Haynes. “It would make doing schoolwork hard, as it could mean more expenses for students who already have to pay for their Internet service provider.”

   Haynes added, “People who aren’t able to pay their Internet bill now because of the change, are going to have hard time accessing these websites… For school, that would be a bad thing, obviously, because we need access to these websites.”

   Another IT student worker, freshman Zachary Petcher, believes it will be rough for students to do their coursework. “It’s just making it challenging, and we would have to pay more money for. It’s just not ideal.”  

   As university is already expensive for students, the additional cost of paying to use the Internet for school or for recreational usage might be hard for students to afford even though it is a basic need in modern life.

   States across the country have been fighting against the repeal of Net Neutrality by trying to sue the FCC. Maine is one of the states that is going against the FCC to keep the usage of free Internet.

   Both Petcher and Haynes believe that paying for using social media websites would make it tough on students. “It’s just more money that we’re going to be forced to spend to get these basic things that we have been reliant on, and are becoming more reliant on,” said Haynes.

   The Internet is a tool many professors use in class, and students are often required to use it for homework assignments. If students had to pay to access class-related websites, assignments may be tough for students to complete.

   Haynes admitted she was unaware of Net Neutrality until the issue arose back in December. “We just want Internet. We just want nice Internet,” said Haynes, who urged students to keep on voicing their rights on this issue. “Keep fighting for it. The last thing we want is to spend more money.”

UMF Defends FRC Graduation Requirement for Transfer Students

By Dale J Rappaneau Jr Contributing Writer

Transfer students, regardless of age or background, are currently required to fulfill UMF’s mandatory PHE course in order to graduate, which has some transfer students feeling frustrated and marginalized.

   Andrea Swiedom, a 26-year-old Creative Writing major who commutes an hour to and from UMF, says she was told during enrollment that the PHE course was not required for transfer students. “When my advisor, Jeff [Thomson], told me it was required, I thought he must have had it wrong,” said Swiedom. “I thought it was a joke or that Jeff didn’t know, because I remember being told transfer students didn’t have to take it.”

   Swiedom added, “I think the requirement makes sense for younger students who don’t have a good routine established or get too nervous to get into the gym, but common sense should be implemented into the system.”

   Michael J Angelides, transfer counselor for UMF, said when he works with transfer students who are concerned about PHE, he tells them it is a “required class for all students” and “a great way to force some students out of their comfort zone and get them familiar and comfortable with the FRC.” He added that, in the past, “it’s entirely possible that I didn’t grasp the requirement for transfers and misrepresented the requirement to some of them early in my role as transfer counselor.”

   Alison Thayer, coordinator of first-year collegiate physical fitness, stands behind the college’s requirement for all students, traditional and transfer alike, to take the mandatory PHE course. “Even transfers will benefit with becoming familiar with the Fitness and Recreation Center,” she said. “They’ll get to know others who exercise, maybe find a study partner—and being active benefits everyone, regardless of age.” Thayer later added, “ I can certainly see how the PHE course could be stressful for the person who commutes, has kids, and a full-time job. I understand a 30-year-old isn’t going to want to be in a class with 20-year-olds, which is why we try to be flexible, just come to me and let’s talk.”

   Part of that flexibility is being demonstrated during this semester by students like Swiedom, who are fulfilling their PHE requirement through a Mainely Outdoors learn-to-ski program. “That’s a totally new idea,” said Thayer, who credited adjunct professor Scott Hoisington for spearheading the program’s implementation. “They take about twenty or thirty students and twice a week they learn to ski on Titcomb, with a third day attending the regular PHE class. We want our students to learn physical activity skills that they’ll take with them after graduation, and this is one example.”

   Although appreciative that the learn-to-ski program is fulfilling the PHE requirement, Swiedom said she “would have learned to ski regardless of the PHE credit,” and still feels the requirement for transfers to take the PHE course is less beneficial and more “bureaucratic nonsense.” Thayer, on the other hand, is thankful for having taken the PHE course when she attended UMF, for it inspired her to learn how to cross-country ski, a passion she still enjoys today.

Rainbow League Attend LGBT Conference in D.C.

By Aspen Miller Contributing Writer

The Rainbow League recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the Creating Change conference, an event sponsored by the National LGBTQ Task Force. The conference, a four-day event, focused primarily on activism and intersectionality, with the intent to help teach people in the community how to help others when they don’t share the same struggles.

   Vice President Cheyenne Candow said, “It was a super cool educational opportunity, and a good professional development opportunity, especially for those going into [jobs involving the community], because it’s like a trial run.”

   Candow explained that while executive board members held priority, the club were able to bring a couple general members this year, with the hope that each year they travel, the club will be able to bring more members along. These members were selected by a lottery system,  provided they regularly attended meetings.

  One of the members selected was Sophomore Julia Allen, who was excited about the experience. “Going to a specifically LGBT event was something I’d never been able to do before,” Allen said.

   The experience proved to be positive. When asked what should be brought back to the community from the conference, Allen said, “Definitely the amount of respect and appreciation everyone had for each other. Literally everyone was thought of when planning events and it was such a productive and thoughtful work environment.”

   President Dan Keller shared similar sentiments; “The level of inclusiveness and love was staggering. It would make it all worth it to have that amount of acceptance on campus. You introduce yourself with your pronouns and everyone is on board.”

  Candow shared that “there are a lot of things I’m eager to share with the club, and eager to use myself.” One opportunity Candow is excited about is possibly bringing public speaker Aneesah Smith to campus. Candow found Smith’s session on allyship and accompliceship enlightening.

   Smith encouraged Candow and others at the conference to be supportive of minorities within the community beyond when it is convenient for them, and give minorities in the community space to speak out.

   Outside of panels, attendees at the conference had the opportunity to meet individuals in the LGBT community from across the nation. Keller said, “There were trans activists and lawyers. I met someone who was an activist for ‘No Pride. No Justice.’ who climbed a local tower and unfurled a banner.”

   Additionally, Candow mentioned that there were suites dedicated to many sections of the LGBT community. An Aromantic/Asexual suite was created by people in that community when they were not initially provided with one, something the conference says will be provided next year. For more information about the Rainbow League, you can attend one of their meetings on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Room 001 of the Education Center.

Professors and Students Brace for Upcoming Snow Days

Professors and Students Brace for Upcoming Snow Days

By Richard Southard Contributing Writer

UMF facilities maintenance removing snow on campus after two sudden storms. (Photo by Emily Mokler)

Students and professors alike have started preparing for winter class cancellations, after a winter storm at the beginning of the semester brought a late start to many classes. With more predictions of snowy weather, their effects on weekly schedules may become apparent.

   English Professor Christine Darrohn said, “[The weather] can be unpredictable.” The effects of class cancellations can vary, depending on the class and its workload. “It depends on a few different factors such as what days are they affecting, and if they are hitting the same classes,” Darrohn said.

   Darrohn mentioned that, in the case of literature courses, snow days can result in assignments being more compressed. “It can sometimes be hard to combine two classes worth of reading into a single day. But it is Maine, and I try to prepare for it as best as I can.”

   English Professor Michael Johnson prepares for snow days well in advance. “Snow days and cancellations just seem to come with living in Maine,” Johnson said. “I always expect that they will happen.” Johnson alters his schedule before the semester begins, in order to be more flexible during the unpredictable weather. “I plan accordingly,” Johnson said, “either by building an open day or two in the syllabus, or already having in mind what to cut or combine if need be.”

   For students, the feelings around snow days are rather mixed. Third-year Education major Nate Red stated that snow days are more negative in excess. “You get some time to catch up, but you’re losing time to learn,” Red said. Red expressed that having only a few snow days are “super positive”, as they give some chance to relieve some stress. “Before high-school, snow days were always fun, but after then, it’s a bit different.”

   As an educator, Red has also experienced the teacher’s perspective to snow days. “It’s a day you lose to teach kids,” Red said. “When you’re looking to go into teaching, that’s what you want to do, and cancelled classes affect that.” Bryce Neal, a fourth-year Geology major, had a similar feeling. “I’m paying for classes, so I’m missing something I paid for,” Neal said. Overall, a class cancellation can reduce some of the workload for the day, but can sometimes increase it. “I try to make them productive”,  Neal said.

   Despite the negative effects snow storms can have on schedules, it can leave room for some leisurely activities. “Snow days do allow me to try some different things,” Neal said. “Sometimes I like to ski in the roads.”

  As the Spring semester continues with two cancellations already, both students and professors expect for more snow and cancelled classes, but just how many is unsure. “I’m sure there will be more,” Neal said. “At least two or three more.”

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