Ballroom Dance Club at UMF Takes a Spin

Maegan Hewey Contributing Writer

    Tapping, twirling, leaping, swinging, all the moves that come with the Ballroom Dance Club. As this club has just joined the UMF family at the start of the fall 2018 semester, they are moving like no other.    

   Julia Allen, a Junior creative writing and theatre major, is the instructor for the Ballroom Dance Club. “I started learning ballroom through a friend about a year and a half ago,” said Allen. “But a lot of what I know is from lessons in my hometown, and being self taught.”

   Dancing tends to bring out the confidence in people, and this club aims to do just that as Allen says encouragement is one of her main priorities.

   “I have found in my experience that ballroom has encouraged people to interact more on a social level and become more self-assured,” Allen said. “I just love watching our members grow and become more comfortable with dancing.”

   Since this is a new club on campus, their focus might change with the coming years, but as right now, they people to learn dance and have fun. “Eventually I would like to see us use the skills that we have learned at a social dance, and perhaps at competitions in the future,” said Allen.

   Ballroom dance is not one kind of dance, there are many different styles. “Some of the recent dances we’ve worked on are tango, cha cha, and foxtrot,” said Allen. “But our favorite so far is swing!” Swing is a type of dance that is bouncy, fast past and up beat. Once dancers learn the moves, they can apply them to just about any song.

   If learning to dance is something that sounds intriguing, students can swing their way into it from 7 p.m, to 8 p.m. in Roberts Learning Center 005 on Monday’s. If Monday’s do not work, the club also offers sessions on Friday’s from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a fee of $5 for non-student members.

BAM Busts a Move at Fall Recital

Sara Pinette Contributing Writer

   All forty-five members of Bust-A-Move Beavers came together for three shows during Thanksgiving week to give students, friends and families a performance that left the audience electrified and roaring with applause.

The shows included different styles of music and dance including lyrical, tap, contemporary, jazz, clog, hip-hop, and even some ballet. The show kicked off with all black attire and a high tempo beat as the entire club took part in the number titled “Soul Bossa Nova” choreographed by Alyssa Leonard, Carson Hope, and Jamie St. Pierre – all UMF students.

During the first half of the show, the club performed large group numbers such as “Jailhouse Rock” and “Supermarket Flowers”, which showcased the clubs synchronicity and fluidity as a team.

Among the group dances, the show featured 27 others pieces choreographed by 19 different members of the club and for many, that is the most exciting part of putting on a show like this. Heather Towle, a sophomore and psychology major, performed with BAM for the first time during show week.

“It felt really great to perform with my really close friends and I’ve been dancing pretty much my whole life, but I’ve never actually performed my own choreography.”

The President of the club, Morgan Laferriere, then chimed in and said, “her choreography is so good.”

  Towle choreographed the dance “The Way You Make Me Feel” which was a jazz piece that featured seven dancers who dazzled in blue sparkly tops as they sassily strutted across the stage.

 Laferriere is a rehabilitation major who has been a part of the BAM club since her first freshman semester at UMF. Laferriere choreographed two dances, her favorite being “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

“No one has ever done a 5-minute production number in BAM – ever – so I thought it was really cool,” Laferriere said. BAM showed a true passion for performing by dancing to the classic and many other time-honored pieces such as “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Footloose” after the intermission.

Preparing for this show was no easy task, according to the members of the club. Countless hours of choreography, rehearsal, costume designing and forging.

“I think there’s just so much to be done,” said Laferriere. “ I feel like I have finally everything done and then I remember ‘oh wait I have that other thing [to do]’, but it all came together in the end.”

 It did, in fact, come together at the end as the whole club left the stage after taking their final bows and gave some of the seniors a spotlight to perform one final time. Seniors Rachael Chavarie, Abby Waceken, and Monicah Paquette were able to shine in their own unique and individual way, with tiaras sparkling on their heads.

 “Dancing the last senior piece felt amazing, emotional, and bittersweet,” said Chavarie, a senior Elementary Education major, who will be student teaching in the spring. “I’ve been dancing since first grade so knowing it may be my last time performing on stage made it really personal for me. It’s hard to believe this chapter of my life may be ending, but I’m excited to see what’s next in my life.”

 BAM constantly works towards being an inclusive club to all UMF students. “We’re really a big family. Whether they’ve been dancing their whole life or this is their first time doing dance,” said Hope.  “They can join and participate in groups to try different styles of dance.”

According to BAM’s showcase pamphlet, any students who are interested can check out their table at the club fair next spring, or talk to any current members.

Who Chooses when UMF closes for a Snow Day?

By Aislinn Forbes Contributing Writer

  Already this year, the UMF campus has had two cancellations because of dangerous weather,  but the student and staff on campus don’t seem to know who is actually responsible for making those decisions.

   Through an email interview, Administrative Specialist Amy Perrault wrote that if classes will be delayed or cancelled, the alert will be sent no later than 6:15 AM. “It is difficult to track down the one responsible for a storm closure,” said Perrault. “Because the decision is a committee decision and does not land solely on one person to make the call.”  

  The committee takes into account more than just forecasts. The members monitor road closures throughout the night and early morning, weather warnings, and local contacts, including Mt. Blue High School. It is impossible to confirm these methods with any of the committee members directly because only a select few know who they are.

    “It’s one the hardest jobs on campus,” wrote Perrault. “The committee members are a well-guarded secret.”

   Professors likely don’t know either so they are following the same procedures as the students. At least, Professor of History, Allison Hepler is.

   Hepler commutes from Woolwich to Farmington three days a week, leaving at 3:30 AM in order to arrive on campus by 5:00. Often, weather will be different at her home on the coast than in Farmington, so she often has to play the odds.

   “If I’m here the night before and it’s iffy, I will prevail on one of my friends and stay over,” said Hepler. “I have sometimes stayed overnight thinking that there’s no way they’ll cancel school, and I get to work at 5:00 and then my phone dings at quarter to six.”

   Along with Hepler, Jeff Mckay, the Director of Facilities, and his team are also on campus in the early mornings. McKay oversees between four and twelve people responsible for campus clean up during and after storms. They are often on campus by three or four in the morning. “We always plan as if we are going to open,” said McKay.

 There is a reason that the decision isn’t made earlier. According to Professor Pamela Mitchell, forecasts can be pretty accurate when it comes to location of storms in the 12-24 hours before they arrive. “I think that forecasting the exact amount of snowfall is pretty difficult and this is where there seems to be some inaccuracy,” said Mitchell.

   McKay is someone who monitors the weather separately from the committee and knows that large storms, especially, require a lot of planning. “If we had a storm coming tomorrow,” said McKay, “we would have already been planning yesterday.”

   Despite the hard work, the decisions aren’t always perfect. Allison Bernier, a Senior and a commuter from Livermore Falls, had to miss class on Tuesday Nov. 13th because of weather. “I didn’t want to skip class,” said Bernier. “But it wasn’t worth it to put myself in danger.”

   It was a day that began with quickly falling snow, the sticky kind that gets stuck in tire treads. Mitchell said, “Second most dangerous (weather for drivers) is wet snow, which facilitates hydroplaning.”

   That Tuesday, UMF did not delay classes despite the fact that Mt. Blue had announced a delay, and Spruce Mountain High School had cancelled school all together. Bernier recalls seeing someone off the road as she attempted to drive into Farmington.

    Conditions were dangerous enough that Campus Police issued a warning to students crossing the road to Scott Hall. It reads, “Give cars and especially trucks extra time to stop before attempting to cross. They are having a hard time making the hill by Scott Hall on Main Street.” This warning was posted at 10:19 a.m.

   Commuting students shouldn’t feel pressured to make a dangerous trip if the weather is unexpected. “I tell students, you use your own judgement,” said Hepler.

   “Students need to make decisions on their own based on how safe they feel,” agreed McKay. “We certainly wouldn’t want the fact that we’re open to be the determining factor

Downtown Spotlight: Determined Nutrition Club Welcomes UMF Students With Open Arms

By Grace McIntosh Contributing Writer

Walking into the quaint building where Determined Nutrition occupies, the eyes are met with vibrantly painted walls of lime green. Silver tinsel and other Christmas decorations grace the walls and motivational messages such as “Dream, Achieve, Succeed” adorn the room.

   Determined Nutrition is an “ herbalife health club” that sells healthy shakes and teas “patented to serve and give the body what it needs on a cellular level,” according to Danielle Allen, owner of the health club. Herbalife, which is a “nutrition and weight management company”, is the supplier for the shake’s and tea’s ingredients.

   When it comes to creating shakes and teas for the menu, Allen and her employees take it very seriously. “I am like a chemist or mixologist,” she laughed. “A lot of times it’s trial and error, we never put anything out that we have not truly tried or made to taste exactly like it’s supposed to.”

   “I love being able to walk out the door with a brownie batter shake and know that its guilt free,” Allen said. “It still tastes like I am licking the bowl without all those calories.” Shakes are 200 to 220 calories and include 24 grams of protein. The 32 flavors vary from vanilla to snickers to oatmeal cookies and many more.

   The teas that are sold have varying levels of caffeine labeled as “energizing, boosted and lit”. Classic flavors such as Chai and Lemon teas are offered, as well as candy flavors such as Gummy Bear and Skittles.

   Determined Nutrition is the third club of its kind to pop up in Maine, and when Allen opened her shop’s doors last May, she had a goal to positively impact the community. “I help people lose weight, gain weight and gain energy,” said Allen “It has been the most rewarding, amazing thing I have ever done in my entire life.”

   Allen also passionately expressed her wish to assist everyone with kindness. “Serving people with a smile and making a change in somebody’s day means more to me than anything else in my job.”

   In the future, Allen would love to see more students stop by her shop. “We are starting to get you guys [students] to trickle in which is nice,” she said. “I am always open to what you guys are looking for.” The business offers a dollar off any order for students who show their ID at the checkout.

   The students who do utilize Determined Nutrition, go for various reasons. “I definitely have different groups come in,” said Allen. “We have the people who hit the gym who come in for one reason, and we also have the people looking for a pick-me-up for studying.”

   All of the teas served at Determined Nutrition are vegan, while shakes are vegetarian. The menu labels which products are gluten free. Their business hours are  are 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Tuesday, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, and closed on Sunday’s. Determined Nutrition can be found adjacent to the Municipal Parking lot next to Tranten’s.

The Semester Might be Ending but the Assignments Don’t Stop for Anyone

By Hope Faulkingham Contributing Writer

   There is hustle and bustle on the UMF campus as the semester is coming to a close, but the students will keep burning the midnight oil until the very last test.

   This is an incredibly busy time of year for everyone, with projects, presentations and exams that could potentially make or break passing a course. Add on practicums and outside activities and you have yourself a college cocktail called finals week.

   Katie Shupp, a sophomore Elementary Education major, is one of many students who agrees this critical week is overwhelming. “I mean it depends on the classes, but I feel like 99% of the time it is so stressful,” Shupp said with a small grin on her face and a chuckle.

   Though Shupp handles the workload pretty well, many students struggle to control the anxiety, especially freshmen, where it is their first time experiencing college academia. Shupp suggested that taking time out of study sessions to relax will allow for a little less stress.

    “I work for like a few hours and then I take a break,” said Shupp. “I go on my phone, go on Facebook, text someone, talk to my friends, eat food…I eat a lot of food, I stress eat,” Shupp laughs at herself once again and shakes her head with a big smile.

   Kim Day, a senior at UMF, also shared her thoughts and ideas on how she stays sane during this crazy time. “I wouldn’t say I have one class that is more stressful than another,” said Day. “All of my classes have been equally stressful and being in practicum adds to that, especially with student teaching right on my heels.”

   Much like Schupp, she always remembers to take a break from the all-night study session or hour long study group to keep herself healthy and happy. “I cope with my stress by trying to hang out with my friends or taking a day to myself to just relax.”

   But students are not the only ones feeling the pressure of these last few weeks, some professors are also feeling the anxiety of creeping up on them.

   “Finals-period is also stressful for professors because of the preparations for various final exams, projects and papers for the classes they teach and the feedback on assignments, essays, tests, etc.,” said Pu. “Not to mention the more frequent visits from students to office hours during this time of the semester and some impending deadlines for their own research work.”

   Pu also added some of her own advice saying, “If you’ve been keeping up with everything in a class and have been doing well all along, you shouldn’t over-stress yourself. Try to relax while getting prepared and ready to pass the last hurdles of the semester.”

  Students can be most successful in these whirlwind semester endings by staying calm and keeping focused to pass exams and presentations with flying colors.

HEA 310 Promotes Health Awareness in Campus Event

By Elina Shapiro Staff Reporter

This Saturday, December 8th from 11am-2pm, the HEA 310 class will be holding an event on the UMF Beach to encourage health on campus by hosting activities covering a wide variety of areas including sexual health, exercise, and the effects of smoking.

   In the class, Principles of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, students learn how to effectively promote health topics to different crowds and target audiences. Each semester, students create a project to increase health awareness and focus on a certain population. These projects are resume boosters, and students will become better health promoters/educators as a result. Since college students are their target audience this semester, students in the class thought about what topics are relevant to college students in general and UMF students in particular.

   Many college-aged adults are misinformed when it comes to sexual health, which is one of the topics represented on Saturday. Alison Laplante, a junior Community Health major, said, “Our purpose is to educate students about the risks of having unprotected sex and engaging in risky sexual behaviors and to raise awareness on how to stay safe while participating in such acts as well as having resources to go to.”

   Laplante went on to say that “people don’t want to talk about [sexual health] because they’re uncomfortable or they just think it’s inappropriate to talk about, but that’s kind of the opposite. You have to talk about it if you want to see change and to protect your bodies,” said Laplante. “I think there’s a lack of education because a lot of parents don’t want to talk about it with their kids and not everyone takes a health class.”

   There are going to be activities to make the event interactive and engaging. “We’re going to provide knowledge on three main categories, STDs, condom usage, and contraceptives and birth control methods,” said Kyla Sturtevant, a senior and Biological Health Sciences major. “We’re going to have a fact vs. myth game and it’ll provide information about sexual health behaviors that college students may not even know about or understand.”

   The goal of this event is so that UMF students will walk away with the knowledge and tools to become healthier. Maddie Dewitt, a junior Community Health major, said,

“We hope that they will learn at least one new thing about sexual health that they may not have known before and that they will share it with others to help in the prevention of unhealthy sexual behaviors.”

   In addition to promoting sexual health, the event on Saturday will also cover the importance of exercise. “The purpose of our program is to educate UMF students about their options on campus for exercising, especially students who think they only have the one option of going to the FRC,” said Kim Richards, a senior Rehab major. The exercise group will map distances around Farmington so students can see how much exercise they get walking to stores in town from UMF.

   Students involved in the event plan on talking about group fitness classes, intramurals, varsity and club sports and activities run by Mainely Outdoors. “We’re hoping that after this project that people will be more interested in different types of exercise around the community instead of just at the FRC,” said Richards.

   The exercise group stressed that students don’t understand the wide realms of opportunities they have to get exercise. “I think it’s something that’s overlooked a lot, we don’t think about it much but it’s really important,” said Anna Warren, a junior community health major.

   Kendra Burgess, a junior community health major, said, “I know as a freshman I didn’t know about all of those club sports offered, or all of the intramurals offered or group fitness classes even so I think just educating people about that, especially the younger people at UMF would be better.”

   Burgess assures that participants will be very involved in Saturday’s event. “We’re gonna have fun activities. We’re gonna have “Just Dance” for people to participate in as well as having a mystery box of exercises to do to win prizes,” said Burgess. “They pick exercises and depending on how many or which exercise they can win different prizes.”

   In addition to broadening understanding of sexual health and the benefits of exercise, students will engage in activities that show the effects of smoking. RJ Card, a super senior and General Studies major, said, “Our overall purpose for our project was to educate UMF students of all ages, of the risks and dangers of using smoke and tobacco and E-Cigarette products. We’re trying to get people more educated on what the dangers are, and possible health outcomes of using these products.”

   Students will also participate in a Kahoot game that will teach them facts, as well as photos of what happens when you smoke an E-cigarette or tobacco. “I am also making a poster of the finances if you do smoke over the course of a year vs. what you would save if you don’t smoke at all,” said Derek Bowen a junior Community Health major.

   For more information about the class or Saturday’s event, contact professor Kate Callahan at

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