Outdoor Opportunities in Farmington

Outdoor Opportunities in Farmington

By Caitlin Raye Contributing Writer

There are many options for outdoor activities in Farmington, such as participating in Mainely Outdoors events, going on hikes and walks, or checking out the local downtown shops.

   Grace McNally, a Mainely Outdoors employee, said in an email interview, “All of our trips are organized, and ran by our hard working student crew members. We usually plan local excursions within an hour from campus, but sometimes they can be as far as two.”  

   Mainely Outdoors, is a program at UMF, which creates and plans events that allow for students, and occasionally the public, to enjoy outdoor activities and adventures. Mainely Outdoors offers a variety of Springtime activities such as tubing, hiking, biking, canoeing, and various clinics. Most of the trips put on by the group run during the weekends, with at least one trip planned each weekend.

   There are few or no prerequisites for going on the trips. “The only requirement is that you seek the opportunity to be in the outdoors and to recreate,” said McNally. “On each trip, at least one of our leading crew members knows the location well and likes to share a little knowledge of the local fauna, natural history, or just some general fun facts.”

   McNally said that most of the trips put on by Mainely Outdoors are free but sometimes, “the

Mainely Outdoors regularly explores the natural wonders of Maine. (Photo Courtesy of Mainely Outdoors)

re will be a small fee if the venue we are going to requires it. Often times we work with student life and get some, if not all of the charges covered.”

  For students or residents of the area looking for springtime activities, there are things to do within walking distance of town. “One activity I enjoy doing in the spring is taking my dogs to go swimming in the Sandy River or just walk around the river,” said Kelsey Brann, a sophomore at UMF. “The water is usually pretty high and cold but the scenery is pretty, especially when the flower buds are just starting to come through.”

   Prescott Field, a common recreational site in Farmington, is a great place to walk to see the landscape in the springtime. “On a nice day, the scenery around Prescott Field is pretty and is a great place to take a walk and let animals run free if the field is not super wet,” said Brann. “It is also a great place to just walk around without any pets because it is a quiet area.” Kim Day, a junior at UMF, agreed by saying, “On days when it’s sunny, it’s a nice place to hang out and get some fresh air.”

   For those seeking an outdoor adventure a little further from the UMF campus, the observatory is a great place to visit. “The observatory is about a ten minute drive from campus and is very pretty on clear night when you can watch the sun set behind the trees,” said Brann. The observatory sits on top of a large hill that looks over the beautiful mountains in the distance.

   Downtown Farmington is also a nice place to walk around with stores lining the streets, waiting for customers to come in and browse. “Once the weather warms up, even taking walks downtown is a great way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air,” said Day.   

   For more information on Mainely Outdoors, you can search for MainelyOutdoorsUMF on Facebook.  

Mainely Outdoors leads UMF students to the Coast

Mainely Outdoors leads UMF students to the Coast

By Emily Thibodeau Contributing Writer

Mainely Outdoors is offering two end of the semester trips to the coast. They recently traveled to Acadia National Park and will be traveling to Camden on May 5. The trip to Acadia is one of the most popular offered by Mainely Outdoors, as it is a scenic 7-mile loop around Acadia National Park with stops at some of the major public attractions.

   The majority of the trip is spent at Sand Beach enjoying the ocean view and exploring some nearby trails and cliffs. Another stop along the way is Thunder Hole.

Mainely Outdoors on their recent trip to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Grace McNally)

Joe Brichetto, the previous leader of the Acadia trip, described the beach as “ a cool tourist spot where they can stop for pictures and enjoy some ferocious natural beauty.”

   At the end of the loop, the group will travel up the access road to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Brichetto said that the summit of Cadillac “is where participants can enjoy the fantastic views of Mount Desert Island and explore the summit and the visitor center.”  

   Brichetto, who is from the Acadia area, said, “We like to take people who have never seen the park, and typically wouldn’t get the chance to during their UMF experience.” Anyone is welcomed on the trip as the level of activity is considered easy.

   Grace McNally, a Senior Community Health major and intern at Mainly Outdoors, said she is excited for the trip as they do not take groups to the ocean very often. “This trip fills up pretty fast as it’s known by the name,” said McNally.

   The upcoming trip to Camden still has plenty of spots open and students can sign up for the event until the day of, depending on availability. The plan is to start with a hike of Mt. Battie, followed by a visit downtown to eat lunch, and possibly shop. The downtown shops consist of local art, handmade products, and other unique creations.

   Alicia Gaiero, Second-year Environmental Policy Planning major, will be leading the Camden event with first-year Student Jenny Hancock. Since Gaiero grew up in the area, she said that she is looking forward to “bringing lots of people to the coast, some who haven’t been before.”

   This is Hancock’s second time attending and co-leading a Mainly Outdoors trip. Hancock said she is excited “to explore somewhere I haven’t been before, as well as seeing where Alicia grew up.”

   The trip is also open to a wide ra

Mainely Outdoors enjoyed the ocean view at Sand Beach. (Photo by Grace McNallyO

nge of abilities as there are multiple trails and levels to choose from depending on the group’s experience. Gaiero said this opportunity “embodies an inclusive atmosphere” and is “a great trip to relax and get out of town before finals as students get to see the harbor which is not an everyday view.”

   To learn more or sign up for Mainely Outdoor sponsored trips, check out the Mainely Outdoors Facebook Page.

Creative Writing Students Prepare for BFA Senior Reading

By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter

As a part of the Bachelors of Fine Arts Creative Writing program, seniors who are in the Seminar in Writing class will have the opportunity to read their own work in the Landing.

   This event is similar to the Visiting Writers Series, only instead of a published author, students will be reading pieces that they have worked on throughout their four years at UMF.  

   Jeffrey Thomson, Professor of Creative Writing, who is teaching the seminar this semester, discussed what the senior reading is. “The seniors take this [class] and they write a portfolio and develop their work and start working on publishable quality throughout the semester,” said Thomson. “They are then given the opportunity to showcase that work with a public reading for the campus, the community, their parents, their friends, anybody who wants to come, and they get to show off a little bit.”

   According to Thomson, the class helps prepare the seniors to read their writing in a public setting, such as projecting their voice to a large crowd, looking directly to the audience while speaking and not hiding away from the listeners.

   Despite the nerves of speaking to an audience, Hannah Calkin, a senior in the seminar, is excited to share her writing with the community. In an online interview, Calkin said, “I used to do theater in high school, so I’m fairly comfortable speaking in public. However, I am a little nervous. I feel like much of what I’ve done in my college career has led to the senior reading, and I really want to pick my strongest work.”

   Calkin admitted that she does not know what she’s reading at the presentation, but has at least 30 poems to choose from. Calkin also claimed that poetry is her favorite type of style to write as her writing portfolio in the class features mostly poetry pieces.

   Another senior in the class, Nova Jarvis, who is a fiction writer, has an idea of what she may read. “I think what I’m going to do is a piece that I’ve been working on, it has little notes that get written about colors because the main character can only see in grayscale,” said Jarvis. “This girl writes what colors feel like so she can experience them. So, I think I might take all of those and read them, but I’m not sure yet.”

   When asked about presenting in public, Jarvis confessed that if she finds a particular piece of her own writing to be good to her standards, she has no problem sharing it to the public.

   What makes Thomson proud is the fact that the seniors get to showcase their writing skills at the reading. “You [the seniors] gotta present in this public setting and people really respond, and they produce good work over the semester that I really like seeing. So, I like seeing them get the credit that they deserve for all the hard work.”

   The reading will feature eleven Creative Writing Seniors in the Landing on May 3, 2018. The reading is at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and is open to UMF and the public.

Deep Treble and ClefNotes Performing Spring Shows

Deep Treble and ClefNotes Performing Spring Shows

By Olivia White Contributing Writer

A capella groups Deep Treble and ClefNotes are both hosting concerts in May that will include songs they have been working on throughout the spring semester.

The 2018 Clefnotes singers. (Photo Courtesy of Facebook)

   Hawa Soubane, first semester ClefNotes member, said her experience in the club has been wonderful. “They expect the best from you,” said Soubane. “But also allow you to learn and make friends.” Soubane describes the club as “an awkward but loving family.”

   Hunter Michaud, a new member of Deep Treble, describes the club’s atmosphere as amazing and “tight knit” while Gabriel Reed explains the family-like connections made between group members. “Alexu and Reed [Bridge-Koenigsberg] are like my mom and dad,” said Gabriel Reed, laughing.

   While both clubs welcomed new members this semester, the end of the school year always holds the inevitable goodbyes for graduating seniors. Deep Treble will be parting with two beloved members of their club, Alexu Veilleux, a senior alto in the choir, as well as their music director Charles Lang.

   The upcoming ClefNotes performance will be the last for Jesse Enos and Avery Isbell as members, which makes it appropriate that one of the songs they will perform is “Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith.

   Claudia Labbe, freshman and second semester ClefNotes member, is hopeful they will have 

better weather forecasts for their performance day seeing as many potential audience members could not attend their winter showcase due to an unforeseen snowstorm. Labbe said, “A lot of people are excited because they’ve gotten to hear us recently.”

   The members of both groups have been busy beavers performing at different events held around campus. The ClefNotes have performed at an accepted students day, the student government conference, and at the recent Relay for Life event held in the FRC. Deep Treble has been busy as well, also performing at the Relay for Life event and at the Earth Day Celebration. These recent performances gave audiences a glimpse of some songs that may be performed at the spring concerts.

   The Deep Treble showcase will be held on May 4 in Lincoln Auditorium. The doors will open at 7:00 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m.. The ClefNotes showcase will be held on May 5 in Nordica Auditorium. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7:00 p.m. Both of these shows are open to the public and are free to anyone who would like to attend.

UMF to Change Process for Students to Fulfill General Education Requirements

By Andrew Devine President

UMF will implement a new general education system beginning with the incoming class of 2022.

   In March, the process to reform the structure of General Education requirements (Gen-Eds) was approved by the Faculty Senate and university administration. The new system will retain course requirements similar to the current Gen-Ed course load with the addition of a new element known as Pathways.

   Luann Yetter, Assistant Professor of English and former Chair of the General Education Committee in the Faculty Senate, spoke on her experience in the process of reform. “The main thing that’s changing is that there’s going to be this thing called Pathways,” Yetter explained. “The idea is you take pretty much all the same Gen-Ed classes, but you’re encouraged to see connections between them, and that’s what we feel like has been lacking.”

   Incoming students will need to fulfill very similar requirements as students do now, with the addition of the Pathway that they choose. Pathways are overlapping concepts that are covered by several courses and the student will write on in a larger project. Some examples of the Pathway’s available include Sustainability, Peace, Conflict, and Conflict-Resolution, and other big-picture concepts.

   The process to reform Gen-Eds traces back to the New England Association of School and Colleges assessment of UMF in 2012. In the assessment, UMF was recommended to revise their curriculum for General Education.

   Anne Marie Wolf, Associate Professor of History and Director of Director of General Education, lead the effort to pass through the changes. “All of these [Pathways] are designed to be ‘big-picture’ questions, meaningful questions, and to encourage and invite people to think broadly about them in conjunction with questions, sources, and methods raised in other disciplines.”

   Wolf continued, “I hope students find that exciting and attractive. I think one of the bigger changes they’ll have is the opportunity to be thinking about big-picture questions like that, and to think of their education as something that enables to to do that and not just ‘checking off boxes.’”

   Chris O’Brien, Professor of History and Chair of the Division of Social Science and Business, voiced his support for this reform and why past efforts were not as successful. “I remember hating Gen-Eds… I remember going through that thinking ‘why do I have to take this.’”

   O’Brien elaborated, “There is actually a fundamental agreement what a well-rounded human being that comes out of college ought to have. We haven’t really changed our minds on things that people need. The purpose of the reform has to be clear. One of the things that can change is the path through those things.”

   O’Brien concluded with, “What this reform did that others didn’t is it came up with a thing that made sense: the pathways. Whatever you’re interested in, whether it’s sustainability or Rock music, pick some courses that fit together, write a paper at the end that makes that Gen-Ed more than just a taste for things, that there’s some continuity between those classes. That reform should make it clear why we want people to do this. That’s why this one was successful.”


WUMF Students Gearing up for Next Semester

By Willy Doehring Contributing Writer

 UMF’s own student-run radio station, 91.5 WUMF, is looking towards the future, taking steps to improve the experience of listeners as well as improving the club for its many student members.  

   The presence of WUMF as a station and a club can be felt throughout UMF. The station provides a constant musical backdrop for students passing through the Olsen student center.  Students host shows dedicated to everything from chart-topping hits to local music as well as a variety of genres.

   Richard Southard, a senior and current Station Manager of WUMF, said with a smile, “It’s really a statement on the diverse interests of the students on campus.”

   The club is one of the biggest on campus.  “On average, I’d say we have around 20-30 shows on the schedule each semester,” said Southard. “A lot of shows have more than one student hosting, so I’d say we usually have about 30-40 members.”

   Recently WUMF has faced a few difficulties. “There’s been some sudden changes that have caused some hiccups,” Southard said. “Multiple station managers before me suddenly needed to step down and leave.” Southard also cited issues with outdated equipment and promotions for the station were continually pushed back.

   To make matters worse, WUMF’s annual spring concert event normally held in late March was cancelled due to a lack of participating bands. “It looked pretty optimistic, but then some of the scheduled bands dropped and others never even responded,” Southard said. “Pretty disappointing, seeing as this was the first time the event has been dropped.”

   Nate Red, a junior and WUMFs current music director, said “This semester has been rocky for the club as a whole. Good news is there’s still a lot of dedicated DJs who love what they do.”

   Red is one of the students spearheading WUMF’s preparation for next semester, which the club plans to use as a time to re-focus and improve the station for both DJs and listeners.

   One improvement came in the form of brand-new equipment for the station earlier this semester, from new microphones for the DJs to new sound systems. Southard hopes that the new gear will make shows better for DJ’s and listeners alike.

   “Better equipment means better sound quality overall for listeners,” Southard said. “It also gives more incentive for students to do their own shows. The new microphones sound a lot smoother, which encourages DJs to share their voices as well as their music.”

   The new equipment is just the first step. With club leadership looking towards the future, WUMF members will have a much easier time focusing of the growth of their club. Red mentioned “getting the club newsletter back up and running in order to promote shows and music to a wider audience” is on the agenda. The station will be keeping a constant stream of new music on the radio as well in the fall semester.

    Both Red and Southard agreed that next year would be a building year for WUMF, and are looking forward to see how the club grows. “I’m really excited to see the club get some more life, because it’s definitely changing for the better,” Red said.

   You can tune in to 91.5 WUMF on FM radio, or stream the station by searching for “Listen Live WUMF.”

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