Budget Hearing Highlights; ACE  Comes Away With 41K, Computer  Club To File Appeal

Budget Hearing Highlights; ACE Comes Away With 41K, Computer Club To File Appeal

By Nick Bray, Staff Reporter 

At a recent meeting of the UMF Student Senate general assembly, senators approved the budgets for 38 clubs and organizations for the 2017-2018 school year. The budget, which was set at $215,012.74, is appropriated from funds raised by the student activity fee. This fee is based on the number of credits a student takes, and ranges from $80 to $160 per year.

The approved budgets ranged from $200 for the Student Activists for Gender Equality (SAGE), to $41,693 for the Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE). The average budget approved was for $5,658; 25 clubs had a budget approved below the average. The top five highest budget requests totaled $92,728, which amounted to 43 percent of the entire budget approved.

This meeting was the final step in the annual budget process, which begins with clubs submitting a proposed budget to the senate for review. These clubs then meet with the Annual Budget Committee (ABC) to defend their budget and discuss where potential cuts could be made. According to Dominic Martorano, outgoing Officer for Financial Affairs (OFA), the ABC works with clubs during this meeting to make small cuts to their budgets. “Unfortunately, cuts do have to be made here and there,” Martorano said. “On average about 10 percent is cut from the original request.”

Clubs which were present at the general assembly budget meeting had an opportunity to defend their budget to senators before it was voted on. The budget meeting moved swiftly as senators had little discussion over the majority of proposals, and most club budgets passed unanimously.  

However, there were discussions about cutting line items from proposals from three clubs. The senate discussed and eventually failed to pass a motion to cut a $200 trip to Portland from the French Club’s budget.

Another failed motion was to increase the number of athlete registration fees for the Ultimate Disc club from 25 to 30. A few senators argued this would benefit the club if they underestimated participation for the upcoming school year. This would save them from using one of their two additional budget requests if the number of players on the team next year exceeds 25.

The biggest discussion of the night was over the Computer Club’s budget, the only one which was cut during the budget meeting. The computer club requested two new desktop computers, at a cost of $1,300 each. Senators discussed whether they wanted to cut their request from two computers down to one.

The club currently has nine computers in use. Due to the high use of these machines and poor room conditions in their office located in the student center, they have two machines which are slowly becoming unusable for computer gaming. The new machines would also be used to support the growing interest in competitive gaming, more commonly known as eSports.

The computer club needed to upgrade its machines in order to meet the high system requirements of the games played in competition. “We would like the computers to support that, but these machines wouldn’t be used exclusively for that purpose,” said Desiree Anderson, treasurer of the Computer Club.

The senate passed a motion to reduce the budget request for two computer down to one. Senator Sam O’Neal, also the event coordinator for the Computer Club immediately indicated that the club would be appealing the decision and asked about the specifics of the appeal process.

Several student senate-funded clubs did not present budgets during the annual budget process. These clubs include Beta Beta Beta and Writers Guild. They will have the opportunity to present a budget in the fall. “This depends on availability of funding and the discretion of the new executive board,” Martorano said.

Back and Forth: The UMF Commuter’s Experience

By Harley Davis, Contributing Writer

It’s a typical Monday morning as I begin my 40-minute drive to UMF, taking the winding and twisting back roads from my home in Oakland to Farmington. Spring has finally arrived and my drive, only a few weeks ago lined with snow banks and slippery roads, is now filled with potholes, warm air, and flocks of birds flying back to their summer homes.

I make this trip to Farmington five days a week, spending over six hours a week commuting to and from campus. The time spent driving equals about half the time I spend in classes at UMF per week. However I’m not the only student making a long drive to campus. According to the university website, while 86% of freshmen live on campus, 50% of UMF students choose to live off campus, whether it be within walking distance or driving to and from school. Nationally, 75% of college students choose to commute to campus instead of living in dorms, according to Complete College America.

According to UMF’s admission page, the cost for full time students to live on campus for one year is $9,334. This price, added to the cost of tuition is one of the main reasons I and other students choose to live off campus. Ashton Harvey, a junior at UMF, chose to commute to save money. “I did the math and my tuition would be cut in half,” Harvey said. “By living off campus I don’t have to have a meal plan, I work to pay my rent and that eliminates some of the overall cost of college and the amount of debt I have.”

While living off campus saves money, it comes with its challenges. Megan Rodrigue, a senior in elementary education, said that even living within walking distance to UMF has its drawbacks. “One thing that has bugged me about living off campus is that I miss out on stuff that is happening or going to happen on campus,” Rodrigue said, “Even though I don’t live on campus I’m still close enough that I would like to feel like I’m part of the university.”

Parking is an issue for all members of UMF, but can be especially frustrating for commuting students. “When UMF hosts events the parking lots commuters usually park in are reserved for the event,” Harvey said, “I spend so much time looking for a parking space that sometimes I am 15 minutes early but end up being late for class.” This issue becomes compounded in the winter, when eventually there is no more space to push all the snow. “Taking up four to ten parking spaces to pile up snow makes it that much harder to find a parking space,” said Harvey.

The Off Campus Commuter Council located in Student Center Room 109 is in place to help and support the commuting students of UMF. Every month the council offers free monthly breakfasts and lunches to students. Commuters are also given the option to rent a locker from the council so commuters don’t have to leave everything in their car during class. The council also helps students find accommodations to stay overnight on campus when the winter weather makes driving home nearly impossible.

As I pull into the commuter parking lot and happily claim the last available spot, I think about the time and money I spend each week driving to school. Is it easier to live on campus? Probably, but I wouldn’t be able to see the rolling fields of green grass in late spring dotted with black and white cows, or the fields of corn golden and shining in the fall, the views that make me thankful I go to college in a beautiful town in Maine.

Geology Major Will Become Degree in Earth and Environmental Science Next Fall

By Shana Tilley, Contributing Writer

As of fall semester 2017, the geology major will become the earth and environmental science major. Despite the change in title, the program will still offer and require all of the same courses as the present geology major. Students currently enrolled in the program will be grandfathered in, so their diplomas will still read “geology.”

The name is being changed in order to bring a larger selection of incoming students. Most high schoolers aren’t looking for geology and more recognize the term earth science, according to Dr. Mariella Passarelli, the head of the Natural Science division at UMF. “Every seven years we have a review of the majors. We compare them, we have internal measures. We have visitors from the outside, an expert.”

Changing the major’s name will hopefully provide a more unified department for the sciences, Passarelli says, “We recognize that we need to interact with each other. We need to unify.”

Passarelli thinks that the present geology majors have to realize a few things. “One, we cannot sacrifice the future for holding on to the past. I know that they are geologists, but we have to keep moving forward with what people are interested in,” said Passarelli. “Also, they need to see that we are in constant movement. We evaluate ourselves every seven years, if we did something wrong, we change it.”

Another reason for the change is to make the major more environmentally friendly. Being a chemist, Passarelli says she understands how some people look down on geologists for harming the earth saying, “I’m a chemist and you know what they say about those nasty chemicals.” Though when the geology students at UMF complained that geology was an important major to offer, Passarelli was confused by their objections, “I don’t know why they’re so sensitive to the topic.”

Sophomore geology major Sean Brock felt betrayed by the department for not involving the students in the decision to change the major. “If she really wanted us to be thought of as more environmentally friendly, then change the department name, not the major. If the major name changes yet the courses don’t, then that will create discrepancies with future employment.”

Brock feels that future employers will be confused when they see that a geology major takes the exact same courses as an earth and environmental science major. He emphasized, “I think that the graduates with this degree title will find that their potential employers will demand and/or expect more environmental courses. I think they’ll see the courses taken and they’ll know that they’re the same as a geology major and want to know the difference.”

Junior geology major, Brianna Leonard, thinks that geology is an important physical science that can open doors for people who may like hands on science but aren’t the right fit for the environmental science major. Leonard said, “Everyone with the geology major knows each other, it’s a sense of belonging. If you have a general broad earth science major, you lose that camaraderie.”

By this time next year, the earth and environmental science major will be offered to incoming freshmen and prospective students.

Active Minds Reaches Out To Students With Fresh Check Day

By Jordan Glassock, Contributing Writer

The North Dining Hall is crackling with energy as twenty student volunteers in light blue t-shirts prepare the finishing touches to their stations as Fresh Check Day begins. Hosted by UMF club Active Minds, this new event was organized to help promote mental health awareness and featured many activities for students to participate in.

Twelve tables lined the perimeter of the hall, two for registering, and ten for various stations that are part of the event. Next to registration students fill out a mandatory questionnaire on what they know about mental health. Gavin Pickering, one the counselors who works in Franklin Hall, leads that table.

“Fresh Check Day is a program funded by The Jordan Porco Foundation to bring mental health awareness to college campuses nationwide,” said Pickering.

“The Jordan Porco Foundation provides assistance in planning the event and giving ideas for programming to help reduce stigma and to inspire conversation about resources and ways to support those with mental health issues,” he said.

Fresh Check Day offered several themed tables such as “Trash Your Insecurities,” where students could write down something that they feel insecure about, crumple it up and throw it in a small silver trash bin. There was also “Uplift,” where students could build motivation kits, and “Elephant in the Room,” where students could write down what their elephant in the room is.

Brianna Fowles, a student who volunteered at the “Uplift” table, says that she was having a great experience at the event. “It was interesting talking to everybody and meeting different people,” she said.

At noon, students and volunteers munched on popcorn, Chick-fil-A popcorn chicken, and assorted vegetables.

By the end of Fresh Check Day, around 50 UMF students registered to participate in the program. While Pickering considered this a good turn out, he thought that there could have been more to the event.

“I think the event could have lasted a little longer to allow word to spread about the program,” said Pickering continuing, “I hope that because it was such a success this year that next year word will spread faster and we will have more students interested in attending and participating.”

Fowles agreed that the event turn out could have been better. “I think that a good portion of people knew about it, but when I was reading stuff, it said that 200 to 1,000 people can be expected to show up, even on a small campus,” she said, noting that she saw maybe 100 people. She emphasized,“I feel like it could have been advertised a little more.”

Overall, Pickering was proud of Active Minds and the students who volunteered at Fresh Check Day.

“This is the first time we have ever done this event and the first time this event has taken place in the state of Maine which The Jordan Porco Foundation was pretty excited about,” he said.

Along with Fresh Check Day, Pickering says that Active Minds will continue to provide UMF students with other programs related to reducing the stigma that is often associated with mental illness.

Stepping Back in Time: Co-lab Presents 5th Annual Surrealist Salon

Stepping Back in Time: Co-lab Presents 5th Annual Surrealist Salon

By Grace Leathers-Pouliot, Contributing Writer

The 2016 Surrealist Salon in the Emery Community Arts Center.(Photo Courtesy of UMF Website)

The 2016 Surrealist Salon in the Emery Community Arts Center.(Photo Courtesy of UMF Website)

UMF students participating in the Modernisms and Manifestos co-lab have collaborated to put together the fifth annual surrealist salon, which will be open to the public in late April at the Emery Art Center.

The co-lab is composed of three courses taught respectively by professors Elizabeth Olbert, Michael Johnson, and Steven Pane, and all feature auditory, literary, and visual components.

Johnson’s class, The Splendid Drunken Twenties, comprises the literary component of the Surrealist Salon. Johnson explained, “The movement was launched in the 1920s, which was one of many artistic movements associated with modernism that emphasized experimentation, shock value, and breaking away from conventions.”

This provides opportunities for his students to become involved with learning about surrealism. The Surrealist Salon will have a guest appearance. Angel Dionne is a graduate of the University of Maine in Fort Kent and Southern New Hampshire University. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton. Dionne is the founder and editor of the online surrealist journal “Peculiar Mormyrid,” which she will be reading from at the salon. Dionne will also be engaging the audience in word games to give the spectators an idea of how surrealism works.

Pearl Wilson, who is taking contemporary surrealism in Painting I, will also be contributing a few pieces in the salon. Wilson and her classmates are creating paintings that embody contemporary surrealism. Wilson said, “I love seeing the projects that everyone else is doing, everyone has such different and cool ideas, so it is going to be fun to see it come all together.” Wilson will be doing a collaborative project with a fellow classmate. They will be creating masks and costumes for those who are participating with a backdrop full of creepy creatures and beautiful goddesses.

“We thought this goes along with surrealism well because it is like turning things on their head and looking at things differently,” Wilson said.

Elizabeth Olbert, an Art Professor here at UMF, is intrigued by 20th century surrealism, “I love the feeling of surrealism, I’m really glad that students here are able to do something that surrealists would have liked.”

Olbert and Johnson are hoping to have a turnout of about 100 people or so, but the more the better. There will be hors d’oeuvres and drinks for those who are attending.

Behind the Scenes Of  “The Bald Soprano” Performance  At UMF Alumni Theatre

Behind the Scenes Of “The Bald Soprano” Performance At UMF Alumni Theatre

By Autumn St.Pierre, Contributing Writer

Cast of “The Bald Soprano” from left to right: Keith J. Clark, Jonas Maines, Nate Red, Morgan Steward and Julia Allen. (Photo by Stan Spilecki)

Cast of “The Bald Soprano” from left to right: Keith J. Clark, Jonas Maines, Nate Red, Morgan Steward and Julia Allen. (Photo by Stan Spilecki)

Recently, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts presented the play, “The Bald Soprano” by Eugene Ionesco, at the UMF Alumni Theatre. After long preparation and hard work, students and faculty came together to put on this unusual show.

With a runtime clocking in just under an hour, the show was performed for several audiences over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, beginning with an opening performance on Thursday.

After working three to four hours a day, five days a week for six weeks, the crew was ready to perform.

Director Melissa C. Thompson, Assistant Professor of Performing Arts, chose this specific show for a few reasons. “My specialty is experimental performance,” said Thompson, “usually the way I do it is through creating experimental work, or theatre.” She continued, “It dismantles some of the everyday rituals that we’re so involved in.”

Thompson is new to campus this school year and this was her first time directing a show at UMF. She wanted to get people laughing with this play.

Many preparations went into making the show happen such as; lighting, perceiving space, having the right props and the design of the scene, the casting process, and working with text with the actors.

The cast and crew did find that the experimental nature of Ionesco’s play presented challenges. According to a recent UMF press release, the play, which features the mannered interplay of guests at a dinner party rapidly descends into absurdity as the characters realize their language is not as powerful as they think. Presented with the challenge, cast and crew had to figure out how people would go through the motions.

“Whenever you direct something you can conceive with a vision of what the initial energy or look will be, and then it doesn’t happen,” said Thompson. She explained that you have to be ready to scrap an idea and come up with something new.

Thompson’s favorite part of directing the show was seeing people believe that when you say, ‘Hey I want to see your ideas and try them out,’ really seeing people embrace that. Thompson emphasized, “Having people going wild and being free is the best thing to see, such a liberation for them.”

“It was great to finally see this happen,” said assistant director Devin Gilman, a seven year senior and general studies major.

Gilman follows behind Thompson and assists with different things such as organic blocking, choreography, and helping translate the show. “I do whatever else Melissa tells me to do, in the most positive way,” said Gilman.

Gilman did find some things to be a challenge, such as getting the actors to learn their lines. “The show is very fragmented,” Gilman explained. It was hard to contextualize and they found themselves working with word vomit. He wanted to make sure the actors were comfortable.

Fifth year senior, Summer McCollough, has been involved in theatre for eight years. “This is my first and last ever main stage show at UMF. It was really cool working with these people,” said McCollough.

Some of the actors ran into slight challenges including memorizing lines, “because it’s an absurd play and it doesn’t make sense,” explained McCollough. “I’m speaking a word salad and you’re like, ‘Okay I guess that makes sense.’”

Because she’s graduating this spring, McCollough is happy to have been involved. “I’ve definitely had fun with this show and I’m glad I got to be in it.”

Anyone can audition for shows at UMF. There’s a theatre club on campus, Student Theatre UMF (STUMF), that people can join and a theatre honors fraternity that students need to be invited into in order to join.

The theater class, Space Lab, is also available and allows students to have different projects and jobs within a production and the proceeds go directly back into the theatre program.

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