By Leah Boucher –Staff Reporter
The UMF Track Club has recently grown to over 30 athletes, creating a challenge for its Executive Board to strictly adhere to the $4,200 budget given for the winter semester. With the first meet of the season on December 9th, the team faces the stress of funding before they begin to compete.
Instead of coaches taking on the responsibility of the club, students on the E-board are in control of finding transportation, lodging, and calculating the costs of each meet while trying to stay under budget. Ben Toribio, President of the club, knows that the increase in team size this semester will force them to make some changes in order to stay within their funds.
Senior Jesse Enos and UMF Alum Sean Cabaniss compete in an indoor track meet in 2016.
credit: Jesse Enos
“During the last indoor track season, we had around 20 athletes, allowing us to take school vans or local buses to meets,” said Toribio. “However, now that we are pushing 30 members, we need to look for other ways to transport the entire team without spending thousands of dollars on a coach bus.”
Jesse Enos, Vice President of the club, has the job of finding out what, how, and when the team will spend the money, forcing him and Toribio to make the decision to cancel the original first meet on December 2nd.
“To my knowledge, I don’t think the budget has changed drastically since last year, but more members means more equipment, gear, and entrance fees,” said Enos. “Plus, after looking for a coach bus to Smith College for two days, it would have put us out of $3,500, which made it fiscally irresponsible to attend that meet with our budget in mind.”
Kirsten Corey, Secretary of the Track Club, is sticking with a positive outlook on the season due to team growth. “When looking at our overall team goals for the winter semester, I do not expect that our limited budget will interfere with reaching them, as more members give us a stronger team,” said Corey. “Ultimately, our goals for indoor are to train and prepare for the NAC championship meet in the outdoor season, so even if we have a meet or two canceled, we can still prepare just as hard in practices.”
Enos believes that if the indoor club was instead a varsity sport, they may have more money to work with to attend meets in Massachusetts and other states in New England.
“Right now, it’s disappointing that we can’t attend more meets in various states, as this gives us more competition to work with and build from,” he said. “If we were a varsity sport, our funding would come from tuition, but as a club, most of our money comes from the activity fee that all students pay as well as any fundraising we take on, limiting our choice in meets in connection with their distance from UMF.”
Although the team will compete in Maine for the majority of their meets, Corey doesn’t want this to discourage new members. “Most of our new athletes are freshman, and they have a lot of potential and put a lot of work into each practice,” she said. “As a team, we need to support them and stress the importance of their talents and efforts.”
By Elina Shapiro, Contributing Writer
Recently, on a brisk Friday afternoon, roughly seventy-five people, including UMF students, faculty and their kids, as well as community members, stood together in solidarity celebrating diversity and inclusion in UMF’s event Peace in the Park.
Following anti-Semitic vandalism in Abbott Park a few weeks ago, UMF student
Mana Abdi and professors Maybury and Linda Beck organized a day where students wore purple in advocacy of inclusion of everyone. “Peace in the Park was an outgrowth of ‘Wear Purple Wednesday,’” said Maybury. Peace in the Park was held in the area that the vandalism took place.
The gathering began at Abbott Park with attendants sipping their hot chocolate and greeting each other with warm and caring smiles. Karol Maybury, professor of Psychology, introduced UMF student speaker Mana Abdi, who was followed by President Foster’s speech about diversity, inclusion and connection.
President Foster delivers a speech on the importance of diversity. (Photo by Haiyu Zheng)
“There is a reason we called this group the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Action Team;’for diversity without inclusion offers simply a few of every category and ‘ism’ atomized and disengaged without community or meaning,” said Foster. “Diversity with inclusion form the makings of a strong community, but without action – the third word in the name – we risk falling short of what could be.”
On November 5th, the Diversity and Inclusion Action Team, which is made up of students, faculty and staff,
had its first meeting. Maybury, who is also chair of the committee, was very encouraged by the team. “I’ve never been on a committee like this, where the energy is just so positive and just motivated to affirm our values as ‘UMFers’,” Maybury said.
During this meeting, someone suggested that UMF have a celebration of diversity, and thus, Pea
ce in the Park was born. Maybury said people worked fast to get pins made with #coexistumf, posters created; even the school mascot was involved. “Chompers is a very peace-loving beaver, so Chompers says he’s ‘all over this’ and wants to affirm his peace-loving heart,” said Maybury.
Heather Leet, a UMF sophomore double majoring in Secondary Education and English, and also a part of the “Diversity and Inclusion Action Team,” was pleased with the turnout and is excited about where the team is headed. “I work with kids all summer [during ‘Seeds of Peace’] to figure out how to coexist, how to work together, how to make a better world,” said Leet. “I am really excited to bring that experience in this group, and offer what I can and collaborate with others as best I can.”
Leet was impressed with how quickly the team was able to set up this event. “This is my second year at UMF, and so I really feel connected to the community now,” said Leet. “That’s another huge reason why I wanted to join this team, because it’s actually contributing to the community and I love being a part of that. Seeing something come from being on that team, so immediately, gives me a really wonderful feeling of optimism, hope, and motivation.”
Jonathan Cohen, professor of Philosophy at UMF, emphasized that acts of hate are hate no matter what group they’re aimed at. “Even when an incident or a bit of hate is directed at one group, it really affects everyone,” said Cohen. “It’s great when all the groups stick together and realize that we’re all in it together, that we don’t stand separately, we stand together, and the enemy isn’t hatred at one particular group, it’s hate in general, that’s the thing we’re battling.”
Peace in the Park was concluded by Peter Hardy, a UMF math professor, playing an original song called Trading Places on his guitar, which encouraged people to think about what would happen if people walked in different shoes.
Check out Facebook and Instagram for the hashtag #coexistumf and see selfies that people took with Chompers as well as photos from the event.