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.

CA Joe Brichetto Elected Incoming  President of Student Senate

CA Joe Brichetto Elected Incoming President of Student Senate

Newly elected Student Senate President for the upcoming 2017-2018 year. (Photo Courtesy of Facebook)

Newly elected Student Senate President for the upcoming 2017-2018 year. (Photo Courtesy of Facebook)

By Kaitlyn Polk, Contributing Writer

Student Senate recently elected a new president, Joseph Brichetto whom you may know for his many involvements around campus. You can find him in the basement of Scott Hall taking care of his residents, you can catch him on the green playing Ultimate Frisbee, hanging out in the Mainely Outdoors building, or making lesson plans for his secondary education classes. His laugh is infectious and he captures the UMF spirit.

Brichetto, the long-legged, ultimate frisbee player shows pride as he talks about why he decided to run for Student Senate President, “I want to be Senate President because I feel that I can be very effective in the role in terms of giving back to the UMF community,” said Brichetto. “Throughout my time here, I’ve strived to make UMF a place for students to fall in love with like I did and Student Senate President seemed like the next logical step.”

He became involved with student senate his sophomore year because he didn’t attend UMF his freshman year. He started at Orono right out of high school after graduating from Bangor High School. He didn’t want to venture out of his comfort zone. “Being a freshman and an undeclared major and a commuter, I naturally hated it,” said Brichetto. He traveled up to UMF one weekend to visit some friends from high school and he knew this was the school for him and he transferred.

Being the great friend that he is, Brichetto would proxy for all of his friends who couldn’t vote and this would occur on a regular basis. “So naturally when a seat opened up, I ran for the spot but ended up losing to OCA Jaramillo,” Brichetto said with a giggle continuing, “Thankfully, six seats on general assembly opened up that next semester and I was appointed to one of those.”

Now a junior, he has served as club commissioner this year and has a passion to do more for clubs. “There are just a few pragmatic changes that could be made which would jive better with how clubs run today,” said Brichetto, “I think would be beneficial for Senate and clubs alike.” He is a member of one of the club sports and really wants to make a difference.

Brichetto believes that leadership is a key to being a good president and while he exceeds in leadership being a Community Assistant in Scott Hall, he recently passed his exam to be a certified EMT and is always around when his residents need him.

Amanda Swart a resident of Brichetto’s hall said, “Joe is a great a CA and leader and always makes sure his residents feel welcome.”

Brichetto and vice president Stephen Riitano are lucky that they get to work together. Riitano and Brichetto both attended Bangor High School, are CAs, and even have the same major; secondary education.

Along with the rest of senate e-board, Brichetto showed excitement to start working with them. “I’m excited to work with all of my eboard,” Brichetto said. “I know them all well and understand their work ethic and problem-solving styles and believe theirs will be a high level of cohesion.”

Student Senate President Jamie Austin Says Farewell

Student Senate President Jamie Austin Says Farewell

Former Student Senate President Jamie Austin. (Photo by Emily MacCabe)

Former Student Senate President Jamie Austin. (Photo by Emily MacCabe)

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer

Walking out of Olsen Student Center heading towards South Street, it is nearly impossible not to turn your head and catch a glimpse of the motion inside the Student Senate office, where a long table with usually two or three people around it are working on their computers or sharing ideas. That is where you can find Jamie Austin, the outgoing President of UMF Student Senate.

Austin is from Springvale, Maine, and a well-known face around campus who will charmingly say good morning with a wide smile. She is going through the final stages of completing her degree or how she put it, “surviving my spring semester of my senior year.”

Austin knew she wanted to come to Farmington when she was a freshman in high school, and she originally wanted to be a social studies teacher. However, there was a slight shift in her plans. “I took a political science class with Dr. Beck in my first semester and it kind of pulled me into that direction,” she said. In a few short weeks Austin is graduating with a degree in political science.

The Student Senate has always been part of her UMF experience. Her first and second year she was a senator and her third year she became Officer of Financial Affairs, a position she found to be very rewarding.

Austin recalls her experiences with student senate fondly. “I often tell people when I give tours, when I work in the Admissions Office, that I’m kind of majoring in Student Senate,” she said with a big smile.

Kristen Swan, Director of Student Leadership and Service and the faculty advisor to Student Senate, has had the opportunity to work with Austin throughout the senior’s tenure in the organization. Swan spoke highly of Austin and her accomplishments over the last four years.

“She was a student employee, a Special Projects Assistant, when I was the Director for the Center of Student Involvement where she really is to be credited with helping to bring structure to the club sports program,” Swan remembered in a very heartfelt email.

Sarah Carlson is a sophomore and a special education major, but also she is currently the chair of the Leadership Banquet and the incoming Secretary of Student Senate. She had the opportunity of working with Austin this past year and she used nothing but friendly words to talk about the senior. “Being the Leadership Banquet Chair, I had to work with her more than a General Assembly member,” Carlson said. “And she was always eager to assist me.”

Carlson described Austin as, “very organized and invested in the Student Senate and UMF as a whole.” Carlson continued, “She took her position as a president very seriously and got things done.”

Austin is very proud of her team and she mentioned that one of their biggest accomplishments was to approve a three year allocated budget of $55,000 per year for the Snow Sports Organization. She trusts that that organization will keep growing and she hopes that is a lasting mark they can make in the University.

Joe Brichetto is the new senate president and Austin has big hopes for the incoming team. “I’m leaving senate in very capable hands. I have no worries about that,” she said.

Austin couldn’t help but get a little choked up about the thought of it almost being over. “Everything is a learning experience, no matter what. And the last four years whether it was senate or academics, and it’s been all about learning,” she said smiling nostalgically.