Students Review UMF’s New Virtual Bookstore

Kelsey Dunn – Contributing Writer

UMF students, faculty and staff have mixed reviews about the University Store’s new Virtual Bookstore.

Some students said their experience went smoothly, while others are experiencing frustration and anger towards the new modernization of the campus bookstore.

George Miller, the Director of Advising, sent out a student body email recently stating, “I’m hearing from quite a few students that they are having trouble getting their books in time to get their work done, or don’t have money for books.” He also urged students to get in contact with their professors if they still do not have their books as soon as possible.

Linda Leiva, a practicum lecturer, and supervisor of student teaching has had similar observations.

“I’ve noticed that students have not bought texts due to costs and feeling that the teacher won’t use the book as much in class as they say they would,” said Leiva. “Therefore, they either purchase used books that are cheaper or they borrow a book from their friends.”

Katie Grout, a freshman, describes her involvement with the Virtual Bookstore as being something she would not like to endure again.

“I don’t like the virtual bookstore at all. It took me a week and a half to get one book and my next textbook was ordered on August 28 but was not shipped until September 8,” she said. “I was very angry with this and I felt helpless because I couldn’t do my homework.” Grout, had ordered some of her books through the virtual bookstore and the others were through Amazon.

Amber Chesley, a UMF sophomore, was puzzled when she first attempted to order her books through the virtual bookstore. “[Ordering] got easier due to previous experience ordering online. I heard from first-year students that it was confusing for them,” she said.

Chesley ordered all of her textbooks through the virtual bookstore this semester, although one of her textbooks was incorrect for one of her classes.

“I got the wrong book for one of my classes. All my books were delivered separately; two came in two weeks later than my other two books,” she said. “The books were in good condition.”

Aimee Degroat, the University Store manager, realizes that there are some problems with the first year of the Virtual Bookstore, but keeps a positive outlook.

“Although some orders were delayed due to hard findings, some books were back ordered at the publisher,” Degroat said. “The initial feedback from the community was well.”

Last year, the Flyer reported on the University Store using different business strategies and were considering turning to a virtual bookstore at the time.

To visit the Virtual Bookstore, go to

New Allies Program Takes off at UMF

Cheyenne Judkins – Contributing Writer

This fall semester is the first for a brand new allies program created for incoming UMF freshmen.

The program is similar to having a peer advisor, but was created as a way to provide more resources and support for first generation students who aren’t education majors or Johnson Scholars.

Kirsten Swan, the Director of Student Leadership and Service, said she started planning last January, as that’s typically when she begins focusing on the fall program. Swan also noted that there used to be a similar program but they did away with it, so it’s been revised and revamped to fit the needs of UMF’s incoming students.

Swan is also on the Retention and Recruitment Committee, and they could see UMF was losing a lot of students. Although students leave for a variety of reasons, many of the students leaving appeared to be freshman.

“The number of freshman leaving campus fueled the drive to create the allies program,” said Swan.

The program is made up of 29 upperclassmen volunteers from the orientation staff, and each freshman was assigned an upperclassmen ally. The students were assigned based on their residential areas. Amanda Dwyer, a senior and Special Education major at UMF, volunteered to be an upperclassmen ally for the program and this was her fifth year on orientation staff.

“I personally was assigned 21 freshmen, but only four have showed up to meetings,” said Dwyer.

Allies continue to communicate with new students through the preregistration process. During that time, freshmen are able to meet with their allies or message them any questions they may have. Dwyer made a Facebook page for the students she was assigned, and she gets questions from them often via Facebook.

“Through being an upperclassman ally, I learned that sometimes freshman are shy and hesitant to ask questions in person, but they ask a lot more online via Facebook,” Dwyer said.

Kaitlyn Mitchell, a freshman Creative Writing major at UMF, enjoyed the allies program because it allowed her to ask questions and having an ally made her more comfortable, although she wished the allies would have been assigned based on major.

“It’s nice because it’s easier than going to your advisor,” Mitchell said. “It was good to be able to talk about how orientation was going and ask questions if we had them.”

Dwyer says it’s nice when she runs into her freshman allies on campus and they say, “hey Amanda! How are you?” Dwyer recalls,  “one of my favorite moments was when one of my freshmen came up to me and thanked me for telling them about the Employment Fair because they received a job offer and accepted it.”

Dwyer says she hopes they continue the program but states, “the first meeting should really be mandatory because if they don’t attend meetings, they’re not receiving the extra care and guidance the university is trying to provide.”  Swan plans to continue the allies program in the future and says, “I hope to involve other student leaders.”

International Students Adjust to American Life at UMF

International Students Adjust to American Life at UMF

Haiyu Zheng – Contributing Writer

UMF International students are doing a better job in adjusting to American campus life, despite various cultural differences for the first few weeks.

From L to R: Haiyu Zheng, Hui Shao, Clementine Leroy, Mana Abdi, Kasi Pratt, Cheyenne VanDooren, Pauline Barrier, Prescilia Ganache, and Elisa Ducept.
(Photo Courtesy of Cheyenne VanDooren)

The 14 international students/staff members initially had a hard time dealing with the differences in terms of the food, study, and lifestyle. In these 14, there are three language assistants, two staff members, seven exchange students and two J-1 students (International students study here for a degree).

These new members of the UMF community hail from various locations including France, Japan, China, Canada, Tanzania, and Argentina.

Chinese student Wenyi Lu became emotional after recalling an experience where she ran into financial issues.

“I almost wanted to cry when I found my bank account did not work here,” she said. “That was literally my hardest time since I came here.”

“There is a gap between my life in France and here,” said Prescilia Ganache, a French TA. “Everything is so different. The food, our thought patterns, even the way we dress,” she said. She recalled her initial shock when she found students wearing sandals and socks together. “In France, we always dress very formal,” Ganache said.

For some international students, the biggest adjustment has been the American food.

“They have more fat, sugar, and salt in food here compared to what I am used to,” said Clementine Leroy, another French TA. “Also, there are so many spices. I feel frustrated when I get something spicy by accident,” she said.

“I’m glad they try to make International foods that cater to us,” said Yuewei Zhang, a junior from China. “Even if they are fully Americanized.”

Academics were another concern for the International students. They found it hard to get involved in the class discussion. Clementine Gondo-Lescaillet, an International student from France, said that she was so stressed out about her marketing class.

“There were a lot of times when I came up with some ideas but it was too late to share due to my broken English,” she said.

Despite the difficulties, the International students have a positive mind towards the challenges and are trying to enjoy the life and find the beauty of this university.

“I appreciate the relationship between the students and professors,” said Asako Miyazaki, the Japanese instructor. She was surprised to find out the students are very casual in class.

“In Japan, students tend to be polite and always bow every time we see someone who’s older than us,” she said.

Kesuma Mkare, a freshman from Tanzania, said “American students do more sports than the students in my country. I like the idea that everyone wants to try something new.” Mkare was very happy to join the soccer team in UMF. “I got to meet a lot of people and made friends who care about me,” he said.

The International students also get sufficient support from UMF students and faculties.

Leroy was impressed by people’s hospitality. “The people all around the campus are always so friendly. If you have questions, you just go and ask them for help and you could always get more than what you expect,” she said.

The advisor of International Department Lynne Eustis put much effort in helping her students settle in during the orientation week.

“We prior to help them get ready for school life before other students arrive and get to know each other as a group so that they have an immediate network of support from friends, and also get some time to get familiar with the campus, the local downtown area,” Eustis said.   

Stephen Riitano, a CA of Mallett Hall, also has a goal to help the International students adjust to the campus life more easily through some programs with them. “I am trying to be as open and inviting as possible,” said Riitano. “We like to invite the residents to come down and talk about some differences in the cuisine or anything interesting about their countries,” he said.

Sitting in on UMF’s New Patio Addition

Sitting in on UMF’s New Patio Addition

Bryan Eldridge – Contributing Writer

The newly installed patio next to Mantor Library
(Photo by Bryan Eldridge)

UMF students are fully embracing the new patio in front of Mantor Library that was constructed over the summer, giving the campus its newest popular gathering spot.

The patio consists of three umbrella covered tables overlooking the Mantor green. With four seats placed at each table, the spacious seating area is often fully utilized.

Keenan Farwell, the Grounds Facilities Manager for UMF, lead the team that built UMF’s newest addition. Farwell has been the Grounds Manager for a year and a half. Coming into this role felt quite familiar for Farwell, having to own his own business in the field of hardscape.

Farwell noted that the enhanced seating and continuous use of the patio are both effective outcomes of the new install. “It created more seating area,” said Farwell. “It gets quite a bit of use at this point, even the lower seating wall.”

The patio was intentionally built with more than just seating in mind. “We put power in also so, we can house bands on top of there to play out over the green,” said Farwell.

Matt Breer, a senior at UMF and a new employee for the Mantor Library this year, noticed the interest that’s being taken.

“I think people really enjoy the patio being there,” he said. “The patio’s installment has done more than just attracting students; it’s also attracting business. During normal school hours,  there is usually only one free table (in the library),” said Breer, adding that “giving people a choice of where they can sit gives them a lot more freedom, and when people have those kinds of freedoms they’re more likely to give business.”

The grounds crew are responsible for the patio’s construction but aren’t the only set of employees to thank for the campus’ upkeep and appearance. The grounds crew for facilities often collaborates with the maintenance employees to make UMF look the way it does.

Tim Burnell, a longtime custodian at UMF, works in Purington hall and noticed the comradery. “There’s a lot of teamwork that’s going on with all the groups here in facilities,” Burnell said.

Nick Richards has been the custodial manager on campus for 14 months and noted the importance of both aspects of facilities working together to maintain both the grounds and the building upkeep. “Those two groups have to work together closely to make sure that all these areas are taken care of,” said Richards.

Both UMF employees were very student-driven when it came to their favorite aspects of the job. “Trying to provide the best customer service that we can and making sure that the students are as happy as they can be,” said Richards.

Students that wish to speak to somebody about a maintenance or facilities issue around campus have multiple options including to email facilities directly at

RSU9 School District Budget Vote is “No,” the Community Reacts

Eryn Finnegan – Assistant Editor

On Tuesday, Sept. 12th, the proposed Regional School Unit 9 (RSU9) district budget for the 2017-2018 school year was rejected for the third time in a row, much to the relief of many community members in Farmington.

Before the vote, the district was looking at a budget of $32.7 million, over a million dollar cut from the initial proposed budget of $33.9 million.

Part of the community’s relief comes from the potential elimination of funding for the district’s special education programs, a move which is illegal.

According to Scott Erb, a UMF political science professor and member of the school board, “we could have lost federal funding, could have possibly even [been] sued.” Erb is also a father of two children who currently attend school in the RSU9 district.

UMF sophomore Adrienne Chandler, who attended school in the RSU9 district, states that special education classes benefited her and prepared her for higher education.

“I grew up in the Title 1 Special Ed program… without it, I would have been held back so many times” Chandler said. “Without that focused attention and one-on-one time, who knows how many other kids could fall behind.”

If this budget had passed, up to thirty teaching positions could have been cut, including nine full-time positions. Because the number of educators would have decreased, the average class sizes would have increased from eighteen students per teacher to twenty-five.

After school programs and various clubs were also at risk of being cut, such as sports, band, and theatre. According to Erb, this is because “the money for special ed programs and teachers would have had to come from somewhere else, such as those programs.”

Another concern many residents had was an increase in taxes. Leah Brackett, the UMF assistant director of athletics, expressed her sympathy for those with this worry.

“I do believe we need to reach some sort of a compromise,” Brackett said. “People have to be able to pay their bills, but the reality is, while the municipal taxes have gone up, school allocation has not increased.”

According to a graphic made by UMF geology professor Julia Daly, taxpayer contributions to schools would actually go down about $547,000 in 2017 from 2015.

Dawn-Lei Harris-Leyton, a UMF sophomore and mother with two boys in the school district, said, “the impact of these cuts would have been felt throughout the town for years,” adding “if we don’t have the funds, if we can’t have functioning buildings and keep students and teachers here, then we’re just gonna get shut down, and that’s not fair to the students or teachers.”

One of the elements that made this vote noteworthy was the presence of UMF students. Brackett was particularly proud of students for showing up to the vote.

“This is their community too,” Brackett said. “They pay a lot of money to go here, they put money into our businesses, and through this, they can really get a sense of how government works.”

Erb and Harris-Leyton also echoed this sentiment. “This is such a tight-knit community, and the schools really reflect the community,” Erb said.

“If our school system is poor, then people will leave and no one will want to move here,” Harris-Layton said. “That impact would hit UMF for sure; what potential professor would want to move here if they have kids and can’t rely on our school district?”

According to Erb, because this budget was rejected, a new proposal must be drafted and presented for another vote. Erb, Chandler, Brackett and Harris-Leyton all said that this issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

“We’ll keep voting, over and over again, until a decision has been made,” said Erb.