UMF Community Gives Advice on Affordable Gifts from Students

UMF Community Gives Advice on Affordable Gifts from Students

By Bryan Eldridge  – Contributing Writer


The UMF campus recognizes the bitter and stressful emotions that often haunt college students as they Christmas shop for their loved ones, which is why a few community members wanted to provide their own gift ideas for the jolly season without leaving a dent in your wallet.

   Screenwriting professor Bill Mesce is in his first year of teaching at UMF and is a resident of Lindon, New Jersey. As a parent of college-aged children himself, Mesce feels as though just seeing your kids for the holidays is a gift. “At this point in your life all your parents really want is for you to show up for Christmas,” Mesce said. “That’s the gift.”

   When shopping for your parents especially, make sure it’s something that shows you’re familiar with what they like. “[Parents] would rather it be that small thing that says ‘I know mom’ or ‘I know dad’,” Mesce said. For Mesce there’s only one way to do Christmas shopping right: “Go simple. Go purposeful.”

   Brian Weiner, a sophomore at UMF and a first-year CA, is originally from New Hampshire and uses the lack of sales tax to his advantage for ideas such as gag gifts. “A lot of people like gag gifts, so that could be an option,” Weiner said with a sense of optimism.

   Like most college students, Weiner understands the importance of shopping on a budget. “You don’t want to spend a lot,” said Weiner. “You could always make homemade stuff. Ornaments are always a good idea.”

   Taylor Rossics, a sophomore at UMF and an employee at Everyone’s Resource Depot in the basement of the Ed. Center, knows that the cheaper prices offered by the Depot are very helpful. “The Resource Depot has significantly lower prices than other stores,” Rossics exclaimed with pride.

Everyone’s Resource Depot provides many different tools and materials that can be used to make gifts.
credit: Bryan Eldridge

   Along with their low prices, a wide variety of options helps make shopping easier. “We have an abundant variety [of materials] here at the depot,” said Rossics. “We have pretty much anything you could ever need.”

   At Everyone’s Resource Depot, finding gifts for anyone is much easier. “Come to the Depot! We have so much that’s so cheap that you could get ten gifts at the price of one,” said Rossics. “There’s really something for everyone here.”

   No matter what gift you ultimately decide to get for your loved ones, it’s important to spend time with those around you, especially family. “You have all the time in the world to spend time with friends up here,” said Weiner. “Spending time with family is super important.”

   For students who want to visit Everyone’s Resource Depot, it’s open from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Tips for Surviving Finals Week

Tips for Surviving Finals Week

By Kiara Morrissette – Contributing Writer

   As the semester winds down, students all around UMF begin to prepare for their final exams. With over 2,000 students come several different ways to study for finals.

   Knowing the importance of these exams can cause a lot of students to become stressed or have major anxiety. It can be a balancing act between finding the time to study for exams and our busy schedules as college students. For some, it’s quite challenging, while others have been able to find methods that help them relax and focus on their studies.

   Elina Shapiro, a senior Psychology major, studies by going over PowerPoints and by rereading chapters in the textbook. “Sometimes I make my own study guide or I answer the questions on the study guide that the professor has given out,” said Shapiro. “I go over the information until it sticks.” She reviews any key pieces of information before finals, but she also studies throughout the semester, in order to reduce stress.

A bulletin board in FAB promoting several useful ideas
Credit: Kiara Morrissette

 Every student seems to have their own preferred study environment. Most students like to find quiet areas, away from any noise or distractions, so that it’s easier for them to focus. Kelsey Dunn, a senior Early Childhood Education major, said, “I have heard that students study inside their cars. I don’t really recommend studying in your room because there is this thing called Netflix and a comfy bed.”

   As much as every student loves to be prepared for their final exams, there are some things that can affect your level of focus. Krystal Livermore, a senior Elementary Education major, explained that she believes “it is important to isolate yourself in order to study because then you can focus better.”

  Livermore reviews notes, quizzes, and tests for finals. She also mentions that there are things that you can’t study for because sometimes professors don’t clearly explain what will be on their finals.

While studying for a final exam can be stressful, there are some things that you can do to reduce the level of stress or anxiety you may have. Shapiro has a few tips that may be able to help somebody get through finals and reduce their stress levels. “My best tips to survive finals are eat well, sleep well (if possible), do something fun (go out to eat, watch something fun, workout, etc.) along with your studying,” said Shapiro. “Mix in stress relieving activities!”

  It’s easy for students to get distracted or procrastinate when they are studying for an exam, especially in today’s world where cell phones and social media are a big part of our everyday lives. “Turn your phone off or silence it and put it away,” Dunn said. “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Dunn also has some words of encouragement for students who may have trouble focusing and are worried about passing their finals. “Have confidence that you can pass,” she said. “Believe in yourself and believe that you will get a good grade.”

Gender Diversity Night at UMF Brings Students Together

By Emily Mokler, Contributing Writer

In the North Dining Hall, dozens of UMF students gathered to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance in honor of people killed in anti-transgender violence. The observance is a solemn reminder that for some, social progress came too slowly. For the transgender, non-binary and ally students in attendance, the Gender Diversity Night held by the Rainbow League was a positive celebration of diversity.

   The event began with a socializing hour where attendees ate rainbow cupcakes and homemade treats. It was an opportunity to bond with friends and meet new ones.

   Three trans students held a panel about their experiences with transitioning. Matthew Wyman, a senior Psychology major and one of three panelists, said, “being trans can be beautiful. It’s scary and delightful in ways you don’t expect.”

   Wyman told the audience, “I’ve been L, G, B, and T” while recounting his journey as a trans man. It took reading a book with a trans character for Wyman to realize “Oh God, I’ve figured it out,” he said with an exaggerated expression of the realization to the sympathetic laughter of the audience.

   Samantha Melton, a junior Computer Science major, came from Kentucky, “where no one had the vocabulary to discuss LGBT issues.” Melton delayed medical transition for a year because “my parents thought that if I took hormones, I would get cancer and die,” Melton said. “Eventually, I had to say ‘I’m doing it’ or else I will always be miserable.”

   Julia Allen, a sophomore Creative Writing and Theatre major, began to question their gender identity after an experience with a really cool shirt in the Men’s section at Walmart. “I realized that I was hesitating trying it on because it was a men’s shirt, but who it was made for doesn’t change that it’s an awesome design,” Allen said, who bought the shirt.

   When asked how students can be supportive of their trans friends, the panelists offered suggestions. If you don’t know what pronouns someone uses, Wyman recommended using they/them until you can ask how they want to be referred to. Melton encouraged attendees to include their pronouns under their names in email signatures as a subtle way of normalizing introducing pronouns.

   During the gender-inclusive fashion show, participants were introduced with their name and pronouns. Students modeled clothing they just bought or what they wore to the event.

   The Rainbow League also organized a clothing donation drive held during the event. Students were able to take clothing as their own in exchange for a donation. Clothing left over was donated to outreach centers and local shelters.

   People gathered together as they sifted through the piles and piles of clothes. Laughter rang out as someone fit into a tight, sparkly red skirt. Others found sweaters depicting stoic deer and ducks in flight.

   If you want to find more information about the Rainbow League, search for “The Rainbow League UMF” on Facebook.

A Study in Spaces (to Study in)

By Devon Hall – Contributing Writer

   As the season for intense studying arrives, UMF students may find themselves at a loss when trying to find the place that feels just right. Luckily for them, there is a myriad of places to study around campus with all different kinds of vibes.

   A solid place to start is the library. Books, a quiet atmosphere, and a café all make this a prime choice for many students. However, some might not realize just how spacious Mantor Library truly is. UMF junior Brooklyn Brown studies mainly on the first floor of the library by herself.

   “I found if I study in groups, we get distracted and don’t get much work done,” Brown said. “It helps me focus more if I just bring what I need here. I can get more studying done.”

   Mantor also has the mezzanine hanging out over the first floor, equipped with booths, chairs, and tables. A separate room attached to this space holds a 6-seater group room maintained at a toasty 70°F. The third floor is a designated quiet area. The only noises to be heard are the hum of the heating system hard at work, the occasional clack of the tech help desk keyboard, and muted voices floating up through closed windows from students passing the library.  The shades are left open to let natural light filter inside.

   Freshman Biology major Natasha says she likes the quiet, empty atmosphere. “Usually there’s just nobody up here,” she said. Sophomore Mecédaidh Phalen also attests to the emptiness. “I work every Saturday and there’s almost never anyone in there when I go upstairs,” Phalen said.

   Freshman Secondary Education major Jasper Emory has several favored study spaces, including the library basement and the basement of Scott South. “I like to study in basements,” Emory said. “Basements are better because I’m less likely to run into traffic.”

   Jasper also recommends the rainbow lounge in Scott as well as the Bjorn Plaza outside the Education Center in warmer weather. Just be warned, the door locks when it closes.

   Other students have their own preferences for study locations. Freshman Creative Writing major Alanna McGinty said, “people are loud,” and she prefers to study at home.

   One seemingly undiscovered gem lies in the third floor of Merrill, which is utilized by sophomore Rowan Bagley. “Just keep going up until you can’t find any more stairs that go up,” Bagley said.  This lounge space has whiteboards, a calendar, leather chairs in both black and chartreuse, art books, a piano, and a coffee maker.

   Along with big rooms with booths and couches, the library has many individual group rooms of different sizes, between small two-person rooms in the basement and bigger rooms or rooms with projectors. Students can schedule time in at

Alpha Lambda Delta Heads Thanksgiving Drive for Ten Local Families

Alpha Lambda Delta Heads Thanksgiving Drive for Ten Local Families

By Leah Boucher – Staff Reporter

 UMF’s honor society Alpha Lambda Delta donated Thanksgiving baskets to ten families with children who attend the W.G. Mallett School in an effort to combat local hunger. Families in financial need were provided with food for a full Thanksgiving meal to cook and eat together during the holiday season.

    Sarah Jenkins, Secretary of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), worked this year as the Thanksgiving Drive Coordinator. Her responsibilities consisted of contacting the school to arrange this drive, finding the number of families in need, and ultimately getting donations for a successful drive.

Sarah Jenkins, Kayla Tremblay, and Morgan Leso stand in front of several Thanksgiving baskets donated to families in the Farmington area.
Photo credit: Leah Boucher

   Kayla Tremblay, President of ALD, worked with Jenkins to set a goal of raising $300 this semester for the baskets. “This is the third year we have organized this drive, and in past years, we have asked for donations of canned goods or for businesses to create Thanksgiving baskets themselves,” said Tremblay. “Because this year’s need rose to making ten baskets, we chose to ask for donations in the form of money. That way ALD members could go shopping together to make sure all baskets had the exact same items.”  

   Baskets consisted of cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, a bag of potatoes, gravy, mixes for 3 different pies, pie crusts, a loaf of bread and a gift card to purchase a turkey for each family.

   “Last year, we donated five baskets to families, and I reached out to car dealerships to donate,” said Jenkins. “As a representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for cross country and track, I brought up the idea of partnering with ALD, as the committee wanted to participate in a service project, and this encouraged ALD to look for donations solely within the UMF community this year.”

    Not only did Jenkins encourage SAAC, who raised over $180, to donate, but she challenged other UMF clubs to raise money as well. “We worked with the Association for the Education of Young Children and Bust-A-Move Beavers to raise even more money,” she said, “and from our collaboration efforts, we reached our goal and ended up buying more food than we had originally budgeted for.”

    Morgan Leso, Mallett’s guidance counselor who worked with Jenkins to make a final decision on the number of families in need, is grateful for the support ALD annually provides in trying to combat student and family hunger, an effort that Mallett School itself works on year round.

   “Within the past several years, Mallett has opened a food pantry, which is funded through grant money and is open once a month,” said Leso. “However, around the holidays and the winter season, the need for more food rises, and we look for any outside donations we can get, which is what makes ALD’s donations in the form of complete Thanksgiving meals more helpful than ever.”

    Tremblay, Jenkins and other ALD members bought the food at Walmart and Hannaford the week of Thanksgiving and dropped the baskets off directly at Mallett School, making it possible for families to pick them up or have the food brought to them by Leso. “There are some families who lack transportation to pick up the meals at the school, and in those cases, I just drop the baskets off at their homes to make sure they can still enjoy a meal with their loved ones,” said Leso. “A lack of transportation or food does not mean people should be denied an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.”