The Semester Might be Ending but the Assignments Don’t Stop for Anyone

By Hope Faulkingham Contributing Writer

   There is hustle and bustle on the UMF campus as the semester is coming to a close, but the students will keep burning the midnight oil until the very last test.

   This is an incredibly busy time of year for everyone, with projects, presentations and exams that could potentially make or break passing a course. Add on practicums and outside activities and you have yourself a college cocktail called finals week.

   Katie Shupp, a sophomore Elementary Education major, is one of many students who agrees this critical week is overwhelming. “I mean it depends on the classes, but I feel like 99% of the time it is so stressful,” Shupp said with a small grin on her face and a chuckle.

   Though Shupp handles the workload pretty well, many students struggle to control the anxiety, especially freshmen, where it is their first time experiencing college academia. Shupp suggested that taking time out of study sessions to relax will allow for a little less stress.

    “I work for like a few hours and then I take a break,” said Shupp. “I go on my phone, go on Facebook, text someone, talk to my friends, eat food…I eat a lot of food, I stress eat,” Shupp laughs at herself once again and shakes her head with a big smile.

   Kim Day, a senior at UMF, also shared her thoughts and ideas on how she stays sane during this crazy time. “I wouldn’t say I have one class that is more stressful than another,” said Day. “All of my classes have been equally stressful and being in practicum adds to that, especially with student teaching right on my heels.”

   Much like Schupp, she always remembers to take a break from the all-night study session or hour long study group to keep herself healthy and happy. “I cope with my stress by trying to hang out with my friends or taking a day to myself to just relax.”

   But students are not the only ones feeling the pressure of these last few weeks, some professors are also feeling the anxiety of creeping up on them.

   “Finals-period is also stressful for professors because of the preparations for various final exams, projects and papers for the classes they teach and the feedback on assignments, essays, tests, etc.,” said Pu. “Not to mention the more frequent visits from students to office hours during this time of the semester and some impending deadlines for their own research work.”

   Pu also added some of her own advice saying, “If you’ve been keeping up with everything in a class and have been doing well all along, you shouldn’t over-stress yourself. Try to relax while getting prepared and ready to pass the last hurdles of the semester.”

  Students can be most successful in these whirlwind semester endings by staying calm and keeping focused to pass exams and presentations with flying colors.

UMF Establishes Student Exchange Program with Al Akhawayn University in Morocco

By Eryn Finnegan President

UMF Interim President Eric Brown recently visited Al Akhawayn University (AUI) in Ifrane, Morocco, to establish a student exchange program, effective starting the 2019-2020 school year. A public, nonprofit liberal arts college situated in the Middle Atlas mountains, AUI possesses many similar characteristics to UMF.

   Brown pointed to AUI’s population of 2000 students, American-based curriculum and English-speaking opportunities as major reasons for partnering with AUI. Brown also cited AUI’s course catalogue, noting that the way they set up their classes and majors is similar to UMF.

   “Some schools you really need to speak the language, such as [Le Mans University] in France,” Brown said. “Here, any student can get by with ‘survival’ Arabic and be very home at that campus.” AUI has several international students from the U.S., Europe, and Africa.

   Brown expressed interest in creating further student teaching opportunities for Education majors, noting the private K-12 school attached to the university.

   “We’re looking into having Ed majors do their student teaching there if they so choose to,” Brown said. “It’s a pretty unique system; I think the high school is technically on the campus itself, and the K-8 campus is just a ten minute drive away.”

   AUI also has a program called “presidential interns,” focused on graduating students who might be interested in a Fulbright or the Peace Corps. For either a semester or the whole year, they place students in different administrative parts of the school, such as first-year students or working with admissions or curriculum.   

   The city of Ifrane has a market, a downtown with shops and restaurants and nightlife, 10-15 minutes from campus. Brown offered a small smile as he scrolled through photos of his trip on his iPhone, showcasing the colorful tapestries and cloths, tall piles of spices and architecture. Leaving the city and approaching campus, Brown also saw 800-year-old Cedar forests, snow and apes flying through the trees.

   “When people think of North Africa, they tend to think of deserts and camels, but this school is very much like us in geography and climate,” Brown said. “They had snow on the ground, they have a snow and ski team, and the opportunity to do serious skiing in the High Atlas mountains. I’m hoping to entice their students to come ski in Maine.”

   Brown discussed his first trip to Morocco nearly 20 years ago and how this trip led to this new partnership between UMF and AUI.

   “I traveled through Morocco for a summer about 20 years ago, and one of the places I stopped was this (at the time) brand new university, AUI,” Brown said. “Twenty years pass, and we’ve been thinking, where else can we extend opportunities for our students? I thought back to AUI and early this summer, I reached out to the president, Driss Ouaouicha. He agreed there were similarities between our institutions and he invited me to visit and give me a tour of the campus and surrounding area.”

   Brown said that both presidents agreed that the missions of their respective universities are largely the same, embracing liberal arts education and teaching students critical thinking.

   “[UMF’s mission is] supporting the liberal arts in a way that draws the best out of students and professors, through undergraduate research,” Brown said. “A well-rounded, comprehensive education, being able to really think with versatility about a range of issues; that’s at the heart of the liberal arts mission for me.”

   According to their website, AUI’s mission is “educating future citizen-leaders of Morocco and the world through a globally oriented, English -language, liberal arts curriculum based on the American system,” as well as “[enhancing] Morocco and [engaging] the world through leading-edge educational and research programs.”

   Brown also spoke of significant differences, particularly in terms of culture. “There are very few clocks; banks here always show the time, but there, the day is structured around Islamic prayer times,” Brown said. “It doesn’t feel as rushed, as if every minute has to count down to something. It’s more in-tuned with the natural rhythms of the day, sunrise and sunset.”

   “There’s a lot of continuity between our institutions,” Brown said. “If you’re interested in international business or North African cultural studies, a lot of their programs go along well with ours. They contribute to a rich and historic tapestry.”

   “I don’t think we’d find another school in the world so close to our mission and feel,” Brown said.

  Students interested in learning more about Al Akhawayn University can visit their website at

Mary Ryan Pioneers Conscious Consumerism at UMF

Mary Ryan Pioneers Conscious Consumerism at UMF

Mary Ryan, pictured with student worker Brooke Carrier, educates the community about recycling. (Photo by Andrea Swiedom)

Contributing Writer

In the basement of the Education Center, a room is shelved with items for sale that people would commonly call trash– an assortment of leather scraps, salvaged coffee cans, jars of colorful buttons, used spools of Christmas ribbon.  For thirty-eight years, Depot Coordinator Mary Ryan has been collecting reusable items destined for incineration or a landfill for the non-profit organization, Everyone’s Resource Depot (ERD).

   Ryan, who is originally from Wilton, had been teaching high school biology in Massachusetts when ERD was founded in 1979 by UMF faculty.  A year later, Ryan returned home to take some time off from teaching. When she learned about ERD, she was immediately compelled to join the organization.

   Ryan associated her interest in reusing from her mother who did a lot of crafts and utilized items around the house rather than going to the store to buy materials.  “So I think that was probably a big part of what interested me, but also just the idea that we just throw so much stuff away,” said Ryan.

   The depot accepts donations and keeps a running list of wanted items posted on the wall and on the depot’s website.  Ryan is currently on the look-out for pom poms, baby food jars and coffee filters, to name a few. Sometimes, Ryan has to reject donations, but she always provides guidance as to how people can recycle what they’ve brought in.  However, when Ryan first started at ERD, Farmington didn’t have a recycling center.

   “There wasn’t anywhere near the emphasis back in 1980 on recycling or reusing.  There was no community recycling then either,” said Ryan. “This has all happened since so, I guess the world was very different in a way.”

   Ryan’s efforts to minimize trash did not stop with ERD.  She set out with a community group to successfully establish Farmington’s recycling center.  “So now we can say to someone who brings us a bag of stuff, ‘now these particular things can go into your recycling.’  They might not really keep track of what they can recycle,” Ryan said while running her hand through a container of buttons.  

   The Depot is a tactile experience as much as a shopping experience with boxes full of felt, wood pieces organized by shape and beads organized by color.  It’s difficult to refrain from impulsively touching everything. While individual donations contribute to the variety of items, so does relationships with local businesses that Ryan and board members have formed over the years.

   WA Mitchell Fine Furniture started donating wood scraps and dowels three years ago and Ryan picks up plastic fish tubs from Moser’s Seafood every month.  Once items make it to the depot, student workers play a huge role in organizing the plethora of donations. Ryan expressed immense gratitude towards her student workers who often organize items in ways she wouldn’t consider and it often helps keep items moving.  

     “I appreciate [student workers]…looking at something with a different eye because you get so used to something, you just accept that that’s the way it’s going to be,” said Ryan.  Keeping items moving is integral to this organization which currently has a storage room stuffed to the brim with items that haven’t sold.

      Ryan said she’d like to see more students utilize the ERD and ask themselves,  “‘what could I use here [at ERD] and do I need that particular item that I was just gonna go to Wal-Mart for, or is there something else here that would work just as well?’”

   The pricing at ERD ranges from five cents to two dollars per individual item so customers can buy the exact amount they need.  There are similar organizations to ERD in Lewiston and Westbrook, but their pricing is based on a yearly membership fee which can pose as a barrier for a person to just walk in and grab what they need for a single project.  Ryan prefers ERD’s open to the public, pay per item set-up. “I just think people think more about what they’re picking up…if they’re paying for it. It’s just human nature.”

     Everyone’s Resource Depot is located in room 009 in the Education Center.  Visit for more information.    


HEA 310 Promotes Health Awareness in Campus Event

By Elina Shapiro Staff Reporter

This Saturday, December 8th from 11am-2pm, the HEA 310 class will be holding an event on the UMF Beach to encourage health on campus by hosting activities covering a wide variety of areas including sexual health, exercise, and the effects of smoking.

   In the class, Principles of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, students learn how to effectively promote health topics to different crowds and target audiences. Each semester, students create a project to increase health awareness and focus on a certain population. These projects are resume boosters, and students will become better health promoters/educators as a result. Since college students are their target audience this semester, students in the class thought about what topics are relevant to college students in general and UMF students in particular.

   Many college-aged adults are misinformed when it comes to sexual health, which is one of the topics represented on Saturday. Alison Laplante, a junior Community Health major, said, “Our purpose is to educate students about the risks of having unprotected sex and engaging in risky sexual behaviors and to raise awareness on how to stay safe while participating in such acts as well as having resources to go to.”

   Laplante went on to say that “people don’t want to talk about [sexual health] because they’re uncomfortable or they just think it’s inappropriate to talk about, but that’s kind of the opposite. You have to talk about it if you want to see change and to protect your bodies,” said Laplante. “I think there’s a lack of education because a lot of parents don’t want to talk about it with their kids and not everyone takes a health class.”

   There are going to be activities to make the event interactive and engaging. “We’re going to provide knowledge on three main categories, STDs, condom usage, and contraceptives and birth control methods,” said Kyla Sturtevant, a senior and Biological Health Sciences major. “We’re going to have a fact vs. myth game and it’ll provide information about sexual health behaviors that college students may not even know about or understand.”

   The goal of this event is so that UMF students will walk away with the knowledge and tools to become healthier. Maddie Dewitt, a junior Community Health major, said,

“We hope that they will learn at least one new thing about sexual health that they may not have known before and that they will share it with others to help in the prevention of unhealthy sexual behaviors.”

   In addition to promoting sexual health, the event on Saturday will also cover the importance of exercise. “The purpose of our program is to educate UMF students about their options on campus for exercising, especially students who think they only have the one option of going to the FRC,” said Kim Richards, a senior Rehab major. The exercise group will map distances around Farmington so students can see how much exercise they get walking to stores in town from UMF.

   Students involved in the event plan on talking about group fitness classes, intramurals, varsity and club sports and activities run by Mainely Outdoors. “We’re hoping that after this project that people will be more interested in different types of exercise around the community instead of just at the FRC,” said Richards.

   The exercise group stressed that students don’t understand the wide realms of opportunities they have to get exercise. “I think it’s something that’s overlooked a lot, we don’t think about it much but it’s really important,” said Anna Warren, a junior community health major.

   Kendra Burgess, a junior community health major, said, “I know as a freshman I didn’t know about all of those club sports offered, or all of the intramurals offered or group fitness classes even so I think just educating people about that, especially the younger people at UMF would be better.”

   Burgess assures that participants will be very involved in Saturday’s event. “We’re gonna have fun activities. We’re gonna have “Just Dance” for people to participate in as well as having a mystery box of exercises to do to win prizes,” said Burgess. “They pick exercises and depending on how many or which exercise they can win different prizes.”

   In addition to broadening understanding of sexual health and the benefits of exercise, students will engage in activities that show the effects of smoking. RJ Card, a super senior and General Studies major, said, “Our overall purpose for our project was to educate UMF students of all ages, of the risks and dangers of using smoke and tobacco and E-Cigarette products. We’re trying to get people more educated on what the dangers are, and possible health outcomes of using these products.”

   Students will also participate in a Kahoot game that will teach them facts, as well as photos of what happens when you smoke an E-cigarette or tobacco. “I am also making a poster of the finances if you do smoke over the course of a year vs. what you would save if you don’t smoke at all,” said Derek Bowen a junior Community Health major.

   For more information about the class or Saturday’s event, contact professor Kate Callahan at