Bite-Me-Beaver: Welcome to our Horrible Advice Column

Dear Bite,
   When I shop for clothes, I like to keep up with trends and wear stuff that helps make me feel sexy. But lately my boyfriend has been telling me that my clothes are too revealing and that I shouldn’t wear them because they make me look skanky. Is he right?
-Fashionably Confused

Dear Confused,
Eat. Him. Roast him on a spit and devour the bastard. Be sure to have a drink with your meal as misogynistic slut-shaming leaves a nasty aftertaste. Problem solved.

Dear Bite,
   My laundry and homework are piling up and tik tok really is taking over my life. What are ways to break my obsessive tik tok binges?
– Tik Tok Go My Deadlines

Dear Deadlines,
   Bold of you to assume there’s a way out. Afterall, the birds work for the bourgeoisie and it’s all an elaborate scheme concocted under Reagan in 1986. . .The beavers are next.

Dear Bite,
   I think it’s the end of times in FAB. I heard about that girl who found the snake in the elevator and twice now I’ve gone into the study lounge on the fifth floor and found black hornets in there. I just want to do my homework without the fear of death. Are these like omens of armageddon? Who do I contact about this?
-Bugging Out

Dear Bugging Out,
Yeah it’s definitely the end. And I think to really capture that end-of-the-world spirit, you should start capturing all the creepy-crawlies you find and once you have a plague-sized amount, release them like the biblical swarms of locusts. I think you’ll get facilities’ attention that way.

Want to ask Bite for some (not so) DAM good advice?
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Submit your questions to for the chance to hear back from a beaver who learned how to type!


Give Me My Dam Money!

Give Me My Dam Money!

Dam Credit Scores: How interest rates and credit scores could ruin your life.

   Albert Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”

   Understand that interest accrued over the life of any loan is how banks and lenders make money off of us, the borrowers. And your credit score is the measure by which lenders decide what interest rate you will receive.

   There is a stark contrast in the amount of interest you will pay when buying a car with a superprime credit score as opposed to doing so with a subprime credit score. For example, the interest paid on a car loan worth $20,000 with a credit score above 780 (superprime) will be roughly $1,000 over fours. However the interest payment on a car loan of the same amount and same repayment period but with a credit score below 600 (subprime) would be nearly four times as much. It doesn’t have to be a car, it could be a house or a boat, or any other large purchase.

   Building a good credit score now while you are in college will make your life much easier after graduation and save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.

   Contact the Financial Literacy Peer Education Program to begin taking control of your credit today! DM us on Instagram at Umf_Finlit or send me an email at to set up an appointment.

UMF Geology Professor Earns National Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

UMF Geology Professor Earns National Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Chris Canavan Contributing Writer

     Dr. David Gibson, a UMF professor since 1996, has been awarded the 2019 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award by the Geosciences Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)

    This national award “recognizes the critical work of a geoscience faculty member who serves as a role model for productive and transformative student-faculty mentoring relationships,” according to a UMF press release regarding the accomplishment. Gibson received his award at the National Geological Society of America Conference held in Phoenix, Arizona. 

    Gibson says that he had been interested in providing students with opportunities to conduct field research since he first started at UMF. In fact, he was specifically asked by students at his job interview if he would take them out to conduct field research. “Someone can look at pretty textbooks all day long [but] on- the-ground observation is really key,” says Gibson.

    He said that students usually come to him with something they are interested in researching or want to learn more about. From that point of interest, Gibson will mentor the students and assist them in their research. “It is much easier for students to learn if they are having fun.”  

    “Doing research projects is really important,” said Gibson. “It takes what you learn in the classroom and in [the] lab and puts it in context.”

Award Winner Dr. David Gibson (Photo courtesy of Chris Canavan)

    Gibson was nominated by students and professionals for this prestigious award. In the press release, Gibson was quoted saying, “Research in the field is one of the essential tools of the trade and something students are eager to be involved in.” 

    Gibson teaches courses such as Mineralogy and Petrology to students who major in geology. He also teaches a course titled The Dynamic Earth, an introductory course for non-geology majors. In addition to his duties as a professor, Dr. Gibson has led May term travel courses including trips to Ireland and Scotland.

Gibson earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and a PhD from The Queen’s University of Belfast. Gibson taught in Canada for seven years before he came to the U.S. as a research assistant in 1984. He said his interest in geology started in high school and that he has always been lucky to live in places where there are a “diverse range of rocks in a short distance.”    

UMS Initiative to Fund Tuition and Fees for 1,200 Students of Incoming Class in Fall 2020

Ripley Biggs Contributing Writer

    Recently the University of Maine System (UMS) announced that they are unveiling a new initiative called “Maine Values You,” to bring more students to UMS institutions. This will proactively reach out to members of the graduating high school classes of 2020 who will be attending a UMS institution, aiming to cover all tuition and fees for more than 1,200 of these students, according to a recent UMS press release.

    The message, which will be seen on television and social media, is coming from UMS newly appointed Chancellor Dannel Malloy, formerly the Governor of Connecticut, who outlines the work the System has been doing over the past six years to make Maine’s Public Universities affordable to everyone. This affordability has been attained by tuition and fees being capped for the past six years, with increases only being made to keep up with inflation. 

    In addition, more financial aid has been made available to Maine students to help make paying for college less of a burden if they attend a public university. By attending a state-supported school, students owe about $4,000 a year less than their peers who chose to attend one of Maine’s private universities or who choose to go out of state. 

    The deal is even better for those attending the University of Maine Augusta, Fort Kent, Presque Isle or Machias. Through the tuition guarantee program of each of these four UMS locations, qualified and eligible in-state, full-time, first-year students will not pay any out-of-pocket expenses for tuition and fees.  

    According to UMS Executive Director of Public Affairs, Dan Demeritt, “The gap between the cost of higher education and the student’s ability to pay for that education using full financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships has gotten smaller.” 

    In fact, the high school class of 2018 saw 1,142 freshmen, which was 40% of the incoming freshman class to UMS schools, receiving a high-quality education free from all tuition and fee charges. The “Maine Values You” initiative was formed in order to formally build on the success that UMS has seen for the students with the most need. 

    Last year $11 million in scholarship money was collected from alumni, civic organizations and other Maine businesses. 

    In the aforementioned press release, Jack Ryan, President of Wright-Ryan Construction in Portland as well as University of Southern Maine (USM) Foundation Board member and UMS community donor, stated, “Education is the best investment money can buy. . . initiatives like  USM’s Promise Scholarship [helps] underserved young achievers from Maine the chance they deserve to attend and graduate college with little or no student debt.” 

    UMF President Edward Serna is supportive of the “Maine Values You” initiative, as he said, “The commitment to cover tuition and fees for 1,200 new Maine students next fall is another important way we can put the power of a UMF education — and all the benefits it provides — within reach of Maine students and their families.”  

    As the money from this initiative will be going only to the incoming class of Fall 2020, current UMS students will not be able to access this funding. However, the younger siblings of current students may be able to take advantage of this program. 

    The first step to receiving this aid is filling out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) which is the form completed by current and prospective college students in the U.S. to determine eligibility for financial aid. 

    According to the Finance Authority of Maine, as cited by the UMS press release, 2,595 Maine students did not complete the FAFSA which resulted in over $10 million in Pell Grants left unused (Pell Grants being federal student loans that don’t require a repayment from the student).

    The UMS hopes the “Maine Values You” program will encourage every Maine student to at least fill out the form even if they don’t think they are college-bound. “We hope to meet the need for as many students as we can, for as long as we can,” said Demeritt.

Hip Hop in the Literary Lens

Hip Hop in the Literary Lens

Faith Diaz Contributing Writer

    Post-Doctoral Fellow in Digital and Public Humanities, Stephen Grandchamp, will teach ENG 377: Hip Hop History and Culture, for the Spring 2020 semester. The course is offered as an English and Music History Course and will be an examination of the history of the genre and a cultural analysis of the music and its effect on American history.

    Grandchamp also intends to explore the genre’s evolution. “You might get more misogynistic party tracks in there but then you might get tracks in there from more female assertive rappers like going back to MC Light or Lauryn Hill, up to contemporary rappers like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Megan the Stallion, City Girls.” 

    He wants to clarify the cultural understanding of the genre as he said, “We’ll put all these different treatments of a theme side by side and talk about how they are relating and making connections and try to figure it out. Because Hip Hop is not monolithic in that it has one take on everything.” He continued, “I want students to be aware of some of those voices that have been marginalized.” 

    Students will also be exposed to the voice of a local underground rapper, Chris Brown, whose stage-name is Yung Breeze, and who is also the younger brother of Vanessa Brown, a UMF senior and TA for the course. 

    “I first talked about my brother and his music to Steve last semester during the New Commons course, and from there I sent some of his music along,” Brown said in messages. “Steve thought it’d be a great idea to talk about my brother as a local underground rapper and to have him be a part of the curriculum.”

Vanessa Brown, TA for the Course (Photo courtesy of Vanessa Brown)

    “I thought it was awesome that [Grandchamp] brought that idea up,” she continued, “mainly because my family and music are so intertwined, and to watch and celebrate my brother’s hard work in an academic setting is an accomplishment in itself.” 

    The course is intended to breed further discussion on the cultural effects Hip Hop has had on the American society as a whole. “One of my main arguments about Hip Hop,” said Grandchamp, “is that you need to view it as a regional United States genre where in the local scenes of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta, Memphis, all of these different places have really vibrant hip hop scenes that have unique characteristics that differentiate them from all of the other ones.” 

    To better understand the unique principles and craft of each scene, students will create their own Spotify playlists based off of those scenes that will serve as a one to two hour premier for the general listener. Students will submit an essay alongside the playlist to explain why they chose these songs, the implications of those inclusions, and key themes. 

     The course’s main challenge lies in altering students perceptions of Hip Hop and its place in modern academia. “I would say it’s as controversial now as it’s ever been because of its willingness to take on taboo subjects in a really direct way, so race, class, gender, and politics. These are issues that are at the surface of Hip Hop music and we are not going to steer away from that,” Grandchamp said. “You have to get students to buy in to applying literary analysis processes to contemporary Hip Hop lyrics.”

    Grandchamp is excited overall for the course. “If you take the class, be ready to listen enthusiastically. One of the main tasks of the course is just to get students to listen to the primary text which are the recordings of the genre to better understand it.” 

    Another goal of his is to prepare students to, “meet the music on its own terms. In that, Hip Hop is an art form that was birthed out of African American culture. So its is inextricably linked to African American culture. So I am going to ask students to meet that culture on its own terms. To try to confront it directly, analyze it directly, and really try to figure out where this artistic movement came from and whats the engine behind it.” 

    Brown hopes to aid students’ engagement with the music and culture by acting “not only as a sounding board for thoughts, ideas, and other things. . .during discussions and projects,” she said, “but also engage and share experience and/or my music insight from the hip-hop world.”

    This course is now available for pre-registration on My Campus.