Voter Registration

by Sydney Beecher, Contributing Writer

    Aiming to help students register to vote, UMF’s branch of the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) held a voter registration drive at the end of September. The drive was an astounding success, with 40 UMF students registering to vote over a span of two days.

   This program was headed by senior Samantha Wood, CEEP Fellow and the voter drive event organizer, along with four volunteers. Together they led students through the process of filling out an official registration form. “It’s easy for on-campus students to register to vote because UMF sent a residence list to the town clerk’s office so students do not need to provide proof of residency,” Wood said. “For those who live off-campus, all we ask of them is to bring proof of residency such as a piece of mail or their driver’s license when they come to register.”

    Creating a voter registration drive on campus helps to build a habit of civic engagement in students. Voters between the ages of 18 and 21 have the lowest voter turnout of any age group. 

    According to Political Science Professor James Melcher, this can cause the views of younger voters to be underrepresented. “Here in the 2nd Congressional District in Maine, voters have the chance to vote in some of the most hotly contested races in the nation,” said Melcher. “Maine’s 2nd District electoral vote, U.S. House race, and U.S. Senate race are all extraordinarily competitive and crucial votes.”

    Ciera Miller, one of the volunteers at the drive, echoed this message and stressed the importance of voting. “I wanted to volunteer because it’s important that we vote in elections for who’s going to be given power in our town, state, or country… [and] I want to help others who were never taught the impact their vote has so they can be more aware of how important their voice is as a US citizen. They should know that their voice matters,” said Miller. 

    Another important aspect of the drive was to provide unbiased information to students who registered. CEEP is committed to being non-partisan and is considering creating a non-partisan club on campus in the future. “It’s important for students to get involved politically and having only political party affiliated clubs is going to scare students away,” said Wood. “We’re seeing a change in young people where they don’t want to affiliate with a political party; they just want someone to uphold their views.”

    UMF’s branch of CEEP maintains a Twitter and Instagram account called ‘UMF Votes’ and a Facebook account called ‘UMF Students Vote.’ Here, they post information regarding voting information or campus events. They plan to participate in an upcoming virtual legislative candidate series on Monday, October 12th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will be hosted by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the political party affiliated clubs on campus. The online forum will include candidates in District 17 such as Jan Collins and Russel Black.

Mainely Outdoors Shoots for the Stars

Mainely Outdoors Shoots for the Stars

by Natausha Cogley, Contributing Writer

Tommy Hainsworth

Tommy Hainsworth (pictured) and Sam Shirley (not pictured) lead a stargazing trip in UMF’s backyard.
Photo courtesy of Sam Shirley.


    Mainely Outdoors ventured out on Oct. 4th at 7:30 p.m. for a stargazing trip to Prescott and Intervale field.

    UMF Junior, Sam Shirley, has been working for Mainely Outdoors (M.O) for two years now. Due to COVID-19, the company has experienced some limitations with what they can do. “We [M.O] are limited to what we can do because we can’t transport anyone by vans anymore,” Shirley said. “We have to get a little more creative with the stuff we can do. This is just something a little different that we don’t do often.”

    This trip took place on Oct. 4 and students met at the M.O. building at 7:30 p.m. The program lasted until 9:00 p.m. The only things necessary to bring were appropriate walking clothes and a blanket if desired.

    Students had the opportunity to get some fresh air while enjoying a tranquil evening walk, gazing at the stars and moon as they glisten in the sky. 

    “We took a short walk to Prescott Field,” Shirley said. “It’s was a relaxing trip–hanging out in the fields, looking at the stars–and it’s a great way to get some fresh air.”

    The moon was to be in the waning gibbous phase illuminating the sky. Shirley and his coworker Tommy Hainsworth were there to help point out constellations and stars. 

    “Tommy and I are not exactly experts at this stuff, but we can point out some basic constellations,” Shirley said. “The moon is relatively bright, so it was a nice night to be out in the field.”

Students and Professors Brace Themselves for the Near Future

by Malcolm Langner, Contributing Writer

    Due to the changes across campus from COVID-19, UMF students and professors are trying to stay optimistic despite not fully knowing how next semester will unfold, especially with classes.

    One of the aspects that might cause challenges is online vs. in-person classes. “It is more of a matter of being prepared to have the courses work differently for me rather than writing the syllabus differently. One big change is being ready to have more tests be take-home tests,” said James Melcher, Professor of Political Science at UMF.

    The changes which surround the UMF community during the pandemic expand further than physical challenges, but into emotional stress. “It’s stressful, and knowing it is for my students as well, also adds to my stress,” Melcher said. “I have a tendency to worry sometimes, and I don’t enjoy having this much uncertainty around these things.” 

    Melcher doesn’t plan on letting these uncertainties disrupt him from his classes, “I try to be in command enough that my students can rely on me.” 

    Despite the possible hardships next semester, Melcher believes in the UMF system. “I think there is a good chance the University [of Maine] System will have a plan by then, said Melcher. “However, pandemics are unpredictable, and we have to be ready to respond if an outbreak happens.” 

    Melcher continued to say that the use of Brightspace this semester could pay dividends in next semester. “I have worked hard to learn Brightspace this summer and fall; if we go online again, knowing that new system will be more crucial than ever,” said Melcher. 

     Melcher noted that the changes this semester have even extended into his home. “The single biggest piece of prep I have done was to improve my home internet service this summer,” said Melcher. “It had worked very poorly in handling the demands of teaching online last spring.”

    The uncertainty of going online is voiced by students as well. Cooper Millet, a junior at UMF, is finding that signing up for classes next semester is more challenging than ever. “It’s very frustrating not knowing what next semester will look like.” Millett said. “I am definitely an in-person learner, and not knowing whether or not I will be at my best for my classes is concerning.”

    Due to COVID-19, students have to take into account new aspects of a class before signing up, “I can’t look at my requirements and just sign up for classes. Now, I have to really understand the difficulty of it and make sure I would be able to understand the subject without an in-person professor,” Millett said. 

    As for on-campus living, Millett can only hope for the best. “I love living on campus.” Millett said. “Not knowing whether or not I will be back here with my friends is more than unnerving.”

    For Millett, this uncertainty expands even further. “I play baseball. I would be very disappointed if we don’t have a season for the second year in a row,” he said. 

    While slightly discouraged by the situation, Millett understands that precautions come first. “COVID-19 has been unstable, and trying to allow too much on campus could definitely make things worse.” 

    Despite next semester appearing to be hazy, Millett remains positive. “I love it here,” he said. “I think UMF has done a great job with everything so far and will continue to be a fun, safe place next semester as well. We don’t really know much about next semester, so all we can do is wait it out.”

Planning for Uncertainty

by Bella Woodhouse, Contributing Writer

    October has officially arrived at UMF. The leaves are turning, classes have been in session for a month, and pre-registration is creeping up on students. 

    Pre-registration, which started Oct. 5, is a required process every semester that prepares students to sign up for classes for the next semester. Students use Schedule Planner and MaineStreet to plan and put their potential classes on their Wish List before getting approval from their academic advisor. 

    Despite more restricted limits to how many students can be in a class and a lot of classes being online, the process will be essentially the same, but advisor meetings have been and will take place on Zoom. “I think there has been a lot of creative thinking about how to still hold classes,” said a UMF faculty member who wished to remain anonymous. “There are a limited number of traditional, fully face-to-face classes, but there are not fewer classes overall; students still have a variety of classes to choose from. They just need to be flexible about how they are offered.” 

    This year, professors must decide on whether they will offer their class asynchronously (students complete work at their own pace), synchronously (students meet online with professor all at once), or even half in person half asynchronously. 

    Due to the pandemic, the maximum amount of students that can be in a class has decreased, creating more stress than usual for students registering for classes. “As is always the case, I think some students won’t get the classes they most desire because they will fill up,” said the faculty member. “I think some students will struggle to find the courses they need that fit into a good schedule for them…I also imagine that some students who are looking for only one type of instruction (i.e. only face-to-face or only remote or only hybrid) might struggle. I feel like flexibility has to be the name of the game this year for everyone!”  

    Pre-registration is just beginning and students are now concerned about what registration for the upcoming semester will resemble. “When the school year started I didn’t even think about pre-registration and now that it’s here I am worried I won’t be able to get the classes I need,” said Victoria Garand, a sophomore majoring in actuarial science. “I don’t mind online classes, but I miss being in person and my major makes online learning difficult.”

The Landing Implements New Safety Precautions

The Landing Implements New Safety Precautions

by Brittney Lee, Contributing Writer

The Landing sign

The Landing has been a staple venue for student-lead events on campus.
Photo courtesy of Sam Shirley.


The Landing has been the small event venue at UMF for years, but COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the traditional weekly happenings this semester.

Throughout the years, The Landing has been a staple venue for student-lead events on campus. Events such as mug painting, tye-dying, and many others have been held in The Landing as a way for students to participate on campus when classes aren’t in session.

Before the pandemic hit, students were able to freely go to these events without worrying about social distancing guidelines or wearing a face covering. In previous years, The Landing also had couches and chairs throughout the entire room. However, that’s not the case this year because the entire layout of the room has gotten a makeover in order to abide by the schools social distancing guidelines.

Going forward, the events and their safety precautions are set to stay consistent. The events have been reported to be going very well. “When I attended an event [at The Landing] students seemed to have easily followed the social distancing requirements and everyone was cooperative for the most part,” said Harley Carter, a second-year student.

This year the student-lead events have been occurring rather regularly and have had great student attendance. These happenings have been held on some weekends and most weeknights as a way for students to take a step back from their coursework and enjoy a stress-free evening. However, it’s hard to ignore the impacts the new changes to The Landing have made on how events are led.

Students are enjoying the events and have thought of them to be a “great way to deal with the new world we live in today,” says Carter. Some students mentioned that with the stress of the new school year, these events have been a positive distraction.