UMF Opens New Testing Center

UMF Opens New Testing Center

By Paige Lilly, Contributing Writer

274 Front St. by Sam Shirley

274 Front St. by Sam Shirley

    As the new semester begins, UMF has opened the doors of a new COVID-19 testing center intended for the testing of commuter students, faculty, and staff. 

    Residential students will continue to be tested in Dearborn Gymnasium, while others will be tested at the new center located at 274 Front St. The new testing center will continue to help with social distancing while testing, along with minimizing interactions between residential and commuter students. “You can only do so much [to minimize student interactions] in terms of classes, but I definitely think it’s going to make a huge difference in terms of people’s safety,” said Jessica Howe, the COVID-19 Testing Coordinator.

      Howe believes that with the large volume of students being tested this semester, the new testing center will keep crowds down and allow for better social distancing than Dearborn Gymnasium would alone. “With too many people, you can’t social distance or make a proper line in [Dearborn Lobby],” Howe said. 

     During the fall semester, students, faculty, and staff were randomly selected to get tested in each phase of testing. However, according to an email sent out by Christine Wilson on behalf of the Asymptomatic Testing Team, all students, faculty, and staff who “live on campus, take or teach classes on campus, work on campus, or participate in student athletics” are required to be tested every week this semester in Phase 6 of UMF’s asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. 

     Getting the word out about that has been another challenge Howe and her team have been facing, but signage and frequent emails have been a factor in overcoming this challenge. “We’re encouraging people to set a time to be their designated testing time every week,” Howe said. “We want people to put it on their calendars and then go through and sign up with us.” This is not required, but Howe believes that it is a great way for people to remember to get tested every week. 

    Elena Guarino, a sophomore, is one of the students who has tested at the new testing center. “It was interesting because I had never been to that site on campus before so it was a little tricky trying to figure out where to go,” said Guarino. “There is only one entrance [into the parking lot of the building], which I didn’t realize, so I ended up missing it the first time I drove by.” 

    Troy Johnson, a junior, said he appreciated being able to see the same style of posters that would usually hang on the student center walls in the testing center. “I lived on campus for two years, so being in the student center was a daily occurrence for me,” Johnson said. “Now, I live off campus and because of [COVID-19], I don’t really go [to the student center] much.” 

      Howe is also excited about the potential that the testing center has for communication with commuter students. “I’ve been trying to hang posters up similar to what would be seen in the student center in order to connect with students in that way.” Her main goal is to keep students, faculty, and staff both safe and engaged in their testing experiences.

UMF Free Ride Team Hits the Slopes

UMF Free Ride Team Hits the Slopes

By Abby Pomerleau, Contributing Writer

Left to Right: Simon Kern, Ryan Townsend and Sam Scheff skiing and snowboarding at Sugarloaf Mountain. Photo submitted by Abby Pomerleau.

Left to Right: Simon Kern, Ryan Townsend and Sam
Scheff skiing and snowboarding at Sugarloaf Mountain.
Photo submitted by Abby Pomerleau.

    The UMF Freeride team is making the most out of their season with weekly practices and optional competitions. The United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) competitions are not being held this year, but the Freeride team is still enjoying the opportunity to ski. “Everyone on the team is still giving it their all and is continuing to push themselves because with or without competitions everyone just loves the sport in general,” said Bridget Stephenson, a sophomore who skis on the Freeride team.

    Although there are no USCSA competitions, there are a few small competitions available to anyone and require a payment of $120. Some members of the team are planning on participating. “I’m really glad we have this opportunity to compete,” said Ryan Townsend, a junior who also skis on the Freeride team. “It gives us the ability to use the new skills we have been working on in a competitive setting.”

    The Freeride team practices at Titcomb Mountain on Thursdays and Sugarloaf on Saturdays. The team also visits the Anti-Gravity Complex (AGC) next to Sugarloaf once a week to use their trampolines. This allows the team to work on new tricks before they try them on the slopes.

    Being on a ski team provides the members with a COVID-safe social experience. “I really like to be around people with similar interests as I do,” said Townsend. “Everyone is really cool and very supportive.” By being on the Freeride team, it allows for its members to do what they love while meeting new people.

    Regardless of the lack of regular competitions, ski season looks relatively normal to the Freeride team. “Everyone still gets to go skiing together and supports each other to try new things,” said Stephenson. “Everyone on the team is there to do what they love, so even if there wasn’t a team we would all be out there anyway. The lack of competition doesn’t stop us.”

    Skiing isn’t just about the competitions for some of the team members. “Skiing has fully shaped my experience here at UMF,” said Townsend. “For me, being outdoors is a major part of my life and skiing contributes to that. Although we can’t regularly compete, skiing on this team is important to me and how I spend my time here at UMF.” 

    Like Townsend, many UMF students enjoy skiing as a hobby. Titcomb Mountain is roughly 5 minutes from campus, while Sugarloaf is roughly 55 minutes from campus. Having these mountains relatively close to UMF allows students to have the ability to ski when they please.

    The Freeride team loves when newcomers join the team. “Everyone on the team is so welcoming and there are people on the team from all ski levels,” said Stephenson. “We have people who are completely new to park skiing and snowboarding, and people on the team who are nationally ranked, so there are plenty of people to seek advice from.” 

    To join the Freeride team, email the Snow Sports Director, Scott Hoisington, at james.hoisington@maine.edu. 

Tagging Hostile Terrain

Tagging Hostile Terrain

By Ciera Miller, Staff Writer

Hannah Binder at Colby’s HT94 installation (Photo courtesy of Ciera Miller)

    Since September, University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) students across five disciplines participated in filling out a total of 1,370 toe tags for the Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94) installation at the Oak Institute for Human Rights at Colby College. A toe tag is a piece of cardboard or paper attached to the toe of a deceased person used to identify them. HT94 is an art project organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), directed by anthropologist Jason de León.

    HT94 was born out of the term “Hostile Terrain”, a direct quote from the U.S. government’s Prevention Through Deterrence (PTD) policy. PTD uses the desert and mountains as a form of border patrol to deter people from migrating into the United States through Arizona. However, PTD has failed and migrants continue to flood in. 

    For this project, toe tags are filled out and pinned to a large wall map at the coordinates at which a dead migrant body was found. Orange tags belong to unidentified people and white tags belong to the identified.

    Dr. Gaelyn Aguilar brought HT94 to UMF because she believes in “teaching justice in an unjust world.” She said, “I was hoping that filling out our toe tags would feel an awful lot like the naming of names,” which she compared to the most recent surge of Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country. 

    Cassie Donald, a UMF student who participated in filling out over 20 toe tags, echoed Aguilar. It made them feel more personally involved and was more than just an assignment. “Putting names to the issue made it very real,” they said. “It brought forward a lot of emotion that reading an article might not.”

    Aguilar discussed the language used to dehumanize migrants coming into the U.S. from our southern border. “We call undocumented immigrants ‘illegal’―folks do that to avoid speaking the names of those who’ve died, or even having to imagine their faces,” she said. Aguilar believes contributing to this toe tag installation allowed herself, her faculty members, and her students to reinvision these migrants and give them their names back, not only in individual consciences but in our national conscience as well.

    Senior Adriana Burnham knows what it’s like to experience this language. “I’m half-Mexican, and I get a lot of jokes about jumping the border,” she said. Due to Burnham’s heritage, it felt personally disrespectful not to fill out these toe tags. Living in the U.S., Burnham reflects that most don’t have to stress about crossing into a new country to start a new life and/or supporting families from afar. “It gives a reality to something we don’t see in Maine,” she said. “We have this chance to recognize these people who risked their lives.”

    Laney Randolph, a senior education major, was blindsided by the amount of tags UMF received to fill out. She hadn’t realized how many people died crossing the border. “It’s horrifying to think that this isn’t something most people are aware of,” Randolph said. “I think Americans would have a much more empathetic attitude towards immigrants if they knew just how difficult and dangerous it was to get here.”

    Their reactions are the purpose of HT94. This installation is a moment of global reflection and remembrance of those who’ve died on this hostile terrain, trying to cross into the United States. Donald said it best: “It’s important for people outside of the issue to gain awareness of the issue.”

Tiny Frog Wishes

Tiny Frog Wishes

You happen upon a tiny frog who grants tiny wishes. The frog informs you that you cannot wish for big things, like money, love, or power, or wishes that will benefit a population. What do you wish for?  -Freckles the Flyer Frog

Freckles the Flyer Frog

Freckles the Flyer Frog

 

By Faith Rouillard and Malcolm Langner:

– A restful night sleep

– A pencil that never goes missing 

– A shower that never gets cold 

– A full fridge without going grocery shopping 

– Flawless internet while on Zoom 

– A clone to attend Zoom classes 

– A phone that never dies 

– A white and sunny Christmas 

– White shoes that never get dirty 

– A coffee table that won’t slide away from your feet 

– Getting into shape without having to exercise 

– No ads on games or TV

– Never getting toothpaste on your clothes again 

 

By Portia Hardy:

– Jeans that fit perfectly

– An electronic charger that works on any device 

– A never-ending jug of pure maple syrup 

 

By Emma Pierce: 

– A bedroom that cleans itself

– Paper mâché that dries quickly

– Glasses that don’t smudge

A Sunday Drive Through Kittery

A Sunday Drive Through Kittery

By Cassidy Delano, Contributing Writer

Bagel Caboose

Photo courtesy of Cassidy Delano

   Kittery is the perfect place for a calm Sunday drive. It is a small town in southern Maine that sits on the Atlantic Coast. 

    I have lived in the same house in Kittery my entire life, and my Sunday drive route has never changed. It gives me a chance to visit all my favorite places in town while preparing myself for the week that lies ahead. 

    This seems to be a right of passage for me; growing up my dad used to take me on Sunday drives. He grew up in Kittery and was no stranger to the many secret spots that my friends and I call our own. Dad would tell me, “Just wait till you can do this on your own. Sunday drives can save a person.” 

    I was home for Thanksgiving and figured that a Sunday drive was just what I needed before heading back to Farmington. I started my car, and played a song that best fits today’s journey, “Sunday Best” by Surfaces. I pulled out of my driveway and turned right down the street, one stop before we truly started. I pick up my best friend who lives seconds down the road from me, Mia. Off we go to explore the best places in Kittery. 

    With “Sunday Best” still blaring, we pull into a local breakfast gem, Bagel Caboose, built to look like a caboose of a train. When you walk through the door, an aroma mixed with bagels and coffee fills your nose. It’s a breath of fresh air for us. “They have the best coffee in town, and their breakfast sandwiches are even better,” Mia said. Bagel Caboose is the place to go when you’re not looking for a sit-down breakfast. Grab a coffee, bagel, breakfast sandwich, or bakery item of your choice and you can be on your way. 

    “Today I ordered a North Ender on an english muffin, and a hot hazelnut coffee,” Mia said. “A classic Sunday drive meal.” The North Ender is filled with spinach, cheese, egg, tomato, and tons of pesto. 

    I ordered my usual bacon egg and cheese on a wheat everything bagel with hollandaise sauce, accompanied by a hazelnut iced coffee.

    We hop back in the car and are on our way to our next destination, Seapoint Beach, a fan favorite, as it’s a small sandy beach in what’s known as Kittery Point.

    Seapoint is about a ten-minute drive from Bagel Caboose, giving us plenty of time to jam to music and enjoy the seaside view.

    As we approach Gerrish Island bridge on the right, we stay straight and pass it, this road leads right to Seapoint. The road feels long, as Mia turns up the volume to another classic Sunday drive tune, “Where Is The Love” by the Black Eyed Peas. 

    Finally, the beach comes into view as you turn on the sharp corner of the road. Only three cars are parked down here, we pull up to the front row, with a perfect view of the water. We turn down the music, roll down the windows, and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze. 

    “This is what home smells like,” Mia said, as she took a deep breath in. Seapoint beach is where we live during our summer vacation.

    Seapoint Beach feels like a perfect place any time of the year. In the spring and summer season it’s the perfect place to swim, have fires on the beach, and watch the sunset. In the fall it’s overtaken by dogs trying to get in the last bits of the warm weather, with friends and family soaking up the last fireside warmth the beach will see. Once winter hits, Seapoint is the perfect place to watch the waves from the recent storm. 

    “If you come to Kittery and don’t visit Bagel Caboose or Seapoint Beach, you’re not doing it right,” Mia said. 

    We sit here peacefully with the soft tunes of music and crashing of waves surrounding us. The Sunday drive feels complete, and the only path left is back home. Neither of us want to leave, but know Seapoint will be waiting for us when we come home again. 

    “Till the next Sunday drive,” Mia said. 

New COVID-19 Cases Prove UMF Isn’t Immune or Invincible

By Malcolm Langner, Contributing Writer

 

    During phase four of COVID-19 testing, three cases of COVID-19 were reported on the UMF campus. The phase four testing round included 100 randomly selected off-campus students, faculty, and staff. 

    Gracie Vaughan, a sophomore, experienced the panic caused by the virus first-hand when she found out she had tested positive for COVID-19. “I was extremely worried. I work at a place with patrons who may have a very difficult time if they were to catch the virus,” Vaughan said. “My main worry was that I could have infected other people.” 

    Vaughan was asymptomatic, meaning she didn’t show any of the symptoms of COVID-19, but still tested positive for the virus. Despite this, she was concerned for her health and those who were around her. “I’m very lucky that my symptoms didn’t progress for me, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same luck,” said Vaughan. “It was scary not knowing exactly what it could turn into and that alone was even hard on my mental health.” 

    The various COVID-19 protocols and safety measures may seem tedious and have left some with sour tastes in their mouths, but Vaughan was adamant that such measures are for the good of the community. “Just because people our age have a less difficult time with the virus doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. I would be in a very different position if everyone on campus was following the protocols set forth by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and by the University,” said Vaughan.

    Vaughan mentioned that she was like most others in that she didn’t believe the disease could ever touch her, but she wants to use her experience as a positive, rather than a negative. “I think if people see someone they know has the virus, it will become more real to them,” said Vaughan. 

    For the students on campus who haven’t contracted COVID-19, seeing that UMF isn’t immune to the virus was a wake up call. For Mackenzie Dyer, a sophomore, this was especially true. “Seeing these cases really opened my eyes. Even though I follow the guidelines, I never really thought that the virus would, or even could, get to UMF,” Dyer said. “I can’t even imagine being told that I have COVID-19.”

    Dyer isn’t just worried about her own health, but of UMF as a whole. “I love it at UMF. I would hate to see the campus close down early–or even worse, get closed down for the entirety of the spring semester–because we couldn’t follow safety protocols,” said Dyer.  

    Not only do the ramifications of a COVID-19 outbreak cause closures on campus, but they could put the lives of family members at risk. “If we get sent home and there have been several cases of COVID-19 on campus, I worry especially about the possibility of bringing it back to my house,” said Dyer. “Just because it might not give me any problems doesn’t mean my family members will have a similar fate.” 

    As UMF is receiving its first COVID-19 cases, Maine as a state has been increasing once again in positive cases. On Oct. 31, Maine totalled 101 new cases; the most new cases in a day since May 23, with two cases from Franklin Country “If we all work together now that means this whole situation will be a lot shorter in the long run. Please think of other people before deciding not to follow safety protocols,” Vaughan said.