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 Katie.callahan@maine.edu.

Creating Community Art: A Graffiti Wall on Campus

By Elina Shapiro Staff Reporter

   As leaves begin to fall and birch trees become bare, UMF’s campus may start to look a little dreary, so Justin Cochran has an idea for how to brighten and unite the campus – a community graffiti wall.

   Cochran, a first year transfer student and Secondary Science Education major, is hoping to work with administration to start up a graffiti wall somewhere on campus by spring 2019 where students, faculty, and staff could participate.

   “It’s a constantly evolving message,” said Cochran. “Someone will have to paint over someone else’s work. It will eventually happen and I want people to feel encouraged and feel okay doing that, you know, because we want this to constantly evolve.”

   Shawn Russell, an admissions counselor who introduces prospective students to the UMF campus, thinks that having a wall where everyone could participate would strengthen the UMF community.

   “I think it’s really cool that it would be a collaboration between the staff and students,” said Russell. “It would be a really good way to show our students’ and staffs’ creativity that we have ‘cause sometimes it’s really hard to show that in a meaningful way.”

   Cochran said that there would have to be a lot of discussion about what would be allowed, and what wouldn’t; and they hope to have a balanced committee to make these decisions. Ideally, the committee would be made up of students, staff, administration and people in facilities so all angles of campus would be represented.

   Cochran is hoping that this wall will promote collaboration even when controversial topics come up. “I think the thing is that we have to make sure that when something decisive comes up that we turn it into a conversation,” said Cochran. “We don’t try to quell the conversation, we try to steer the conversation in a healthy direction.”

   Gustavo Aguilar, Associate Professor of Experimental Performance and Art Division Chair, thought a committee would be a good idea to decide what is allowed and what will be taken down.

   “There’s that fine line between hate and censorship, when someone crosses that line,” said Aguilar. “We always have to be aware of the fine spaces so we don’t become stuck into an ideology of what’s right or wrong but actually be able to have those debates, which is really what freedom is about, to be able to have those debates.”

  With that in mind, however, Cochran said that there would be some guidelines. “To start, you let it be a place. You let it be a graffiti space. You remind students that this is part of college property so any sort of college rules apply,” said Cochran. “There are certain things as our school dictates, we can’t put up, but that doesn’t limit everybody’s creativity; it just reins it in a little bit to make it a nicer thing for everybody.”

   Cochran hopes that this graffiti wall might lift some spirits as the ground turns white and temperatures drop. “Right now the campus looks beautiful and that’s great; we have fall; we have leaves changing; it’s so colorful right now,” said Cochran. “But looking at winter coming up, we’re not going to have any color, it’s going to be red brick buildings, white buildings, and snow, and that’s entirely boring and it’s just drudgery to have to walk past that every day.”

    Russell also agrees that the graffiti wall would be especially beneficial to the community in the winter. “I think it would be a really positive thing, especially in the winter time, when you know, students are huddled up in their dorm rooms,” said Russell, looking out the window at the pouring rain. “…They could go down there and…do whatever they want with the graffiti wall and make something fun out of it, it would be a good time for those kids who maybe aren’t involved in winter sports or aren’t involved in athletics.”

   This idea is still in its beginning stages, and in the coming weeks, Cochran will be talking to more professors, and people in administration about this possible plan. For now, they have a change.org petition to get support for this wall, which has over 30 supporters. The link for the petition is: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-maine-farmington-get-umf-administration-to-allow-a-graffiti-wall-on-campus


Beth Wittenberg Displays Her exhibit “Consumed” at UMF Art Gallery

Beth Wittenberg Displays Her exhibit “Consumed” at UMF Art Gallery

By Elina Shapiro Staff Reporter


Beth Wittenberg utilized trash and cardboard boxes to create the pieces in “Consumed” (Photo by Elina Shapiro)

 “Consumed” is an exhibit currently on display until November 30th at the UMF Art Gallery, which includes a year’s worth of used cardboard boxes posted to the walls – each one covered with a unique drawing and strong language, sculptures made from trash materials found on the street, as well as a paintings covering two walls that Beth Wittenberg, the featured artist, made in less than 24 hours while setting up her exhibit.

   Students and community members slowly circled around the art gallery during Wittenberg’s opening night, stopping at each piece while enjoying small snacks, and pausing to talk with Wittenberg who made herself available to anyone who wanted to meet her and discuss her artwork.

   The attendees greatly enjoyed her unique style. “I feel like the majority of adults have squashed their childlike instinct to just paint whatever, and not really worry about it and obviously this has meaning, she’s not worried about being judged, because it is more of an abstract, childish form of art, but it is so like, impactful,” said Madee Curtin, a junior in High School. “I just want to go back and draw whatever and not worry about it being super good, I feel so happy right now, looking at this honestly, I haven’t seen art like this in a long time.”

Wittenberg combined trash with strong language to comment on consumerism. (Photo by Elina Shapiro)

   Wittenberg said that she doesn’t have a plan, she just sits down and sees what happens. “I don’t get strokes of inspiration,” she said. “…It’s a spiritual consent thing, I don’t believe I am actually in charge of any of it. I feel like it’s divinely inspired.”

   Wittenberg also said that things in her subconscious are visible in her pieces. “Whatever I am talking about in the day, it comes out in the art,” she said. “If I have an interaction with somebody, it’s all part of the whole dialogue.”

  “Consumed” is an intriguing exhibit, as Whittenberg says it has a double meaning to it. “The show is called “Consumed,” to me I call it my ‘consumerism project,” but the individual pieces all together are called ‘throw-away people,’ they include the sculptures, they’re all made from things that were thrown away and it’s ‘throw-away people’ because people are often not cared for, similar to the way we take care of our trash,” said Wittenberg.

   Allex Reed, a junior Creative Writing major, was inspired by Wittenberg’s theme. “I really like this art style. I really like the sort of  abstract, political structure, the commentary on the United States on consumption culture, on capitalism…” said Reed. “It’s all commentary. It’s really interesting, this sort of thing. I would love to get to the point where I can make commentary like this in my own writing.”

   Wittenberg’s wife, Seri Potter, was also at the exhibit and was blown-away herself. “The depth of her knowledge is amazing,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve scratched more than the surface of her talent, I think there’s so much more there.” The Art Gallery is open Tuesday through

Within Reach: Opportunities for UMF Students To Study Abroad

Within Reach: Opportunities for UMF Students To Study Abroad

Shapiro taught elementary school students English as past of her education internship (Photo courtesy of Elina Shapiro)

Nathan MckIvor Contributing Writer

    “We want our students to have become global citizens when they graduate from here, and what better way to do that than to study abroad!” said Lynne Eustis, UMF’s Assistant Director of Global Education.

   While Eustis travels internationally to establish relations between UMF and campuses all over the globe, she does most of her work from her office in the Fusion Center. Eustis is responsible for the mountain of paperwork that comes with international travel. When a student wants to study abroad at another university, they speak to her.

   Where is the most popular location to study abroad? “There is none,” said Eustice. “Our students are all over the map.” Students can opt to spend a semester or a full academic year studying at an international university, though they make sure their preferred program complements their major during some of their many conferences with Eustis.

   UMF’s direct relationships with international universities includes institutions in China, England, France, Hong Kong, and South Korea. If a student wants to study at an institution in a different nation, UMF partners with third-party providers to guarantee a wide range of opportunities for students. Either way, Eustice coordinates the student’s experience from her office.

   “I loved my experience,” said senior Elina Shapiro, who spent a semester in Florence, Italy last year.  Studying at the Italian branch campus of Richmond University, she immersed herself in Italian language courses, which were useful for communicating with her host family.

   Shapiro’s third-party provider also offered an education internship in the region.  Shapiro taught English, science, and social studies at a local middle school while “teaching students struggling with English” in an elementary school.

   A memorable moment of her trip? “I got to meet relatives in Rome who I had never met before,” said Shapiro, who is Italian on her mother’s side. Shapiro advises those who want to go abroad to ”start thinking early” and to research “what each provider has to offer,” which is how she discovered her program.  Also, Shapiro suggests “practicing the language if the country does not have English as a native language.”

   “Oftentimes students don’t look into [studying abroad] because they think they can’t afford it.  But there is an affordable program for everyone,” said Eustis. Students can apply their university grants and merit scholarships towards the cost of a study abroad program. Eustis spends time with individual students researching programs of interest them, and often, if one is too expensive, a more feasible program is almost always within reach at a different school.

   Roughly 15-20 students study abroad on semester programs each year. Right now, there are two UMF students are abroad: one studying in China; the other spending their semester in France. Checking a spreadsheet, Eustis chirped that 13 more plan to go across the pond in the Spring 2019 semester.

  Aside from the traditional study abroad experience, the Office of Global studies also offers a Student Teaching Abroad program for Education majors concentrating in Elementary or Secondary education. As the final component of their majors, they can teach abroad South Korea, Hong Kong, Dublin, and other regions in Ireland.

   The department also offers domestic opportunities through the National Student Exchange program for students looking to study at a different university in the U.S.

   Wherever a student chooses to study, they are changed by the experience:  “Italy will always have a place in my heart,” said Shapiro.

Jeff Scheen Brings Laughter to the Landing

By Elina Shapiro Staff Reporter

At his first UMF performance last Wednesday, comedian Jeff Scheen had students laughing within moments as he started describing Maine.

   “Are there more bears than people here?” Scheen asked the audience that filled the Landing. “I grew up in the woods. I hate the woods. I came here, and I was like, ‘Oh God, I’m back home again.’” Although Scheen now lives in Brooklyn, New York, he grew up north of Detroit in an area similar to Farmington.

   Scheen described his comedy style as different from other comedians. “I just tell personal stories that are often weird, and sometimes a little dark…You don’t have to worry about people stealing your stuff,” said Scheen in a phone interview. “If it’s your story.”

   Throughout his performance, Scheen talked about being hit by a car as he ran to catch a bus, accidentally driving to Canada, and what it’s like to live with a big mouth, but a small throat.

   Scheen didn’t always talk about his personal life, and his comedy wasn’t always dark. He started with a variety of styles and developed a routine that was right for him. “When I first started, I talked about soup and mundane things, and then I realized I don’t care about soup,” said Scheen over the phone.

   Scheen explained that many comedians have been bullied and that comedy can be a coping mechanism. “If something bad happens, I always have the thought, ‘this sucks, but I could turn this bad thing into a bit and turn it into a positive thing.’ It makes it easier,” said Scheen. “Humor comes from self-defense. I’ll go with the funny route ‘cause I am good at it.”

   Scheen said that he did terribly during his first open mic night ten years ago, but he enjoyed doing comedy so he has been performing ever since that night. He described how every mistake is a learning experience. “You bomb, you do really good, and then you bomb again,” Scheen said. “You have to grow as a person and gain confidence to be relaxed and comfortable on stage.”

   Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE) is the UMF all inclusive club that asked Scheen to come to campus. Each year, members of the club attend NACA, the National Association for Campus Activities.

   “It’s basically a giant event where you go and see people perform,” said Paige Hemond, a sophomore and a member of ACE.  “Whether it’s a magic show, whether it’s comedians, whether it’s magicians, and if they’re available, you can book them.” Scheen was booked at last year’s NACA event.

   Hemond said that it takes a lot of work to host a performer, even beyond figuring out who to book. “We need to have the equipment and everything. We have to make sure we have the microphone, and everything that the performer needs in order to perform,” Hemond said.

      Hemond said that everyone is welcome to all events that ACE puts on. “Events are available; anyone can go to them; they’re free; you don’t have to pay anything; we take care of all that,” said Hemond. “We want everyone to be able to have opportunities to see what they want to see, so just communicating with us and telling us what they want to see.”

   ACE puts up posters about upcoming events in the Olsen Student Center hallway, as well as signs on their door in the Student Center. Students can also find out about future events on their Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/ace.umf/.