By Bryan Eldridge – Contributing Writer
UMF students all around campus transformed from their everyday selves into entirely new identities as costumes arose from the dead for another year of the spectacular Halloween Dance.
Every year, UMF holds a Halloween themed dance for students to help get into the holiday spirit and give creative minds on campus a spotlight during a fun and popular time of year. While many shared the intent of going to the dance, almost nobody arrived with the exact same costume.
“I thought it was really interesting to see all the different variations,” said Katie Franke, a UMF freshman dressed as Daphne from Scooby-Doo. “Some people came up with really creative costume ideas.”
The dance is often a great time for many friends to get together for the same event. “I liked how so many people came together,” said Franke. “It wasn’t just some event where no one showed up, everyone was there,” Franke said with enthusiasm.
Franke’s residence hall, Mallett, was one of many to hold fun social events before the dance to keep the students excited about the evening.
“We carved pumpkins, we played [ping] pong with skeletons, we had snacks and people talked [with one another]” Franke added.
Harry Potter even made the cut at the dance, as Dolores Umbridge was found within Mallett Hall. Tommy Hainsworth found the costume very fitting for the popular movie hit.
Tom Cruise from Risky Business and a friendly scarecrow shared a laugh together before they grooved their way into the Halloween Dance. For these two, the stress relief was a much-needed break from everyday life.
“Our favorite part was letting loose and having fun!” said Preston, a first-year student at UMF through an online forum.
The wide variety of costumes at the dance is something that many students look forward to each year and is what often brings them back. Rebecca Reed and Hope Faulkingham, both freshman this year, found this particularly true.
“I had fun with my friends. I think I would go back again next year to see the wide variety of costumes,” said Reed.
“I really wanted to go because it seemed like a lot of people were going and it seemed like fun!” Faulkingham exclaimed with excitement.
Three referees found themselves officiating the noise and excitement levels as they made their own rulings at the dance.
From L to R: Ian Kelly, Spencer Wilkinson, and Bryan Eldridge made their call on this year’s dance.
Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Reed
The dance takes place each year at UMF around Halloween time and is sure to be an event you don’t want to miss. For more photos and videos from this year’s dance, visit the Entertainment Redefined Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/ERTour/
By Gwen Baker – Contributing Writer
A diverse group of Farmington community members came together at UMF to hold a vigil for the victims of a truck bombing in Mogadishu Somalia.
After hearing about this news, Mana Mohamed, a senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in International and Global Studies, felt compelled to do something about it.
With a large community of Somali students attending UMF, many were directly impacted by this news. Mohamed felt it was disheartening that so many were uninformed about such a big event.
“It felt like it was on me to remember them if no one else was willing to do it,” said Mohamed. She organized a vigil to inform others of what was happening and to rightfully honor the victims of the attack.
“The purpose of [the vigil] was to stand in solidarity with the people who lost their lives in the bombing and also to let the students affected know that we stand in solidarity with them,” said Sitey Mutkar, a senior Pre-Med major and friend of Mohamed’s.
Mohamed did not expect many to attend the vigil, but she was pleasantly surprised to find 30 people in attendance, including UMF students, faculty and high school students. Mohamed ran most of the event but offered others who felt obligated the chance to speak. Linda Beck, one of the professors in attendance, was grateful there was a safe space being offered for the victims.
Mutkar spoke about how she was directly affected by this act of terrorism. “My first cousin, who was attending the university there, was amongst the people who died in the bombing,” she said.
While the person responsible for the attack’s intention was to target parliament members, the bomb was placed near a tank, causing it to explode and intensifying the blast. Many students and children were amongst those who were killed, with over 300 people injured with and the death toll rising to over 500.
Mohamed emphasized the importance of not picking and choosing who to remember. “I think it’s incredibly important that we don’t become blind and choose which people to remember and which people we ignore,” she said. “Every death impacts somebody in this world. It’s making someone hurt, it’s making someone incredibly hard to live by.”
By Kelsey Dunn – Contributing Writer
Students were recently treated to a collaboration of UMF’s Lawn Chair Pirates (LCP), Bust A Move Beavers (BAM), and Clefnotes called “Pirates Bust a Clef” in Lincoln Auditorium. This collaboration has not happened in years, making the performance more surprising and enjoyable.
Each group is different in their own way and brings UMF an extra flare. BAM expresses themselves through dance styles such as tap, hip hop, clogging, and lyrical. LCP is UMF’s talented improv comedy group, bringing laughter to Lincoln Auditorium regularly. Clefnotes is UMF’s pop vocalist group, singing current and popular songs that students can all sing along to.
While students were filling up Lincoln Auditorium, some students sang along to the music that was playing beforehand. BAM members started to clap to a song and urged the crowd to join in. Soon, the room was filled with a rhythmic beat. The three distinctive groups were dressed in different colors; LCP wore red shirts, BAM wore black and Clefnotes wore their white club shirts.
“We spent a long time figuring out how this would all work out because we weren’t around when it happened in the past,” said Josh Beckett, a junior and co-leader of Clefnotes. “We spent a long time trying to figure out the order of who should perform, but LCP and BAM are easy to work with and really fun.”
“BAM was asked to do the event with LCP and Clefnotes,” said Paige Morrison, a senior BAM member. “Our dance routines were from the past semester dances, so nothing new was revealed before our upcoming shows.”
“Pirates Bust a Clef” started with BAM’s opening number, with the Pirates cheering them on and the crowd roaring in applause. The next performance came from LCP, who played three games; Four Square, Bachelor and Sniper. All three games made the audience laugh so much that they were crying. BAM then came back with a great performance, followed by Clefnotes performing seven songs back to back; Marvin Gay, Say You Won’t Go, Eleven Blocks, Say You Love Me, Counting Stars, Put Your Records On and Skinny Love.
The soloists captivated the crowd, including senior Krystal Livermore. “Most of their songs were really good,” she said, though she lamented one song where it was hard to hear the soloist.
LCP mixed some of their roles up, which threw Livermore off. “They mixed up the people who do their original skits. For example, in Sniper, Jonas [Maines] wasn’t the main guy like he usually is,” Livermore said.
“Pirates Bust a Clef” ended with Clefnotes singing Boondocks by Little Big Town and LCP and BAM joining them up on stage. Everyone was dancing and singing along; it was noticeable that both the audience and the performers had enjoyed their night.
Jonas Maines, a junior LCP member, believed the collaboration was a worthwhile experience. “It was a good experience to get three types of different artistic performances together,” he said. “It is to everyone’s benefit when three different styles come together to see what we all do.”
Livermore loved going to the event because she hasn’t been able to go to a Clefnotes showcase. “I loved the three in one because sometimes it’s hard to attend all of these events when we are so busy,” she said. “It was really great to get to see all three groups perform.”
By Collin Regan – Contributing Writer
A crowd of UMF faculty, students, and community members recently packed Emery Arts Center to listen to professor Rhonda Jamison’s talk about Teacher-Student Relationships.
Jamison, also known as Dr. J around campus, talked about three studies she did, including one on UMF students and the impact of mandatory office hours.
During the 2015-2016 school year, Jamison wanted to see how the relationship between her students and herself impacted the classroom environment. To do this, Jamison conducted an experiment between three of her Child and Adolescent Development classes (PSY 225). In one of her classes, Jamison required two mandatory fifteen minute office hours during the semester, one class had one set of mandatory office hours, and the other had no mandatory office hours.
“The goal of the office hours was to get to know students as individuals,” said Jamison. “This was one avenue for connecting with students outside of the classroom, where I could get to know each student as an individual.” Jamison had a theory that when she got to know students as individuals, they would do better in the classroom.
Lydia McDonald, a junior Elementary Education major, remembers having two required office hours over the course of her second semester of freshman year.
“I really enjoyed going to visit with her and chat. It made me feel very comfortable around her and in class,” said McDonald. “I felt pretty neutral about office hours before this, but now I think they’re great.”
During the office hours, students would have a conversation with Jamison. Sometimes, Jamison used conversation starter questions found online to ignite conversation. “I always made sure that I answered the questions too, so that I got to know them, and they got to know me,” said Jamison. Office hours took place in the second and third weeks of the course, right after students had taken a survey.
Over the course of the 2015-2016 year, Jamison gave the same survey to 159 students who had either one, two or no mandatory office hours. This survey was given once at the beginning of the semester before the office hours and once again at the end of the semester. The results showed that students who came to office hours–whether it was once or twice–showed a significant increase in perceptions of autonomy, competence, and relatedness to concepts in the class.
While Jamison was most interested in the findings of a teacher-student relationship, she was surprised that the experiment showed an increase in autonomy and mastery or competence in the class.
“I didn’t know that coming to office hours for fifteen minutes would change how students felt about the content in the course so dramatically,” said Jamison. Having a relationship with students outside of the classroom improved the content knowledge, confidence, and participation from students in the class.
Daniel Picard, a junior Secondary Education major, remembers his experience in PSY 225. “I remember the class having a lot of participation, more than most of my other classes I’ve had at UMF,” he said. Picard was a member of a class that had one mandatory office hours.
Jamison also made an impact on some future educator’s careers in the process of this study. “One great way to learn how to be a great teacher is by observing great teachers,” said McDonald “Dr. J is definitely one of the professors I enjoyed watching teach because her way of handling the class is excellent.”
Jamison will soon be presenting her research and results at a national level. In January of 2018 Jamison will explain her findings at a conference for the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP).
“This conference is different because everyone is presenting on teaching psychology, which everyone in the room does,” said Jamison. “I’ll be in a room of people where everyone does it, which is pretty cool.”
By Elina Shapiro – Contributing Writer
As I turn the corner to approach my room in Stone hall, I hear a cheery voice, saying “Howdy! How are you doing?” and suddenly it doesn’t matter that I was soaked in the rain, freezing from the snow, or just did poorly on an assignment. I am excited because that means I am about to talk to Steve Decker, Stone Hall’s custodian.
Steve Decker, beloved Stone custodian
Photo Courtesy of Elina Shapiro
Decker, always smiling, is great at giving life advice. “He helped me through a tough time last year when I lived in Stone,” said Kelsey Dunn, a senior Early Childhood Education major at UMF. “He told me a personal story that shaped my decision making and made my life more positive.”
Decker has only worked in Stone, but he spreads enthusiasm around campus. “Last year when I walked up to Stone, he was waving to everyone saying, ‘How are you doing?’ and ‘Have a great day!” said Dunn.
Students are Decker’s favorite part of his job. “You don’t know what they’re going through. You might say, ‘hey, how are you doing?’ and that’s all they need,” said Decker with compassion in his eyes. “Life’s too short to worry about things, you help where you can.”
When I transferred to UMF, I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone. Steve made the transition easier because he was a consistent figure in my life who cared about how my tests went, when I was going to see my family next, and how I was doing overall.
Dunn, also a transfer student, felt similarly. “Having Steve be that friend my first year after transferring was like having someone that I could go to for laughs, someone to get advice and guidance, and someone I could go to if I ever needed,” said Dunn. “To this day, I’m still grateful for all he’s done for me–whether it is stopping me in the hall just to say ‘hi’ or catch up to helping me get my car out of the snow last winter.”
In addition to making a difference by talking with students, Decker also made the Stone lounge much cozier. He and his wife added blankets, stuffed animals, and photos to make the area look more like inviting and help people who were homesick.
“He’s very committed,” said Alyssa Higbie, a junior Elementary Education major at UMF. “He’s made this a home, not a dorm.”
Decker won the “Phil Watts” award twice, once when he first started seven years ago, and again last year. The Phil Watts award is given to UMF custodians based on student votes. Members of the CRC (Campus Residence Council) then tally up the votes. Higbie highlighted that not only Stone Hall residents voted for him, but students all around campus.
Decker goes above and beyond to help students. Last winter, Higbie’s car was stuck in an ice dam, and within the hour, Decker reported to her that he had shoveled her out.
“He does everything–snow blows, sands, cleans the stairs, bathrooms, floors, as well as vacuums, takes the trash out–he goes all over the place,” said Dunn with sparkling eyes. “He’ll do any big thing to little thing. He does it because he wants to make the community great.”
Decker cares about every single person and makes them feel loved. Coming to college is hard, Decker is one of the first reasons I found Farmington and UMF to be another home. Decker not only does his custodian jobs, he is also a wonderful mentor and friend to all students.
“Steve is a memory that will last forever. His personality, care, hard work, honesty, is something that I aspire to be as a teacher and a person in general,” said Dunn. “Steve is invited to my graduation if he’s not already attending.”