Bust-A-Move Beavers Showcase their Fall Performance

Bust-A-Move Beavers Showcase their Fall Performance

By Gwen Baker, Contributing Writer

 Bust-A-Move Beavers (BAM), a student-led dance group, after a lot of hard work this semester, recently held one of their biannual showcases.

   The lights dimmed low as dancers dressed in black and yellow with their hair tied neatly in a ponytail waited eagerly in sitting positions, backs turned away from the audience. The crowd held their breath as the song Black and Gold by Sam Sparro started, cueing the dancers to begin.

Performers dancing to Black and Gold, Choreographed by Rachael Chavarie. (Photo Courtesy of Gwen Baker)

    Rachael Chavarie, a junior Elementary Education major and Vice-President of the club, choreographed this routine. Chavarie chose Black and Gold because it sounded like something she had never heard before. “I discovered the song in my favorite movie, Fame, and I just really love it.”

   Zyanya Holman, a junior majoring in Community Health, has been attending BAM recitals every semester since her freshman year to support her friends, including Chavarie. Holman loved everything about Chavarie’s performance in Black and Gold. “It was very sassy, very spicy,” said Holman. “It felt like you wanted to get out of your seat and join them.”

   One of the performers in Chavarie’s routine was the current club President Meagan Ring, a senior double majoring in Math and Actuarial Science. Ring choreographed the routine for She Used to Be Mine, by Sara Bareilles.

   “One of my favorite [routines] to perform was She Used to Be Mine because it is really meaningful and hits home for a lot of people,” explained Ring. “I wanted to use it to bring some awareness to domestic violence.”

   Another popular performance was “Inner Demons” by Julia Brennan, a duet choreographed by Autumn Hopkins and Meagan Ring. “I loved, loved, loved “Inner Demons”,  it was very graceful, very powerful,” said Holman. “It sends a message of strength and overpassing obstacles.”

   Ring describes the dynamic of BAM as a close group of people who share the same passions with one another. “We call each other a Bamily; we’re a family. A little spin on family,” said Ring with a fond smile.

    “BAM is awesome, it’s so much fun, we are a great group of people,” laughs Chavarie. “[However], we can get silly sometimes.”

   If you are interested in joining BAM, search for “UMF Bust-A-Move Beavers” on Facebook.


Gender Diversity Night at UMF Brings Students Together

By Emily Mokler, Contributing Writer

In the North Dining Hall, dozens of UMF students gathered to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance in honor of people killed in anti-transgender violence. The observance is a solemn reminder that for some, social progress came too slowly. For the transgender, non-binary and ally students in attendance, the Gender Diversity Night held by the Rainbow League was a positive celebration of diversity.

   The event began with a socializing hour where attendees ate rainbow cupcakes and homemade treats. It was an opportunity to bond with friends and meet new ones.

   Three trans students held a panel about their experiences with transitioning. Matthew Wyman, a senior Psychology major and one of three panelists, said, “being trans can be beautiful. It’s scary and delightful in ways you don’t expect.”

   Wyman told the audience, “I’ve been L, G, B, and T” while recounting his journey as a trans man. It took reading a book with a trans character for Wyman to realize “Oh God, I’ve figured it out,” he said with an exaggerated expression of the realization to the sympathetic laughter of the audience.

   Samantha Melton, a junior Computer Science major, came from Kentucky, “where no one had the vocabulary to discuss LGBT issues.” Melton delayed medical transition for a year because “my parents thought that if I took hormones, I would get cancer and die,” Melton said. “Eventually, I had to say ‘I’m doing it’ or else I will always be miserable.”

   Julia Allen, a sophomore Creative Writing and Theatre major, began to question their gender identity after an experience with a really cool shirt in the Men’s section at Walmart. “I realized that I was hesitating trying it on because it was a men’s shirt, but who it was made for doesn’t change that it’s an awesome design,” Allen said, who bought the shirt.

   When asked how students can be supportive of their trans friends, the panelists offered suggestions. If you don’t know what pronouns someone uses, Wyman recommended using they/them until you can ask how they want to be referred to. Melton encouraged attendees to include their pronouns under their names in email signatures as a subtle way of normalizing introducing pronouns.

   During the gender-inclusive fashion show, participants were introduced with their name and pronouns. Students modeled clothing they just bought or what they wore to the event.

   The Rainbow League also organized a clothing donation drive held during the event. Students were able to take clothing as their own in exchange for a donation. Clothing left over was donated to outreach centers and local shelters.

   People gathered together as they sifted through the piles and piles of clothes. Laughter rang out as someone fit into a tight, sparkly red skirt. Others found sweaters depicting stoic deer and ducks in flight.

   If you want to find more information about the Rainbow League, search for “The Rainbow League UMF” on Facebook.

A Study in Spaces (to Study in)

By Devon Hall – Contributing Writer

   As the season for intense studying arrives, UMF students may find themselves at a loss when trying to find the place that feels just right. Luckily for them, there is a myriad of places to study around campus with all different kinds of vibes.

   A solid place to start is the library. Books, a quiet atmosphere, and a café all make this a prime choice for many students. However, some might not realize just how spacious Mantor Library truly is. UMF junior Brooklyn Brown studies mainly on the first floor of the library by herself.

   “I found if I study in groups, we get distracted and don’t get much work done,” Brown said. “It helps me focus more if I just bring what I need here. I can get more studying done.”

   Mantor also has the mezzanine hanging out over the first floor, equipped with booths, chairs, and tables. A separate room attached to this space holds a 6-seater group room maintained at a toasty 70°F. The third floor is a designated quiet area. The only noises to be heard are the hum of the heating system hard at work, the occasional clack of the tech help desk keyboard, and muted voices floating up through closed windows from students passing the library.  The shades are left open to let natural light filter inside.

   Freshman Biology major Natasha says she likes the quiet, empty atmosphere. “Usually there’s just nobody up here,” she said. Sophomore Mecédaidh Phalen also attests to the emptiness. “I work every Saturday and there’s almost never anyone in there when I go upstairs,” Phalen said.

   Freshman Secondary Education major Jasper Emory has several favored study spaces, including the library basement and the basement of Scott South. “I like to study in basements,” Emory said. “Basements are better because I’m less likely to run into traffic.”

   Jasper also recommends the rainbow lounge in Scott as well as the Bjorn Plaza outside the Education Center in warmer weather. Just be warned, the door locks when it closes.

   Other students have their own preferences for study locations. Freshman Creative Writing major Alanna McGinty said, “people are loud,” and she prefers to study at home.

   One seemingly undiscovered gem lies in the third floor of Merrill, which is utilized by sophomore Rowan Bagley. “Just keep going up until you can’t find any more stairs that go up,” Bagley said.  This lounge space has whiteboards, a calendar, leather chairs in both black and chartreuse, art books, a piano, and a coffee maker.

   Along with big rooms with booths and couches, the library has many individual group rooms of different sizes, between small two-person rooms in the basement and bigger rooms or rooms with projectors. Students can schedule time in at http://library.umf.maine.edu/spaces.

Alpha Lambda Delta Heads Thanksgiving Drive for Ten Local Families

Alpha Lambda Delta Heads Thanksgiving Drive for Ten Local Families

By Leah Boucher – Staff Reporter

 UMF’s honor society Alpha Lambda Delta donated Thanksgiving baskets to ten families with children who attend the W.G. Mallett School in an effort to combat local hunger. Families in financial need were provided with food for a full Thanksgiving meal to cook and eat together during the holiday season.

    Sarah Jenkins, Secretary of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), worked this year as the Thanksgiving Drive Coordinator. Her responsibilities consisted of contacting the school to arrange this drive, finding the number of families in need, and ultimately getting donations for a successful drive.

Sarah Jenkins, Kayla Tremblay, and Morgan Leso stand in front of several Thanksgiving baskets donated to families in the Farmington area.
Photo credit: Leah Boucher

   Kayla Tremblay, President of ALD, worked with Jenkins to set a goal of raising $300 this semester for the baskets. “This is the third year we have organized this drive, and in past years, we have asked for donations of canned goods or for businesses to create Thanksgiving baskets themselves,” said Tremblay. “Because this year’s need rose to making ten baskets, we chose to ask for donations in the form of money. That way ALD members could go shopping together to make sure all baskets had the exact same items.”  

   Baskets consisted of cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, a bag of potatoes, gravy, mixes for 3 different pies, pie crusts, a loaf of bread and a gift card to purchase a turkey for each family.

   “Last year, we donated five baskets to families, and I reached out to car dealerships to donate,” said Jenkins. “As a representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for cross country and track, I brought up the idea of partnering with ALD, as the committee wanted to participate in a service project, and this encouraged ALD to look for donations solely within the UMF community this year.”

    Not only did Jenkins encourage SAAC, who raised over $180, to donate, but she challenged other UMF clubs to raise money as well. “We worked with the Association for the Education of Young Children and Bust-A-Move Beavers to raise even more money,” she said, “and from our collaboration efforts, we reached our goal and ended up buying more food than we had originally budgeted for.”

    Morgan Leso, Mallett’s guidance counselor who worked with Jenkins to make a final decision on the number of families in need, is grateful for the support ALD annually provides in trying to combat student and family hunger, an effort that Mallett School itself works on year round.

   “Within the past several years, Mallett has opened a food pantry, which is funded through grant money and is open once a month,” said Leso. “However, around the holidays and the winter season, the need for more food rises, and we look for any outside donations we can get, which is what makes ALD’s donations in the form of complete Thanksgiving meals more helpful than ever.”

    Tremblay, Jenkins and other ALD members bought the food at Walmart and Hannaford the week of Thanksgiving and dropped the baskets off directly at Mallett School, making it possible for families to pick them up or have the food brought to them by Leso. “There are some families who lack transportation to pick up the meals at the school, and in those cases, I just drop the baskets off at their homes to make sure they can still enjoy a meal with their loved ones,” said Leso. “A lack of transportation or food does not mean people should be denied an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.”


Peace in the Park Brings Students, Faculty, Community Members Together

Peace in the Park Brings Students, Faculty, Community Members Together

By Elina Shapiro, Contributing Writer

Recently, on a brisk Friday afternoon, roughly seventy-five people, including UMF students, faculty and their kids, as well as community members, stood together in solidarity celebrating diversity and inclusion in UMF’s event Peace in the Park.

   Following anti-Semitic vandalism in Abbott Park a few weeks ago, UMF student 

Mana Abdi and professors Maybury and Linda Beck organized a day where students wore purple in advocacy of inclusion of everyone. “Peace in the Park was an outgrowth of ‘Wear Purple Wednesday,’” said Maybury. Peace in the Park was held in the area that the vandalism took place.

   The gathering began at Abbott Park with attendants sipping their hot chocolate and greeting each other with warm and caring smiles. Karol Maybury, professor of Psychology, introduced UMF student speaker Mana Abdi, who was followed by President Foster’s speech about diversity, inclusion and connection.

President Foster delivers a speech on the importance of diversity. (Photo by Haiyu Zheng)

   “There is a reason we called this group the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Action Team;’for diversity without inclusion offers simply a few of every category and ‘ism’ atomized and disengaged without community or meaning,” said Foster. “Diversity with inclusion form the makings of a strong community, but without action – the third word in the name – we risk falling short of what could be.”

   On November 5th, the Diversity and Inclusion Action Team, which is made up of students, faculty and staff, 

had its first meeting. Maybury, who is also chair of the committee, was very encouraged by the team. “I’ve never been on a committee like this, where the energy is just so positive and just motivated to affirm our values as ‘UMFers’,” Maybury said.

   During this meeting, someone suggested that UMF have a celebration of diversity, and thus, Pea

ce in the Park was born. Maybury said people worked fast to get pins made with #coexistumf, posters created; even the school mascot was involved. “Chompers is a very peace-loving beaver, so Chompers says he’s ‘all over this’ and wants to affirm his peace-loving heart,” said Maybury.

   Heather Leet, a UMF sophomore double majoring in Secondary Education and English, and also a part of the “Diversity and Inclusion Action Team,” was pleased with the turnout and is excited about where the team is headed. “I work with kids all summer [during ‘Seeds of Peace’] to figure out how to coexist, how to work together, how to make a better world,” said Leet. “I am really excited to bring that experience in this group, and offer what I can and collaborate with others as best I can.”

   Leet was impressed with how quickly the team was able to set up this event. “This is my second year at UMF, and so I really feel connected to the community now,” said Leet. “That’s another huge reason why I wanted to join this team, because it’s actually contributing to the community and I love being a part of that. Seeing something come from being on that team, so immediately, gives me a really wonderful feeling of optimism, hope, and motivation.”

   Jonathan Cohen, professor of Philosophy at UMF, emphasized that acts of hate are hate no matter what group they’re aimed at. “Even when an incident or a bit of hate is directed at one group, it really affects everyone,” said Cohen. “It’s great when all the groups stick together and realize that we’re all in it together, that we don’t stand separately, we stand together, and the enemy isn’t hatred at one particular group, it’s hate in general, that’s the thing we’re battling.”

   Peace in the Park was concluded by Peter Hardy, a UMF math professor, playing an original song called Trading Places on his guitar, which encouraged people to think about what would happen if people walked in different shoes.

   Check out Facebook and Instagram for the hashtag #coexistumf and see selfies that people took with Chompers as well as photos from the event.