Director of Public Safety’s Tips To First-Year Students

By Grace McIntosh Contributing Writer

Brock Caton, director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, has a few words of advice for first year students to have a safe year at UMF.

   The number one thing Caton stresses most is vehicular security. “Always lock your vehicle,” said Caton. “We have had about five or six motor vehicle burglaries in the first week.”

   Caton also urges students to take care of their vehicles. “Check on your vehicle at least once a week and run your vehicle,” said Caton. “A lot of people don’t realize that if you don’t run your vehicle for months at a time your battery drains itself.” Snow removal around cars during the winter also falls under the responsibility of a resident. Caton suggests keeping a shovel and ice melt in the car.

   In regards to safety around campus, Caton says, “Get off your cellphones while walking. I think that’s a big thing. I try to tell everyone look both ways, and if you see vehicles, wave. Pedestrian traffic is a big safety thing.”

  Seven or eight years ago, a student was hit by oncoming traffic while crossing near Scott Hall according to Caton. Flashing lights are at many of the crosswalks surrounding UMF to prevent these kinds of accidents.

   “Always tell someone where you’re going. Farmington is relatively safe, we very rarely have stranger violence,” said Caton. “But, it’s still good to tell your roommate for example, ‘Hey, I am walking down to Mcdonalds I’ll be back in thirty minutes,’ or something like that. Always have your cellphone on you, you never know.” When it comes to the best defense mechanism, Caton advises for “strength in numbers” and bringing friends along instead of going places alone.

   Caton says that looking out for each other in the community is an important responsibility people should uphold. “Especially at a party with people drinking, escort the person, and even if they are on a party off-campus, get them out the door and away from the party,” said Caton. “Call us, we’ll come help you out.”

   Along with Public Safety, there are many resources on campus that are available to students. There are four areas the Center of Student Development specializes in: testing, career, advising and counseling. Director of the Center of Student Development (CSD) Bob Pederson said, “Last year we had over 5000 individual appointments among the four areas.”

  Caton works closely with Pederson to the benefit of the UMF community. “I sit down with Bob Pederson… we’re always constantly talking and communicating and trying to find better ways to deal with certain situations,” said Caton. When it comes to Pederson and Caton’s most important aspect of their job, maintaining a confidential and safe environment for students is on the top of their priority.

   Public Safety has contact with groups such as SAPARS, Safe Voices and various behavioral health services for students who might need them. “When in doubt, contact us, we have connections and can help you be put in the right direction,” said Caton.  

    Public Safety offers an escort program at night on campus so that if someone does not feel safe they can give the on-duty officer a call at (207)-778-7400. 

Clefnotes Add to their Voice

Clefnotes Add to their Voice

By Maegan Hewey Contributing Writing

Clefnotes recently inducted new members into the group. (Photo courtesy of Josh Beckett)

 Nordica Auditorium roared with sound on Wednesday, Sept. 12. as students rolled into the auditorium and filled the chairs for the auditions to join Clefnotes. As hopefuls and club members alike watched, one by one the auditioners went on stage, sang 30 seconds of their song choice, followed by a range check and harmonising with three of the other members. Out of the 29 people who auditioned, only five made it in.

   McKayla Marois, a Junior and 2nd year Clefnotes member, said, “I am extremely excited; we took in some fantastic talent and I can’t wait to see them learn from us and watch them grow as a group.”

   This year the newest members of the Clefnotes are Tess Gioia, Adrienne Chandler, Jen Larson, Sarah Ventimiglia, and Drew Monteith. These five made it through both the auditions and callback.

  Ventimiglia, a freshman at UMF, has known that she wanted to audition for Clefnotes for years. “I wanted to join Clefnotes since I toured UMF in the 8th grade,” said Ventimiglia. “I thought their music was beautiful and I could see that they really enjoyed doing what they do.”

    Ventimiglia has sung since 3rd grade and has continued her passion since. Ventimiglia was confident up on stage, and showed no fear in her eyes as she auditioned with a piece from “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley.

   Auditioning in front of a crowd was new for Ventimiglia.“The audition was not what I had expected. Many people were in the audience, but only a few were auditioning,” said Ventimiglia. “I did not know people were simply allowed to sit and support us.”

   After everyone auditioned that night, the hopefuls were told whether or not they got a callback. “I was so unbelievably surprised that I had made it in that I had burst into tears and shouted, ‘I can’t believe I made it!’” Ventimiglia said.

   Clefnotes is a club that has been around for more than six years, always allowing anyone to audition. “We hold auditions every fall and spring semester,” said Marois. Holding auditions every year encourages more people to join, or gain the confidence to try out.

   Marois was not nervous during the audition process. “I knew that whatever was going to happen, was going to happen. We put in a lot of work and there wasn’t much more we could have done to bring people to auditions,” Marois said. “We worked hard and I am proud of my group.”

   To learn more about upcoming Clefnotes events, follow them on Facebook at “UMF Clefnotes.”

A Showing of Contemporary Iranian Art at UMF

A Showing of Contemporary Iranian Art at UMF

By Andrea Swiedom  Contributing Writer

“Inner Fragments” is a collection of works by 16 female Iranian artists that were curated by Mahsa Soroudi and Parisa Ghaderi, who hoped to inform Western audiences about Iran’s curre

Masha Soroudi, curator (Photo courtesy of UMF)

nt art scene and overcome cliche depictions of Iranian art.

   Many of the pieces, which range from paintings to sculptures and mixed media, contain vivid colors and work subtlety to convey their meaning. The collection is comprised of all female artists and provides a nuanced look into the modern Iranian woman, but as the curators stressed, the works should communicate relatable identities and feelings to all audiences.  

   “In all of [the pieces] you can find a trace of the gender role, how [the artists] define it and how they’re trying to explore it and make their way out of it,” said Ghaderi. “And, just trying to portray what it means to them.”

Untitled mixed media on board by Mahshid Asoudekah (Photo courtesy of Ann Bartges)  


While these women are at the forefront of Iran’s contemporary art scene, they are virtually unknown to Western audiences. The curators explained that mainstream media continues to portray styles from over 30 decades ago as current, Iranian art. This has created a stereotype of black and white images, veiled women and very direct messages.  

   “The artists born in the 60s experienced the Iranian revolution and then, the Iran and Iraq war,” said Soroudi. “So they created a lot of art work related to the war and the revolution and the horrors after that.”

   The Inner Fragments collection is quite the contrast from that period. “You don’t see that direction, you see a lot of exploration that their art is doing. There’s nothing in the artwork where you say, ‘okay, I can see hijab,’” said Soroudi. The contemporary artists grew up in a

different environment than their wartime counterparts. Their experiences include isolation, censorship and international sanctions that have affected their daily lives.  

   These challenges have caused artists to develop understated styles. “They have to be really creative to be able to show their work because if you want to show everything in the painting, then you can’t get the galleries to exhibit it,” said Soroudi.  

Parisa Ghaderi, curator (Photo courtesy of UMF)

   Despite their subtlety, some of the works in Inner Fragments are still not allowed to be shown in Iran, but the curators are thrilled with the opportunity to show the art in rural Maine. “We decided to have a traveling show because our main goal is to take the show to the places that are less exposed to such art,” said Ghaderi.  

   Ann Bartges, Assistant Director of Visual Arts, went to graduate school with Ghaderi and learned about Inner Fragments last year when she invited Ghaderi to campus as a visiting artist. Bartges saw an opportunity shortly thereafter to bring the exhibit to UMF. “Just last year I started as the Director of the Arts Center and as soon as I was offered that position, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we have the opportunity to bring that show here!’”

   The exhibit is currently on display in the Emery Community Art Center until November 1st.

From “The Fireworks” series, acrylic on canvas by Niloofar Mohammadifar (Photo courtesy of Ann Bartges)

Annual Fall Fest Brings UMF Campus to Life for Another Year

By Sarah Pinette Contributing Writer

The Center for Student Involvement and the Ferro Alumni center invites all friends and family of UMF students to enjoy another weekend full of activities including the Carnival on the Green, a variety of crafts and sporting events the weekend of September 28th.

   The festival kicks off on Friday night with an outside screening of Disney’s movie “Tangled” on the Mantor green. Journey Bubar, a sophomore at UMF and an employee at the Student Life office, attended last year’s Fall Fest. Bubar says that this was a popular event for students to attend with their friends because most parents won’t arrive until Saturday.

   “The outdoor movie was really big with the students,” said Bubar. “Even if you didn’t like the movie, people still went for the social part of it.”

   Saturday is packed full of events for friends and families starting at 9 a.m. Many activities will take place on the Mantor Green during Fall Fest. The first popular activity that students gravitate towards is the bunny petting zoo which will happen on the Green.

   “[The petting zoo] brought a huge crowd, obviously,” said Bubar. Another returning event that gathered quite the crowd last year is the carnival put on by the campus CA’s. The carnival will also happen during the 9 a.m to 12 p.m. slot on the Green. Activities at last year’s CA Carnival included balloon animals, face painting and donut-eating contests.

   In addition to outdoor activities, there are several events going on inside buildings all over campus. Activities in the Landing, which is inside the basement of the Student Center, will be sure to attract a large crowd from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Some of these events include a photo booth and airbrush tattoos.

   Another event that is taking place in the Olson Student Center could be the most attended activity for the second year in a row. This is the “Stuff It Program,” that Fall Fest puts on every year. At this event, participants make their own stuffed animal. Bubar recalls this program as the most attended event. “So many people went that they actually ran out of beavers,” said Bubar. “They had huge piles of them but still ran out really quickly because it was so popular.”

   Saturday night ends with a concert by one of UMF’s acapella clubs, Clefnotes, at 7 p.m. The last activity starts an hour after the concert in the Landing. This event is the magic show put on by Todd Migliacci, an experienced and well-respected performer.

   The Fall Festival weekend is welcome to all and has something for all interests. Many students

see this as an opportunity to see their loved ones for the first time since they left for college. It also can be a time to forget about the stress that college sometimes causes and hang out with old and new friends.

   Another attendant of last year’s Fall Fest, Jess Freeborn, comments on her feelings of the weekend. “It really gets you in the fall spirit,”  Freeborn said. “And it helps with feeling a bit homesick.”

   “It was really worth it,” said Bubar. “And at the end of the weekend, I didn’t want it to end.”

Sports, Classes, Clubs, And Work: How To Juggle It All

Sports, Classes, Clubs, And Work: How To Juggle It All

By Tania Bureau Contributing Writer

College is challenging when students balance studying, practicing sports, working and getting eno

Sophomore Charlotte Allard combats stress by going to the library to do homework. (Photo by Tania Bureau)

ugh sleep at night. Gavin Pickering, a counselor at UMF, said that while it is important to set times and make schedules, it’s also smart to take breaks and spend time with friends.  

   “It is important for students to take one thing at a time and not try to multitask,” said Pickering in an email. “Think of yourself as capable to get the work done, and don’t overwhelm yourself. Focus on one thing at a time.”

   Two students at UMF dealing with busy schedules and the stress of college life are Joseph Ashby, a freshman, and Charlotte Allard, a sophomore.

   Ashby is still adjusting to college. “It is extremely overwhelming,” said Ashby. “Especially playing a varsity sport and having to juggle to get my 16 credits and having three hours of practice everyday.”  Ashby is working to find strategies to help with the busy workload. “If I am not in class, I am doing homework and if I am not doing homework or in class, I’m playing soccer,” said Ashby. “I’m always doing schoolwork.”

   Both Ashby and Allard have come up with some strategies to help with stress and a busy schedule. Ashby goes to a math tutor through Johnson Scholars, and Allard goes to tutors to have papers read with a fresh pair of eyes.

   Allard strives to be organized, making a list of everything that needs to get done, and goes to the library to do homework. Allard finds that writing her notes color-coded also helps with studying.

 Allard has found that it helps her to take a short break. “…[During a stressful time] I did something other than homework. I got away from that specific thing and when I came back to it I reread what I had, and it was like, ‘oh, there’s my mistake.’”

   Allard also has strategies to unwind. “I stress out myself so bad. When I am mentally stressed and overwhelmed I write in a journal,” said Allard. “I will just like word vomit all of my thoughts, everything I am thinking and throw it on paper and I can get back to what I am doing because my mind is clear.”

   Pickering emphasizes that students need to focus on the positives while studying. “Celebrate the work that you accomplish also think about how you will feel when the homework is complete,” said Pickering. “Try to get excited about a task. It gets rid of the voice that says, ‘I don’t wanna,’ which is often the reason work goes undone.”

    If you’re struggling with the stress college life brings, you can make an appointment at Counseling Services by go online to the Counseling Service Page on the UMF website, or call 207-778-7034.