Water Bear Confabulum Happening in Farmington

By Anna Manuel Contributing Writer

   The Water Bear Confabulum is an event with many attractions including an art walk in downtown Farmington, a 5k trail run and child friendly activities. With the help of students, staff and guest artists, the event has become an annual tradition since 2005.

   Sarah Maline, an art professor at UMF, is in charge of organizing the event. Maline has to get permission from town managers in order to use their alleys for artwork.

   “In 2017, we had about 60 UMF students participating as artists and performers as individuals,” said Maline. “Parents and kids went on the trick-or-treat art trail and there has been a kid’s chalk and/or wheat-paste wall project every year on the Homestead wall.”

   Guest artist Beth Wittenberg is from Washington D.C. with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. “I think of the Water Bear Confabulum as an event, a rural avant garde event,” said Wittenberg. “That attracts inquiry into one’s own memory, like a game where all the players are searching for their own meaning.”

   Last year, Wittenberg had the opportunity to spend the day before the event with the art students. They gathered in the alleyway where they would prepare the artwork. “We worked with the idea of homelessness in rural Farmington and what that might look like as interpreted by college students,” said Wittenberg. “Reimagining the space, creating the installation, was the task we set out to work with as the days’ activities ensued.”

   Another Guest artist, Maggie Libby, is from Winthrop, Maine. Libby has attended Tufts, Colby and New York studio school, in addition to making her own MFA study. Libby described the Water Bear Confabulum as “a celebration of diverse artistic voice; installations, performances and interactivity.”

   Last year, Libby contributed an erasable drawing for the event, as well as created a sculpture piece that was put on display. Libby’s piece was a white wooden chair with some chipped paint. On her sculpture was a small, red cat facing the back of the chair, with a bird and branches near the bottom.

   Along with the alleyways filled with art, there is also art created in the woods. “Bringing art to the woods creates such an exciting backdrop for some provocative art,” said Wittenberg. “I was very impressed by student work I saw. Some of the art students had very engaging pieces.”

   Libby’s favorite part of Water Bear Confabulm is, “getting to know Farmington a little better, talking to people and students, seeing other work”.

    “It was also a good antidote to the over-seriousness about art here at Colby; it gets too pretentious here when the museum only honors people from outside of Maine who are the very top of the art profession.”

   This year, the Water Bear Confablum event will be held on October 27th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.. The event takes place in Downtown Farmington and is free of charge.

Early Childhood Club is Active in the Community

By Maegan Hewey Contributing Writer


  The Early Childhood Club aims to be more well known by their continued participation around UMF and the local community.

  The ECC has changed their name this year, in hopes of gaining more interest in the club. “This year we have rebranded ourselves with our new name, the Early Childhood Club! We were previously UMF Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC), but are using our name change as an opportunity to make campus more aware of us and what we do,” said Hope.

    Carson Hope, the president of the Early Childhood Club, takes pride in this group and what they have come to be. A main goal for this club is involvement in the community and they do as much as they can to achieve that. “We volunteer at community events geared towards young children and their families, volunteer our time with teachers and early childhood organizations, and promote events for the early childhood community,” said Hope.

   Facing large groups of people, and not knowing what to expect, is not an issue with the members of ECC. “The main purpose of this club is to create opportunities for like-minded students, creating awareness of the importance of the quality of early childhood education,” said Hope. “[We] provide opportunities for professional development, and to work as a club in collaboration with others to benefit children and their families in the Farmington community.”

   The volunteer opportunities are very useful for the learning educators. Being able to get active and help others allows them to get a better feel for being a teacher. In the education field the main focus is the child, but there are other aspects involved in the profession as well.

   “Some things that we have done in the past include parent nights out, professional development sessions, guest speakers, and children’s author events,” said Hope. Teaching future educators to help not only the children, but also the parents and other teachers is a huge responsibility.

   Along with their new name, ECC is preparing for new events. The club will be involved in a playground project for the Pre-K program at Mallett Elementary School on October 20th and will participate in the annual Maine AEYC conference at Bowdoin College on October 27th.

   Being able to work more and learn about the aspects of early childhood is an opportunity that comes with the fun of a club. The only thing that Price would like to see change is the level of involvement in the club. “We would really like to see more people at meetings and events,” said Price.

   The ECC holds club meetings on Wednesday’s in the Education Center, room 106 at 6:00pm. The meetings and club are open to anyone who is interested. contact the For more information students can contact President Carson Hope at carson.hope@maine.edu.


UMF Hosts Student Teacher Professional Day

By Hope Faulkingham Contributing Writer

 The upcoming Student Teacher Professional Day is an opportunity for both student teachers and the community to learn about Civil Rights in the classroom and the effects of Proficiency Based Education on students.

   The event will cover two main topics that are very important to current and future teachers around the state. It will be split into two sessions, the first of which will focus on Civil Rights in the classroom.

   “We are very fortunate to have Brandon Baldwin, from the Office of the Maine Attorney General, working with us. He is the Project Director for the Civil Rights Team Project,” said Hiram Sibey, the main contact personnel for the event, through an email interview.

   The second session, which will be lead by Beth Lambert and Leeann Larsen from the Maine Department of Education, will cover the integration of the Proficiency Based Education into Maine’s classrooms.

   “The fall Professional Day is designed to provide student teachers with a professional development experience that will help them be successful as they start their careers as teachers,” wrote Sibley.

   Kelsey Marco, a former UMF graduate and now Elementary teacher at West Bath Elementary, added some good points about student teaching in an email interview. “I also think student-teaching gives you that hands on, authentic experience. You learn a lot as a teacher, just being in the environment of a classroom,”said Marco.

   “I had to plan math lessons, an expedition (science related, long-term project/unit), and writing units. I think that is the most important thing you learn… is to be a full-time teacher,” Marco said.

   Marco now enjoys having student teachers in her own classroom to give them the experience of planning and implementing their own units, while allowing her to observe her own class.

    These types of events are designed to help the current student teachers, the future

student teachers and community members better understand topics of high

controversy and discussion. “Events like this prepare our student teachers to be leaders

in education,” said Sibley. “Our goal is to prepare teachers to be able to grapple

effectively with the issues facing their students, and to meet the needs of every student

in their classrooms.”

   The event will be held on the 19th of October, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the North Dining Halls.

Changes to Residential Meal Plans

By Tania Bureau Contributing Writer

Two of the residential meal plans students bought this year have a fixed number of meal swipes that they can use in addition to a declining balance points to use for the semester. Meal swipes for the dining hall now end every week and some students feel their money is at risk.    

   “Last year, the residential meal plans offered were block meal plans,” said Kelsey Champagne-Smith, who is part of Student Life, in an email. The weekly meal plans now run from Saturday to Friday each week.

   For the students who have the 10 meals a week or 14 meals a week plan, every time they swipe their cards, either in the South Dining Hall or the Beaver Lodge for meal equivalent, it will take off one of the meals they have for the week.

   “I don’t understand why they are doing it,” said Autumn Young, a junior at UMF. “I have 10 meals a week and if they don’t carry over I don’t use them. No point in me paying for them.”

    “If students run out of meals before Saturday, they are able to use points or pay with cash in the dining hall. On these meal plans, meals do not roll over from one week to the next,” said Champagne-Smith.

   When Young ran out of swipes at the end of the semester she was forced to start using her points. “I’m paying money to have a certain amount of swipes,” said Young, who now feels that the meal plan she has is a “ waste of my money.”

   Abby Sanborn is a sophomore Creative Writing major at UMF. “I never end up using all my meal swipes,” said Sanborn, “maybe I will use eight.”

   “I’m just losing them,” said Sanborn, who also feels that she is wasting her money. When going to the dining hall, Sanborn feels that she has to pay extra attention to how much she swipes her card. “It is a lot of pressure,” said Sanborn.

  In the past there was a trend of students who would run out of meal swipes, some by the middle of the semester, so the meal plan this year was changed to weekly meals instead of yearly.  

   Sanborn thinks the meal plans should allow for unused meals to transfer over to the next week, so students aren’t pressured and don’t feel as though they are wasting money. “I would like it to transfer over so I’m not wasting money,” said Sanborn.

   Young believes that everyone should get the unlimited amount of swipes. The unlimited meal plan, also called the all-access meal plan, allows students to eat whenever they want, at any time in the south dining hall. This plan is also the most expensive meal plan.

   “Meal plans can be changed, with the exception of first-year students, during the first two weeks of the fall and spring semester,” said Champagne-Smith.




Big Red’s Army Crowned New Intramural Volleyball Champions

Big Red’s Army Crowned New Intramural Volleyball Champions

By Jared Smelter Contributing Writer

Big Red’s Army wearing their Championship t-shirts. (L to R, back to front): Leah Waggoner, Kyler Chabe, John Hamilton, Hunter Wiley, Maegan Hewey, Abby Shields, captian Caleb Grover and J.P. Tshamala
(Photo courtesy of UMF Intramurals Facebook)

Big Red’s Army, one of the ten intramural volleyball teams in this year’s intramural volleyball league at UMF, defeated Rolling Thunder in the championship game last week.

   “I think as a team we just had really good chemistry and we all understood our roles,” said Caleb Grover, captain of Big Red’s Army.

   The team went undefeated in the regular season, taking down all the opponents they faced. In week one, they won against Rolling Thunder, who they eventually played in the championship, captained by Matthew Dotson. In the last game of the regular season, they defeated Slobbest Knobbest for the second time.

   But doing well in the regular season was not Big Red’s Army’s goal. They wanted to win it all. After falling short last year, team member Hunter Wiley wanted redemption. So Grover took the essential pieces of his team, including UMF juniors Wiley and Kyle Chabe and tried to assemble a squad that could conquer the league.

   J.P. Tshamala, one of the free agents entering the volleyball season, received an offer from Grover and his comrades to join the team. “I am friends with the people on the team and they asked me to join so I accepted their offer,” Tshamala said.

   Entering the regular season, Big Red’s Army had one goal in mind: getting to the championship and winning. They took the league by storm and qualified for the playoffs.

   “The only two teams that presented us with any adversity were Rolling Thunder and Spiked Seltzer,” Grover said. “[They were] definitely the hardest team we faced, they had a lot of athleticism and height.”

   Other than those obstacles, Big Red’s Army made it to the playoffs pretty easily, according to Grover. The team was very successful because of their best player, Chabe, according to multiple team members including Maeghan Hewey, Hunter Wiley, and Captain Grover.

   “Kyle Chabe was our best player so we played around him,” Grover said. “We consistently were successful with the bump, set, spike giving us a strategic advantage over the other teams.”

   In the first round, they defeated Honey Roasted Hens to move on to the semifinals, where they took down The Potato Spikers.

   They advanced into the finals to play Rolling Thunder, who was one of their toughest opponents during the regular season. When the team scored match point, there was nothing but jubilation on the court.

   “It was great winning, the team that I was on was amazing; everyone was really good, and made me feel welcome,” Tshamala said.

   Grover’s team will be looking to defend their intramural volleyball title next fall when new teams and old ones will be looking to dethrone them.

   If you are looking to join an intramural sports team, contact leah.brackett@maine.edu, or message the UMF Intramural Sports facebook page.