Looking Behind The Scenes Of Relay For Life

Looking Behind The Scenes Of Relay For Life

Jocea Jordan Contributing Writer

    The Relay For Life Club, associated with the American Cancer Society (ACS), elected a new president, plans to increase membership and plan publicity and fundraising events for the community. Relay for Life hosts two main events throughout the year which are the kick off bash in November and their main event at the end of the year in April.

    Relay for Life is a club on campus which hosts events in hopes of raising money and awareness for ACS. This club also provides support for those who may have, have had, or know someone who has had cancer. The Relay for Life club hosts events throughout the year to help reach the fundraising goals they have created and to bring the community together. 

    Newly elected president of Relay for Life Alyssa Higbie, a senior studying psychology, has previously been involved with the club for three years as a team captain for the Community Residence Council (CRC). This year, Higbie is taking on the role as president of the club which involves booking rooms, doing paperwork, as well as planning and running meetings. 

    Higbie said “checking in with everyone, making sure things are going the way they need to, that everyone has support, and that we are a strong team together,” are all important parts of her role as well.

    This level of involvement as a president is different from what Higbie did as a team captain and she wanted to be able to help out even more by being apart of a different part of the Relay team.“When the role of being the president was an option, I realized that I wanted to be more involved in the actual planning and set up of it, by building the team and getting things together on the Relay side of it,” she said.

Cody Robinson and Alyssa Higbie, Relay Recruit and newly-elected President (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Higbie)

     “I decided to join Relay for Life because my dad is a cancer survivor. When I found out about Relay three years ago, I said that sounds like something that would be really cool to get CRC together for and also to give back to another organization [ACS],” said Higbie.

    She continued, “My dad was diagnosed this past summer with the same type of cancer he had 10 years ago, so to be president this year is a really powerful way for me to be able to tell that story as well. As he put it, he wants to be a two time survivor, and hopefully through my work with Relay. . .could help to impact that as well.”

     Higbie believes that by raising awareness of Relay for Life, helping to organize the event and raising money to host the event and for ACS that she will be able to support not only her father, but also others who have and are currently fighting cancer.    

      Cody Robinson, a junior early childhood education major, is the Relay Recruiter for the club. His role as recruiter consists of “engaging the community to come together, and to also just make a successful event. Reaching out to businesses for sponsorships and connecting to ACS,” he said. 

    Robinson has been apart of the Relay for Life cause since 2012, and he has worked with both the campus as well as the community for Relay for Life. He has had many roles such as a team member, team captain, and committee member and has been a great source of information for the club. 

    Robinson said, “I have had several family members that have been diagnosed with cancer of one form or another and unfortunately none of them have survived the cancer so it’s been a huge impact on my life, so joining Relay was kind of like that support net that I could turn to and find more research and help hopefully end this horrible disease.”

    “We want to have a great event in April, that brings the community as well as the campus together. We would like a bigger turnout than in years past. “We’re looking to grow the support and raise awareness for cancer research and cancer supports that ACS supplies,” said Higbie.

    She said, “As Cody said he found support and connections through relay and having those connections when you have something you’re going through is really important.” 

    “I think as a committee we’re always looking to have a good event and raise a lot of money, that’s kind of why we do what we do. But through that have fun and meet new people and create some memories that are positive in light of something that isn’t always so positive.” Making Relay into an event where people can enjoy themselves and be involved with the Relay community is important to Higbie. 

    Zach Bolduc, a freshman secondary science education major, is a member of the club as well. He said, “When I saw that Relay needs help, and considering that it is for a really good cause I figured I would give it a try. Cancer runs very deeply in my family, so I would like to help and I am a very compassionate person in the first place, so anytime that I can give back, I do.”

    If students would like to reach out and talk about Relay for Life and learn more information about the organization and club as well as how they can help, they can contact umf.relayforlife-group@maine.edu.

New Commons Project Sheds Light on Norridgewock Massacre

Zion Hodgkin Contributing Writer

    English professor Sabine Klein sits in the small chair in the corner of her office, going over the information she’ll be discussing in her upcoming talk at UMF. “It’s about Norridgewock, well, specifically the horrific massacre of Native Americans that happened there. My talk is about the way that we sort of keep the memory of Norridgewock alive and why we do it.” 

    Klein will be giving her talk at the Emery Arts Center, on Oct. 23 at 11:45 a.m. It will be hosted by the New Commons Project, a group dedicated to looking at culture, both of the past and the present. Professor of English Kristen Case, the head of the New Commons Project, will be introducing Klein and discussing some of her accolades. 

    “She is a scholar of early American literature, her area of expertise is pre-colonial literature of the Americas,” Case says, “she really is an expert in this time period and in this region. Even though she’s an English professor here, her work is very historically informed. A lot of uncovering, and re-reading historical texts of all kinds, in order to be aware of more than one narrative about a specific moment in time.” 

    In learning about historical events, locally or on a global scale, it is generally difficult to escape a one-sided view of the events that transpired. It harkens to the age old saying, “History is always written by the winners.” Klein wants to simultaneously explore that concept when thinking about the local tragedy, and expand upon the awareness that students have of the event. 

    “What I realized is that we have this place of a massacre. . .but what’s even more interesting is the way that different communities have used the massacre to talk about the past,” she said.

    “I’m going to talk about some of the monuments and literature that were affiliated with or written about that particular place in the 19th century. But, what’s interesting,” She grins a little to herself before adding “again, is that what happens in the 1820’s and 1830’s is that there’s an attempt to solidify American identity.” 

    “But the way that it’s being done is by basically writing about Indians, but writing about Indians as sort of the people, well” she pauses for a second, collecting her thoughts, “it’s the vanishing Indian trope. So this is the idea where people at the time were like ‘oh my god it’s so sad,’ and so you have this nostalgia of all the bad stuff that happened, but that nostalgia is a way of celebrating the new nation.”

    Klein wants to explore how the memorialization of the massacre “serves Americans of English descent, versus Americans of French descent, versus Native Americans.” Each of the groups’ ancestral lines were directly involved in the massacre, and Klein will analyze how each of these groups of people are subsequently benefitting from the way the event is remembered, or not remembered. 

    Cali Turner, a student and an active member of the New Commons Project, is interested to see what the event has to offer, and wants to learn more about how people are affected by the different ways in which a story is told and remembered. 

    “I’m excited just to be able to further my education on the area I’m in,” Turner says, “I’m from Maine, but I’m not from Farmington, and it seems like especially with the other things we’ve been doing in New Commons, I think it’s important to be learning about the history, like the land and the people, and to be aware of some of the darker parts about it, because I didn’t even know that the Norridgewock Massacre was a thing.” 

    Turner also speculated about how historical events are remembered, and the way details are made available about those events. “I think our generation has gotten a bit better at being able to see all sides of an event,” she says, “I think for a long time people were only really able to learn by what they read from one history book, and now, because of how we were raised and because of our access to the internet, more recent generations have developed their own opinions.” 

    She continued, “We’ve gotten to the point now that most of us understand what’s okay and what isn’t. Or at least to where we can see multiple sides of an event, and know that what one source is saying, isn’t always the entire story.” 

    This semester, the New Commons Project is focusing specifically on Native history and issues in the state of Maine, and Klein’s talk will target an incredibly important and defining moment in Native history, very close to home. 

    Case thinks this event will be a “great opportunity for people who are interested in the history of this region, particularly the Native history of this region, to learn about one of the pivotal moments in that colonial time period. Learning about that history is vitally important in efforts to recognize the presence of the Abenaki in this region, not only then but also today.”

Harassed College Students Sigh With Relief at Front Street Remodels

Harassed College Students Sigh With Relief at Front Street Remodels

Zion Hodgkin Contributing Writer

    Front St. in Farmington, recently remodeled, has had a longstanding reputation of being one of the least pleasant areas in an otherwise quaint college town. Though there are some wonderful businesses that reside there like Wicked Good Candy, Narrow Gauge Cinema, and Thai Smile, a good stretch of the road had been largely ignored for many years. The street lights were dim, and few and far between, the road has been documented to have some of the worst potholes in the state of Maine, and the Front Street Tavern, tucked away in the basement of a building, attributed to a sense of unease for many college students. 

    Moreover, one of the largest parking lots for students at UMF was located just past the tavern, down a small road whose entrance was almost completely pitch black at night. For students to access their vehicles, they had to walk directly past the entrance to the tavern on a dark street. Many felt unsafe, and most avoided any reason to access their vehicles at night. 

    Over the summer the area was remodeled and improvements include better sidewalks, more street lights and a repaved roadway.

    One student, Leelannee Farrington, age 20 at the time, recalls why she decided she would never walk that street at night again. “I knew that pub was a bit seedy, so I always hurried past it.” She said “occasionally I would get whistled or hollered at, but because it was so dark I assumed it was just drunk guys being excited about anything that moved, I didn’t usually feel specifically targeted.” 

    The look on her face shifted a bit. “Then one night, there was a group of guys and one girl, standing at the end of the pub’s driveway under the light from like the only god damn street lamp on that whole road. They were smoking cigarettes and laughing about something as I walked towards their direction.” 

Front Street, the new lights brightening up the newly-renovated street (Photo courtesy of Darby Murnane)

    She paused before continuing a side note, “Actually I felt more at ease that time than I had some of the other times I’d walked past before, just because there was a whole group and a girl.” She said, “I always felt the most uncomfortable when it was just one or two guys catcalling at me, that’s when my anxiety about what could happen to me really started.”

    Leelannee’s experience however, proved that even in groups there are people who will discard their inhibitions and attempt to harass individuals passing by. “One guy immediately noticed me,” she said, “and as I walked past the group he broke away from his friends and began following me, he was trying to flirt with me, and his words were all slurred and he stumbled a bit. I immediately felt panic as I was nearing an area of the road where the light didn’t reach.”

    “I told him to fuck off,” she said, “and nothing bad came of it, but I wasn’t about to take that risk again.” 

    Richard Davis, the Farmington town manager of eighteen years, who was largely in charge of the planning process for the Front St. remodels, along with the Farmington Public Works Director, said he had “not heard about the harassment, but I can see where that might happen (unfortunately),” in an email interview. He also speculated that “the [Front Street] Tavern shutting down was an economic decision by the owners.” Regardless of the reasoning however, he believes that the closing of the Tavern as well as “the improvements [to the road] will help make people feel safer in that area of town, and while accessing their vehicles.

UMF Baseball Hits It Out of The Park

UMF Baseball Hits It Out of The Park

Riley Bartell Contributing Writer

    During the recent alumni baseball game at Hippach Field, UMF’s Derek Bowen capped off an afternoon of competitive camaraderie when he drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bowen, who came to the plate with the bases loaded, hit a sacrifice fly to break a 6-6 tie in a tightly contested game, giving UMF the 7-6 victory over the alumni squad.

    The alumni game’s atmosphere differs from regular season games, according to Christopher Bessey, UMF’s baseball coach, who enjoys the banter between his current squad and alumni players.  

The UMF alumni game is a great opportunity for current baseball players to interact with Farmington’s past (Photo Courtesy of UMF Athletics)

    “Both teams still play hard, but there’s a lot of laughter and a bit of joking around,” said Bessey, “It’s a great experience for both sides, and their competitiveness really comes out.” 

    “Current players get to see past players,” he added, “They want to compete when they get to be alumni. Then when they get to be alumni, they want to come back and compete.”

     Since baseball is a spring sport, the alumni game is one of the highlights of the team’s short fall season. “Obviously the fall is evaluation time for us,” said Bessey. “It gets our guys into a competitive environment. You can see how they compete. The alumni, for the most part, are still in pretty good athletic shape so they can be good competition against us.”

    Playing in his fourth alumni game, Gavin Arsenault, senior, always looks forward to that weekend. “It’s good to see all the previous players,” said Arsenault. “Even the players I didn’t play with, it’s nice to interact with them and see how their lives are going.”

    The game generally draws a sizable crowd. “A lot of people show up, and it’s good for the first year players. It gets them some experience in game situations,” said Arsenault. 

     The alumni game is held on Family and Friends’ Weekend at UMF, so it always draws a good crowd. The alums were asked for donations for Captain Bell and the firefighters who were involved in the LEAP explosion as well as others who are homeless because of the explosion. 

    “The athletic department, including baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, and rugby teams, decided as a staff that we were going to accept donations,” said Bessey. “Four different organizations are raising money, not only for the firefighters, but also for those who are homeless because of the explosion.” In all, the athletic department raised over $900 that day.

     After a close contest, the UMF baseball team ended up beating the alums in the bottom of the 9th, due to a walkoff hit.


Shakespeare as Sci-Fic: New Honors Course on Proto-Science Fiction

Shakespeare as Sci-Fic: New Honors Course on Proto-Science Fiction

Faith Diaz Contributing Writer

    Professor of English Misty Krueger will be offering a new English Honors course, HON 377: Proto-Science Fiction, this upcoming Spring 2020 semester. The course is an examination of British and American literary texts prior to the 20th-century and more importantly, before the label of science fiction was placed on these texts.

    Students may be attracted to this course because, “you get to do things you wouldn’t do in another class, that’s one thing. Texts come together that don’t normally come together,” Krueger said.  “Like you don’t normally read Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, alongside Margaret Cavendish’s  “Blazing World” or Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travel”s or “The Strange Adventures of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. . .that’s interesting because they are across centuries.” 

    Krueger continued, “The other thing is that you get to read something that maybe you actually have read but from a new point of view or a new genre to you. So there will be students that have said, ‘Yeah, I’ve read Shakespeare.’ And I ask, ‘Well, have you read Shakespeare as sci-fi?’”

    Krueger describes the way we differentiate each piece of literature into categories and how those categories are not as set as scholars thought. “If we take canonical text that we say is highbrow ‘literature’ and we put the lenses of scifi to it, then I think sci-fi is also raised up. . . because of the way we are thinking about the class,” she said. “So it raises that stuff up but it also brings the high stuff, like Shakespeare, down. Because it’s like Shakespeare, he’s not up there anymore, he’s just down here with everyone else.”

    Kruegers’ aim is to teach students how these genres that we thought were so distinctly different, as scholars, actually have an immense overlap. Having taught this course once before, in the Spring of 2017, as a request to bring in a new Honors course and after approval by the Honors Director, then Eric Brown, Krueger is excited and prepared. 

Misty Krueger (Photo Courtesy of Misty Krueger)

    The emphasis on the blending of genres is carried out throughout the course to what will be, the students final project.  “The final examine is not a paper, it’s not a project, it’s a game. So that’s what we did. So we spent a month creating a game and everyone in the class worked on it. Its an entire class project,” said Krueger.

    Each piece of the project was individually created and produced by a student, each working on a separate entity of the game to bring it all together in a playable fashion. “Some people wrote the narrative, some people designed the pieces we played with, some people did the art for the project, some people created the booklet that would come in the game,” said Krueger, “It was like a D&D game.”

    With this game as a final project, “The most important part is that we get to create our own world, with the game, and each of these texts are creating their own worlds, which is a basic tenant of sci-fi,” said Krueger. This project allows for students to replicate the creative mental process that is happening on paper into a tangible and playable object.

    “What’s important is that they learn how to work together, students, in that they can create a game out of our course materials and they have fun. We will play the game and announce the dates and times to the university,” Krueger said.

    This course is now available in time for pre-registration on My Campus.