By Madison Archer, Contributing Writer
Twilight Smart-Benson, one of the Thrifty Beaver’s student workers. (Photo courtesy of Sam Shirley)
In the basement of the Fusion Center there is a room filled with donated supplies. Clothes, food, kitchen supplies, school supplies, textbooks and personal hygiene items. The Thrifty Beaver (TB) is a student-run food pantry and clothing exchange, aimed at helping UMF students “not fall through the cracks” said Mark Pires, Interim Sustainability Coordinator.
The Thrifty Beaver (TB) has made some compromises in how it is run to ensure safety is possible for students. Reduced hours and limited stock have proven to be struggles for the Thrifty Beaver.
Although new to campus, Pires has been hard at work along with its dedicated student workers trying to help the “Thrifty” get ready for students to utilize during the pandemic. Pires and the student workers have had to put away some items, like kitchenware, due to concerns of touching and passing items around. They also shut down the fitting room where students could try on the clothes that have been donated.
There is only one person allowed in TB at once and there is space in the hallway for students to wait as well. Things like prearranged hygiene bags are ready for TB customers to grab and go.
TB relies on donations from the UMF community and the Farmington community. “Typically our funds are given from the school. So we will have a once a month, big shopping trip that is school funded. That allows us to supply food to all kinds of students,” said Chelsea Roy, a sophomore environmental science and anthropology major. Roy is also involved with Sustainability Campus Coalition (SCC) which is the group that manages Thrifty Beaver.
In the past, donations have come in from current students, alumni, professors, The United Way and The University Credit Union. Alumni acknowledge the significance of the Thrifty Beaver. “Alums come in still,” said Roy. “I ran into an alum my last shift! She recognized that the Thrifty was a really vital resource and she came back to donate food.”
There are about a half dozen students employed by TB in addition to volunteering students. Pires had nothing but praise to give to the students who have been keeping the TB open. “As I become more familiar with the members of the SCC, I think that their devotion and commitment to keeping the Thrifty Beaver up and running even during COVID times is really impressive,” said Pires.
Both Pires and Roy agree that the TB is important to the campus and its students. “You know many students are on very tight budgets,” said Pires. “Here and at other campuses they might not have the resources for a full meal plan every semester. I think organizations like the SCC and TB fill an important role and need.”
Some upcoming projects that the TB is working towards includes making a commercial to feature well-known figures on campus. The other project is revamping their website to include an updated catalog of their inventory.
The Thrifty Beaver is located in the basement of the Fusion Center. They’re open Thursdays and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
By Ashley Clark, Contributing Writer
Jade Petrie reaching to pick some apples (Photo courtesy of Jared Smelter)
Wondering what fall activities there are to do around campus? Look no further, because students of the University of Maine at Farmington have some fun activities to get involved in!
With the University taking serious precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, many activities and events the school used to hold seem to have been cancelled. These activities include the Halloween dance, trick or treating in the dorms, and the haunted hall walk; however, students around campus have still been getting in the Fall spirit and looking for other fun Fall activities to get involved in.
UMF Junior and Art History Major, Jack Olson, participated in an all time favorite and classic fall pastime, “My friends and I decided to still go apple-picking this year,” he said, “Since the orchard is outdoors, we were able to still feel safe and have fun.” Olson and his friends ventured to Boothby’s Orchard and Farm to getin the fall spirit.
UMF Junior and Elementary Education Major, Jade Petrie, also attended the apple-picking trip and had a ginormous bag of apples to bring home, “Since we picked so many apples, we decided to make an apple pie,” she said, “However, we picked so many apples that we had enough to make several pies.”
For students of drinking age, a new restaurant/bar opened during summer break while most campus residents were gone. Because of this, many still do not know of it or where it is. The Farmhouse Beer Garden is located at 926 Farmington Falls Rd, Rte 2, Farmington, ME. Their hours of operation are Tuesday-Sunday 12pm-8pm and Monday 4pm-8pm.
UMF senior and Elementary Education Major, Leanna Farr, has visited the Beer Garden several times, “The outdoorsy atmosphere with various beers on tap keeps me coming back,” she said, “There are also lawn games you can play with your friends, such as cornhole—and the pizza is delicious.” With plenty of beers on tap, it is the perfect place to order a flight of beer, relax, and hangout with friends in this nice fall weather. If you are under the age of 21, you can still visit The Farmhouse Beer Garden as they have alternative drinks to offer such as sodas and milkshakes.
A popular fall activity students participate in is decorating their dorm room or apartments for the upcoming holiday. Halloween is nearing and many people love to decorate for it.
UMF sophomore and Elementary Education Major, Marissa Goodwin, has already started decorating her apartment. Fall is her favorite season, “I decorate for the fall season first and then decorate for Halloween as it gets closer,” she said, “I have decorative pillows matching fall colors on my couch. As well as, pumpkins, leaves, and turkey decor scattered around the apartment.”
With the weather getting cooler and the leaves starting to fall, the campus has been humming with fall spirit. Hopefully these fall festive activity suggestions will help those wanting a way to share this spirit.
by Emily Cheney, Contributing Writer
Martin Woods Farm proudly offers a variety of different activities ranging from trail rides, ducks freely wandering, and a bunny motel. The atmosphere is never less than welcoming and energetic.
This year the farm’s vegetable harvests from the summer and fall will last throughout the year, “I make pickled beets, bread and butter pickles, and piccalilli,” said Sarah Martin, one of the farm’s owners. “We also press apples for cider and harvest sap for maple syrup—those are for sure season-dependent.”
Martin and her husband, Bud Martin, are both professors at UMF. Martin stated that running the farm was a dream of her husband’s, which she adopted as well. “I am energetic and healthy, so the lifestyle fits me,” said Sarah.
Martin Woods Farm has been creating connections with UMF students. Lillian Hunt, a community health major, has spent countless hours working and volunteering for the farm as a beekeeper and helping wherever help is needed. Her connection with the owners makes her feel like she is a part of the family. “It’s a very welcoming and happy place. I always feel welcomed and enjoyed when I’m there,” said Hunt.
The work opportunities that Hunt has experienced at the farm have helped her to figure out her potential future career. “Martin Woods has been a huge part of my life this year,” Hunt said. “I have discovered what I want to do with my life, and I have a safe and happy place I know I can go to when life is stressful or not.”
Hunt has also been able to make connections with the animals, as well. “I have a duck named Patrick who is such a sweetie!” said Hunt. “I really enjoy riding Emma (one of the horses) and the whole herd. The cows are super sweet as well.”
As Martin Woods continues to evolve, Martin sees more growth for the farm in the future. “Word is spreading and everyone who visits loves it,” Martin said. “As for me and the farmer’s markets, I have done them for three years and this was my best year as I learned what sells and how to present and package foods to sell them.”
Martin Woods Farm is located in Starks, ME. “Given that we are in Maine, and rural Maine, most of the people I interact with to sell farm food products are older adults, but as for horse lessons and rides, ALL ages, one through 91 so far!” she said. As business thrives, the Martin family is excited to see how the farm will prosper and to pass down the farm for generations to come.
by Faith Rouillard, Contributing Writer
The New UMF Community Garden (Photo courtesy of UMF Community Garden’s Facebook page)
Yellow, pink, red, and purple… the colors of the UMF campus garden have begun to emerge. In the Fall of 2019, a construction crew made their way onto the UMF campus. Questions filled the air, “Why are they taking down the creative writing house?” and, “What will take its place?” The old, disheveled building was leveled and grass was planted in its absence. Luckily, this space didn’t remain empty for long.
Students on campus have spent many hours in the garden making it what it is today. Some classes have been planting flowers. Jessie Minior’s ‘Field Methods’ class has been studying the microclimate of the garden; whereas other courses such as, ‘Dig It: Gardening for a Change,’ goes to the garden once a week for experiential learning. Gretchen Legler, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, applied for the grant that funds the garden.“Students are learning about things they’ve never learned before,” said Legler. “It has provided an experiential way for students to learn about sustainability. It has been really wonderful.”
In summer 2020, work initiative students, Sara Taylor and James Cooke, spent their time building the garden beds, filling them with soil, planting, and harvesting once a week. They filled the beds with parsley, sage, onions, lettuce, arugula, beets, radishes, tomatoes, squash and more.
The garden operates with many important goals: “Producing food for the community, providing classroom space, providing an aesthetically pleasing space on campus, providing flowers and herbs as a home for pollinators, and overall excitement for the community,” said Legler. “A big success has been a bridge between the campus and the community. One way to gauge its success is it’s providing a space for happiness, hope, and delight in a time that is incredibly hard on people.”
At the end of the growing season, the campus garden will have made eight donations of food to the Farmington community. The garden has donated over 100 pounds of food to St. Joseph’s Church, Old South Church, Wilton Food Bank, Fairbanks Food Pantry, and the UMF community. “It has been a terrific and unexpected success,” said Legler.
“My impression is that students are very excited about the garden,” said Legler. ‘Dig It’ student, Sava Nappi, said, “Every school I have been to has had a garden. This is something I assumed would already be here, so I have really enjoyed it.” The students aren’t the only ones who enjoy the garden though. “I am nearing the end of my teaching career, and this garden breeds new life into my job, so it is very meaningful to me,” said Legler.
The garden provides a welcoming space for all. It includes an accessible elevated garden bed for individuals who may not be able to bend over or those who may be in a wheelchair. There will be an open house for the garden on Tuesday, October 27th from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for UMF community members.
by Ciera Miller, Staff Writer
Audience members watching Spilecki Spaloosa behind Merrill Hall. (Photo courtesy of Ciera Miller)
On Oct. 10, the National Theatre Honors Society (NTHS) and Alpha Psi Omega (APO) at UMF hosted their first Spilecki Spaloosa in the Emery Courtyard behind Merrill Hall.
APO consists of students who were specially chosen due to their avid participation in theatre on campus. They live and breathe in the theatre world, and they plan events to share that love with others.
Matty Bernard, president of APO, said, “The Spilecki Spaloosa was written in part by former UMF APO members many years ago, but was never performed until now.” Although the idea had been kicking around for so long, the current APO members still needed a little push to make it into an actual event. “The Spaloosa is named after Stan Spilecki, the technical director at UMF, because of his involvement and encouragement towards APO to do this. He had done a similar event in the past where it was treated like a competition,” Bernard said.
This year’s Spilecki Spaloosa wasn’t a competition, but it was simple in practice; any interested UMF student could participate, and they chose whether they wanted to act or to watch. If students wanted to act, their name went into a pink pumpkin head. From this pumpkin head, Bernard chose random names for a random 10 minute scene that one of the APO members was going to direct. Both the director and actors had never seen the script before, making the challenge even harder.
“You don’t know what you’re doing,” said Sam Wood, one of the APO members, who was directing the scene. “You just skip the scenes you don’t like―or you try to.” Although she didn’t like some of the content she was staging, Wood wasn’t completely upset with the directing process. “It was fun! You get to work with people you don’t usually get to work with,” she said. Eli Mowry, APO member and president of Student Theatre UMF (STUMF), voiced similar sentiments.
The impromptu actors were excited about the performances. They were given ten minutes to rehearse their scenes before going in front of a live audience. Emalyn Remington, secretary of STUMF, called it a magical and fulfilling experience. “It was hard trying not to laugh,” Remington said, in response to her fellow actor making chimpanzee noises in the middle of their scene. Another actor, Paul Riddell, put it more simply: “In a word―fun.” Riddell also discussed having this event in the COVID-19 era. “The two main challenging things during COVID-19 are projecting [your voice] through the mask and keeping six feet apart,” Riddell said.
Both APO and STUMF have been trying to keep up with COVID-19 regulations while still having theatre events on campus. They’re trying their best to enforce the six feet apart rule, having everyone wear their masks, and being safe while performing. “Theatre has been very difficult in the current climate, so it’s just good for us to be here,” Mowry said. “I’m glad that people are here at STUMF meetings, at APO events, doing the Spaloosa.”
While being socially distanced can make things harder, the Spilecki Spaloosa was fun for everyone involved―directors, actors, and audience members. Elly Bernard, part of the audience, said she thought it was very creative and very entertaining. The scenes were performed wonderfully despite their short rehearsal time, laughs echoed throughout the night, and everyone left with smiles on their faces. They all agreed that it had been an enjoyable night. “And that’s what theatre’s about,” Mowry said. “Having fun.”
“I think that the event could be done in the future,” Matty Bernard said about more spaloosas. “We can normally open the event up to the entire UMF community, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, we were not able to do so [this time].”
So if you missed the Spilecki Spaloosa this time around, keep your eyes peeled for future spaloosas and theatre events hosted by APO. If you want to join a theatre club, Student Theatre UMF (STUMF) meets every Friday at 5:10 PM in the Emery Courtyard behind the Merrill Center and invites anyone interested in theatre to join.