There’s a new club on campus making history with its formation. The Black Student Union (BSU) aims to create space for Black students- something that UMF hasn’t had before.
The BSU was founded by Junior Aman Hagos, who led three different BLM protests in Farmington last year. Hagos saw the need for a space for minority students to feel safe and seen.
This year’s freshman class is more diverse than ever before, and several Black students have confirmed Hagos’ feelings of a lack of space for Black students. Two freshmen on campus are excited to be a part of the change: Suki Fuzzell and Klaus Jacobs, originally from New York and Maryland respectively, came to UMF for the outdoors and a change of scenery from the city life. However, it hasn’t been a smooth transition.
Fuzzell recalls her time on campus as a minority as just okay. “I’ve had a couple of microaggressions here and there, but there’s nothing to do about it so you just keep going,” Fuzzell said. “However, I did drop my history class because it was kind of weird to be the only Black person in there and have them talk about slavery while being stared at so I dropped it for my own comfort.”
Jacobs shared a similar stance with their experience. “It’s been okay. Because I’m not as outgoing as other people it’s hard to make friends,” Jacobs said. “With white people sometimes they’re really close-knit – and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s hard to insert yourself into a close group. There have been people though who are understanding and can see that it’s hard being a Black woman on campus. It was a shaky start but overall good.”
Among other minority students on campus, the biggest issue Jacobs and Fuzzell have noticed at UMF is the lack of thoroughness and assertiveness towards racist events that take place. When asked if they believed UMF was inclusive, there was hesitation.
“I don’t think Farmington isn’t not inclusive but I think they could be a lot more inclusive,” said Fuzzell. “A lot of the issues that have happened with minority students have been brushed under the rug but if it’s a white student, it’s out in an email and everyone knows about it. It’s hard to not notice those types of things when there have been serious issues that aren’t being talked about.”
Jacobs and Fuzzell both agreed that Black students have a right to know what’s happening on campus, especially in regards to race.
“When you’re literally outnumbered by everyone on campus, your safety – it should be a top priority and sometimes it isn’t so you never really know what’s going on because you can’t prepare yourself for what’s going on if you don’t know,” Fuzzell said.
Despite the shaky start of the semester, Fuzzell and Jacobs both hope to see a difference by the time they are seniors, starting with the BSU.
“Honestly, I just want there to be more diversity by the time I’m a senior. I hope to see more cultural clubs that teach and celebrate different cultures – not just for us but for other students to learn about things that they might not really know because they aren’t taught about it here,” Fuzzell said.
Fuzzell also hopes to see more friends come out of the club. “When I came here, I was a little intimidated to go up to other Black students because they have been here longer than I have but having a club like this will open up that door and make it easier to find friends on campus that are other Black people instead of kind of feeling singled out,” she said.
Jacobs hopes for the same type of experience from a BSU on campus. “With a Black Student Union, it would be like having a little community – sometimes I need something for my hair or a product and I can’t ask my roommate or most of my friends so it’s little stuff like that, that matters.”
The Senate voted Monday, Nov. 1st, 2021 to make the BSU an official club on campus.
By Paige Lusczyk, contributing writer
The Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC) celebrated its 20th anniversary on Oct. 29th in the Landing. UMF’s President Serna spoke at the event.
President Serna congratulated the SCC for creating an impact at UMF. “…Walk around this campus-especially as a tour… as outsiders-and you really start to feel the impact you have had on the physical campus,” Serna said.
President Serna continued to list off the accomplishments of the SCC including the biomass plant, the community garden, the Thrifty Beaver, and the wells. The wells were installed in 2012 as ground source heating. The Biomass plant was completed in 2016 and will replace about 390,000 gallons of heating oil previously used annually. The Thrifty Beaver was also established in 2016, an active place for those who need help with food insecurity. The community garden was established last year to also raise awareness of food insecurity on campus while supplying organic produce to the community.
The SCC was founded in 2001 with an original focus on the Education Center and its Green design. Today, “the mission of the SCC has expanded to include public education, collaborations with the community, environmental planning associated with greenhouse gas emissions, improvement of recycling on campus, encouragement of local food, institutional composting, and sustainable transportation.”
“It’s not just how [the SCC] shaped the physical campus, I think it is also how [the SCC] shaped our values and culture here on campus,” President Serna said.
UMF’s Campus Sustainability Coordinator, Mark Pires, thanked all alumni and current students involved with the SCC over the past 20 years, then everyone else that were heavily involved in the project. “SCC projects and activities are driven by the interests and passions of UMF students who work in collaboration with a team of dedicated faculty, staff, and community members,” Pires said.
The SCC meets on Mondays from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 113 in the Education Center. Please contact Pires at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
By Adrienne Foss, Contributing Writer
Assistant Professor of Music Composition Aaron Wyanski recently joined UMF during the 2020 school year and has since been making extensive contributions to the music department.
“On one of my first days, I was asked what kind of classes that I wanted to teach during the semester,” Wyanski said. “All of the classes that I pitched ended up actually happening, which is new for me and I find very exciting.” He currently teaches three classes a semester, along with the piano lessons he provides to a select number of students.
“I like how interdisciplinary the arts division is here and how easy it is to interact with people all around campus,” Wyanski said. “Sometimes music can be really siloed, which is definitely not the case here.”
Wyanski has been teaching instrumental lessons for almost 20 years and has been teaching composition for five. He has had previous teaching experiences at The Hartt School, which is connected to the University of Hartford, along with Sweet Briar College located in Virginia.
“One of my missions in education is to make sure that no one should feel bad for not knowing something,” Wyanski said. “Very often in music, people feel intimidated to try something new in fear that they might make a mistake.”
Wyanski started to gain an interest in music when he was an early teenager, and he started out by playing the guitar. At the time he was more of a visual arts person, but he soon began to realize he wanted to pursue a career in music. At the age of 18, Wyanski became an early admission student at a local New York community college where he began to learn how to play the piano.
Between getting his undergraduate and his master’s degree, Wyanski took a lot of time off and focused on working as a musician. After going to graduate school for music composition, he eventually realized that he wanted to pursue a career as a music educator.
“I’m consistently impressed with the students here, which is a big part of my inspiration when it comes to teaching,” Wyanski said. “For me, teaching has always been so much more about teaching people rather than only teaching a subject.”
“Part of what I’m here [UMF] to do is to make new things happen,” Wyanski said. “It’s a challenge in its own way, but I get to figure out what makes sense for the music program here.”
By Ashley Ward, Secretary and Assistant Editor
FARMINGTON 一 Table Gaming Club (TGC) is preparing to host their biannual Game Fest on Nov. 12, starting at 7p.m. and ending at 7a.m. the next day. Open to UMF students, TGC invites everyone to come by the South Dining Hall and enjoy games, food, and raffle prizes.
A club established in the 70s, TGC holds their meetings every Wednesday in Roberts 028 at 6:30pm. With an average attendance of 15-30 people per meeting, Table Gaming Club is riding the involvement high that several tabletop gaming communities have seen during the past 18 months.
“We think that part of it has something to do with the fact that tabletop games are very easy to translate into an online format. So, it’s not really just a phenomenon that our club has seen, it is tabletop gaming communities as a whole that have seen immense growth over the pandemic,” President of the Table Gaming Club Quinlan Boyle said.
Barring the last three semesters, TGC has hosted the Game Fest twice a year, once in the fall semester and once in the spring. Game Fest is a 12 hour-long table gaming marathon that runs from 7p.m.-7a.m. the following morning. UMF students are encouraged to stop by to play a wide variety of board games, participate in raffles, and have fun.
“We set them [board games] up so people can bop around playing whatever game they want with other people that have shown up. We have a raffle that goes on during Game Fest with prizes that we think people might enjoy. We usually bring out the Nintendo Switch and set up Smash Bros or Mario Kart for people to play together. It’s really just a bunch of the games that we have and take out of storage so that everyone can play them,” Boyle said.
Boyle said that Game Fest is always held on a Friday evening into a Saturday morning, so that waking up for classes the next day isn’t an issue.
Game Fest is TGC’s largest event, usually turning out an attendance number between 75 and 100 students. Another large event led by the TGC, Humans versus Zombies, hasn’t come close to the involvement that Game Fest pulls, not even with the record-high number of 57 participants this semester.
If you are unable to attend the Nov. 12 Game Fest, keep an eye out for the one next semester in Spring 2022. For more information about the TGC or Game Fest, contact club President Quinlan Boyle.
By Michael Levesque, Contributing Writer
Recent construction on High Street addresses an important area of campus but some students feel a little unsure about how to navigate the project.
At the end of October, construction began on a section of High Street from Perham Street to South Street. This area of road runs directly through the center of campus at UMF. For some students, the construction has created a bit of surprises as they make the trip to their classes. Paige Lusczyk, a student at UMF notes some confusion about where students were permitted to walk. “I wasn’t sure if I’d get in trouble with crossing the road while they were working and was late to class by walking around the blocked off road,” she said in an email. “I don’t really hear much of the construction, even with my windows always open,” she said. Although Lusczyk doesn’t note the sound as contributing to the construction drawbacks, other students have. Zack Laflamme, a junior at UMF, says that Francis Allen Black Hall has been affected less by noise from construction but has heard about complaints from the noise through social media. “I live in FAB, so I don’t hear it much but I’ve seen my friends say on their Snapchat stories how loud or distracting the noise is,” Laflamme said. Most students note that noise hasn’t been a terrible issue and that they will get used to the new scene on campus. “I haven’t found the construction all that frustrating,” said Lusczyk.
High Street’s location to UMF means careful planning must be implemented for the members of the community. Philip Hutchins, the public works department head for Farmington, has noted the goals and plans of this project. “The High Street project will last until 2022,” he said in an email. “This is split up in two phases. The roadway pave portion will be completed this fall; which will soon be open to traffic again,” said Hutchins. “[In] the spring of 2022, we will commence on the outside of roadway construction.” Many assets are expected to be added to the area around UMF in the spring. “An addition of over 30 new street lamps, new sidewalks, curbing and more parking accessibility, such as bus turn-outs for campus activities [will be added],” said Hutchins.
Hutchins understands the possible confusion and magnitude of the project. “I ask for everyone’s patience until the project is completed,” he said. As part of a “full depth reconstruction” project listed on the public works department website, the expected cost of this project is $300,000.“This project is funded by local municipal government and by the Maine Department of Transportation,” Hutchins added. As many people look forward to a potentially more quiet section of road, others look towards the improvements in the future. “This project will give the area a whole new welcoming and warming look”