Jocea Jordan Contributing Writer
Practicing 10 hours or more a week, UMF’s Bust-A-Move Beavers (BAM) dance group members are working hard to make their end-of-semester performance a memorable one.
BAM is one of two UMF dance groups and they hold two performances every year. Each performance is held at the end of the semester with three different show times. The dancers choreograph all 25 of the dances on their own, and even have a show reserved specifically for their parents and families.
Carson Hope, a senior early childhood special education major, is the treasurer of BAM and has been in a previous semester as well. Hope is responsible for the finances of the club and makes all of the costume purchases, fundraiser orders, and proposes the budget BAM will need for the year.
Hope has been a member of BAM for five semesters now and has made many close friends throughout her time in the club. “BAM has really brought me all of my closest friends that I have here in Farmington,” she said. “So I just have a great collection of memories of dancing with the people that I get to call my closest friends now.”
“I have danced on and off my entire life, I started dancing when I was five or six but I took several years off because I did gymnastics growing up too, and I got back into dance my freshman year here,” Hope said. “Dancing in BAM has given me a way to express myself, and to be able to have an artistic outlet, so that I can express my myself in a way that words don’t.”
“When I came here my freshman year I did not have a lot to do, but now I have this thing [BAM] that is a priority in my life, and plays an important role,” she continued.
Sierra Huff dressed as Sandy and Portia Hardy dressed as Danny from Grease the movie (Photo courtesy of Sierra Huff)
“We typically fill Emery for all of our shows, sometimes the Wednesday show doesn’t fill up, but for our Friday and Saturday shows we have people getting in line at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to get a seat for the 7:00 p.m. show,” said Hope. “We typically have people that are turned away at the door. If we had a bigger space that would be great, but we don’t.”
Sierra Huff, a sophomore biology pre-med major, has been a part of BAM for three semesters now and is going to be in six dances for this semester’s performance. Huff’s favorite part of being a dance member in BAM is “meeting the new people I wouldn’t have a chance to interact with otherwise.”
“I would say the most challenging part is making sure you dedicate time to practice for each dance,” said Huff. Most of the dances that the members are in only have practice for one hour a week. “A lot of the time just the one hour rehearsal is not enough to memorize the dance if you are in close to 10 of them,” Huff said.
For bigger dances, in which most of the members are involved, there are longer practices held each week. Huff enjoys these practices and said, “It is always interesting when we cannot use the North Dining Hall because it is unavailable, so we have to practice in a Roberts classroom.” She continued on, laughing, “So we have roughly thirty people trying to move and dance together in a tiny room.”
BAM also hosts a costume contest for its members during their practice on Halloween. “It is always interesting to see what costumes the other dancers come up with,” said Huff. “This year I went as a vampire with another member of BAM. Last year I went as Sandy, and my friend Portia went as Danny, which are the main characters from ‘Grease’ the movie.”
“I also enjoy some of the other fun events that we do like Secret Santa, where members give a gift to another member that they randomly picked,” said Huff. “And the end of the semester banquet where we give out our secret santa gifts and everyone brings different food and drinks for us to enjoy together.”
Portia Hardy, a sophomore Earth and Environmental Science major with a minor in editing and publishing, has been a member of BAM for three semesters. She began dancing when she was three and a half years old at the Kennebec Dance Studio. “I really like taking part in the performance and being on stage in front of the audience, getting to be in the show makes me really happy,” she said.
“Last spring semester I choreographed a dance with my friend Matt, it was to ‘A Lovely Night’ from ‘La La Land’ and it was a really cute, fun, sweet duet,” said Hardy. “It was my favorite moment being on stage. The last show that [Matt and I] did we both smiled at each other because it was our last one together… there have been so many good memories.”
“This semester I’m doing the smallest amount of dances that I have done, I’m only in three. Last spring semester I was in six and that was the highest that I have done,” said Hardy. “Some people do like eight dances, ten dances. They really like to dance. I personally can not fit a lot into my schedule but I know that others can.”
The showtimes for BAM’s performances are on Dec. 4-7 at 7 p.m. in the Emery Community Arts Center. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for all of the shows.
Jocea Jordan Contributing Writer
UMF and the Farmington community will be coming together soon for trick-or-treating through the residence halls, as well as a wide variety of additional activities. Children and families are encouraged to join in on the trick or treating event which is hosted by Alpha Phi Omega (APO), dress up and connect with the students and campus community.
APO is a co-ed service fraternity that hosts community service and friendship events catered towards the members of the club and the community. The main goal of the club is to “provide service to the university, community, and nation, as well as foster fellowship and leadership among the brothers and members,” according to the APO page on the University’s website.
Madison Vigeant, a junior psychology major and vice president of APO, has been helping to organize and plan the trick-or-treating event and activities that are going to be taking place. “It’s just really fun to see how much of a community we can get together for this one event,” said Madison, “seeing how many people turn out is really amazing.”
Kaden Pendleton, a junior elementary education major, is a member of APO as well as a mentor community assistant (MCA) for the Scott residence halls. The MCA’s role is to assist other community assistants with any questions or concerns they may have as well as working closely with the Area Coordinator.
“I think it’s a way for people in the community to feel connected to the campus. This event kind of dissolves [campus] from being this big scary place that’s in their town and makes us more a part of their town. I think it’s good for them to feel included in what we do here,” said Pendleton.
“All of the residents that want to participate can open their doors and give out candy to the kids as they’re walking by,” Pendleton said, “or they can just put a bowl outside of their door with candy that says take one.”
Pendleton said he also enjoys seeing all of the professors and staff members from campus come to the event with their children because “you get to see the professors in a different role from when you normally do.”
“It’s not just trick or treating in the halls. In the Ed Center there are all kinds of activities. Families and kids can play games and get a whole bunch of candy and then the kids can walk around the dorms and get even more candy,” Pendleton said.
“APO usually does activities like face painting or musical chairs,” said Vigeant “just fun social activities to help the children to interact and get to know each other.”
Making sure everyone is accommodated is important to APO. Pendleton said, “We really try hard to ensure that everyone is accommodated and can feel included.” he also likes being involved in the MCA role and said “It’s fun to get the dorms ready, we encourage residents to decorate their doors… so that the kids are all excited when they walk through the halls.”
Mariah Langton, a junior early childhood major, who is also a community assistant for the Dakin residence hall, said in an email interview, “I’m excited because I love both Halloween and children, hence why I’m an early childhood major. Seeing the children excited and all dressed up is the best part of Halloween.” Langton also feels at ease knowing that the children “are doing something fun and safe in the community.”
Sydney Goodridge, a sophomore elementary education with a concentration in English major, said, “ I love seeing the kids’ costumes and giving out the candy. “I loved trick or treating when I was younger and enjoy being on the other side of it now in college.” Goodridge also looks forward to “seeing how creative the kids will be with costume designs. Also I can’t wait for leftover candy.”
Trick or treating through the halls will happen on October 27 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and children and their families can meet in the Theodora J. Kalikow Education Center for various activities. For any questions or concerns contact Madison Vigeant via email at Madison.Vigeant@maine.edu.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jocea Jordan, Contributing Writer
After Title IX issues relating to sexual misconduct occurred across the UMF campus last year and were publicized by Bangor Daily News, changes are being made to safety procedures and policies.
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex includes pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as sexual assault and sexual coercion.
Hope Shore, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, commented on safety improvements in an email interview. “For my specific area, we are making sure that information about resources, where to report and information about procedures is more visible on campus. Bystander intervention training is being offered frequently on campus with student leaders such as CAs and Orientation Leaders.”
Hope also said, “We are continuing to have good dialogue with faculty, staff and students to make sure everyone is informed on how to report, who to report to, how our process works and information about resources. We will continue to have programs, trainings and events related to prevention, education and information around the areas of Title IX.”
Katerina Burns (left) and Eila McCulloch (right), co-presidents of LUITE, are major contributors toward recent growth in safety at UMF
The Campus Police department has recently made some changes to their staff, ensuring that there was a Sergeant accessible for at least 12 hours a day, seven days a week. There are now two Sergeants who work for Campus police and they have a rotating schedule, switching off every weekend.
Sergeant Wayne Drake said, “We restructured the department in such a way that we could hire another sergeant, so I am the Assistant Director of Public Safety and then what we did was hire Marc Bowering, who spent twenty years as the detective in Farmington and recently retired.” The Campus Police department is also the only department that is open seven days a week, 365 days a year.
“Having two sergeants has enabled us to have more continuity, a more consistent response. . . the call boxes have been fixed, the security escorts have been doing their training this week. . . it’s going to be fully staffed and we are running Sunday night through Thursday night to cover all of the classes,” said Drake. The escort program provides students with trained escorts to walk them from any place on campus back to their dorms or other buildings to ensure that they get back safely.
Eila McCulloch, a UMF student and co-president of Look Us In The Eyes (LUITE), a student advocacy group which formed last year in the wake of the BDN articles, noted specific changes she hopes to see in the future to improve the safety of students in messages sent to the Flyer.
“Better lighting, as was discussed last semester, would help prevent a lot of incidents and would help students feel safer at night,” McCulloch said. “Last semester a sexual health course and self defense training classes were offered as ideas and the school seemed to be on board. However, the health course never launched and the self defense class was a two-session course on a Friday night which is an incredibly inconvenient time for many people,” said McCulloch.
The sexual health course in question was proposed last spring by students and was designed to focus on sexual consent, wellness, and healthy relationships. According to community health professor Dr. Kelly Bentley, in comments posted on the LUITE Facebook page, “. . .the courses did not fill. So, the committee will reconvene. Stay tuned!” In another comment she also noted, “[The class] was planned as a pilot. New courses always have lots of planning details to figure out. I believe advocacy is important as it will take a while to figure out the kinks.”
Katerina Burns, who is also the co-president of LUITE, said in messages sent to the Flyer, “ I’m really glad that the University is standing by its position and supporting survivors. . .I am glad that UMF continues to listen, support and provide a sense of affirmation.”
Burns believes that support in the UMF community is vital to helping the campus to become a safer place. “My hope is that President Serna and the school will continue to work with SAPARS and LUITE to make our campus as safe as it can be. A big step in doing that would be getting the [sexual health] class reinstated. Our former group president Amy Fortier-Brown had pushed very hard to have a physical health class that would include topics like consent, healthy relationships and safe sex. I think that would be incredibly useful, especially given the recent Title IX controversies at our school,” said Burns.