The Hunt for Off-Campus Housing

Kaitlynn Tarbox Contributing Writer

    As students progress through their degree, many opt to move off campus to experience life on their own. But the big question is: where is the best place to live off campus?  

    There are two main housing companies around the Farmington area, one being Riverbend Properties and the other being Foothills Management. Riverbend owns 78 properties around the Farmington area, 71 of those being apartments, as well as five houses and two commercial spaces. They offer wifi, sewer, heat, hot water, water, and trash removal at most of their units. Each building also has coin-operated laundry on site and the only thing not included in rent is electricity. Their highest rent is $1700, but their lowest is $365 which is one furnished room.

    Foothills Management is the other major company that rents to students. They have 128 apartments in the Farmington area. Included in their rent is electric, heating, WiFi, and parking/snow removal, and garbage. 

     Sharon Buker, sophomore elementary education major, currently rents from Riverbend her first off-campus apartment. She said, “It’s nice to have my own space. I can have friends over whenever I want and it’s a lot quieter than living in the dorms. Being able to have my cat is a huge bonus for me!”  

    The application process, Buker said is  “really simple, I filled it out online with basic income information, what I was looking for number-of-bedrooms-wise, and whether or not I had pets. I received an email just a couple days later about going to look at an apartment.” 

    Jon Ferguson, a senior biology major, also rents from Riverbend Property Management. For Ferguson, the main perk of renting an apartment is having a kitchen all to himself. “I enjoy having my own place where I can cook my own food. I also enjoy where my apartment is located. I’m next to Stone and Dakin so I can still enjoy on-campus events.” Being close to campus can be beneficial to some students as they might not have a vehicle, so getting to classes is easier the closer you are to campus.

    In the spring semester, UMF usually hosts a number of companies and landlords who table in the Student Center to tell students about off-campus housing options. “The application process was rather easy. I went in during the day that the campus puts on for off campus housing,”  Ferguson said. “I got a tour of a couple of places and had signed the lease for my apartment by the end of it all.” 

    Charlotte Allard, a junior Outdoor Recreation Business Administration major, rents from Riverbend as well.  She went through the same application process that Ferguson did, which was at the off-campus housing fair. 

     For some students such as Allard, on-campus living is not for them. Allard said, “ I didn’t really enjoy living in the dorms. I always felt kind of crammed in a room. I don’t feel crammed in a room with my apartment.” 

    The ability to have pets is a bonus for many students such as Buker and Allard. Allard said “I also enjoy the feeling of being independent, having my own  place, and being able to live with my two cats.”  

    Buker said, “The owner of the apartment does a lot of the maintenance himself. There is a form on their website to put in a service request and the one time I needed to use it, he was here within half an hour to fix it.” 

    Faith Diaz, a senior creative writing major, has lived in three apartments owned by Foothills Management. She said, “I like the ability to come and go as I please without having to check in with a [CA]. I enjoy having my puppy, who is my ESA (Emotional Support Animal), but he has more room to live than if we were in the dorms. And I work so it’s nice to have my own space without interruption.” Foothills has a 25 pound limit on pets in their buildings. 

    The only issue Diaz has had is “the parking becomes an issue because we are so close to campus they confuse it for campus parking.”  There are a few staff that work for maintenance on the buildings and Diaz said, “They are constantly working on all of the buildings and they are the real MVPs. But they are understaffed and the buildings are old and need more help being up kept.”

“Psycho Beach Party”:  The Expressions of Camp and Comedy

“Psycho Beach Party”: The Expressions of Camp and Comedy

Kaitlynn Tarbox Contributing Writer

  “Psycho Beach Party,” performed recently by members of the UMF Theater Program, showed audience members themes of mental health awareness, LGBTQ+ relationships, and camp in the 1960s. 

    Melissa Thompson, assistant professor of visual and performing arts, directed this semester’s production. Thompson describes camp as “explicitly grounded in subcultural queer ways of communcating and creating, humor and critiguing pop culture and politics through a little bit of coded lanquage because this was written in 1986 and set in the 1960s.”

Chicklet and Mrs. Forrest
(Photo courtesy of Stan Spilecki)

    Thompson chose this production because “when you’re planning out a theatrical season in the educational theater, you want to make sure that you give the students that are here at UMF a variety of genres to try out.” 

    This show talked about not only mental health awareness but the LGBTQ+ community as well. It illustrated the evolution and coming out story of two characters and the main protagonist struggled to understand her Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). DID was previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder, which is classified as two or more personalities that are shown through actions and behaviors. 

    The cast and crew put in roughly 20 hours a week rehearsing and did so for a total of five weeks as well as one week of tech. The casting process was “gender free,” Thompson said. 

    The main character Chicklet was originally played by a male in drag, as well as the character of Marvel Ann. However the only character who was played by a cast member in drag was Mrs. Forrest, Chicklet’s mother, who was played by Joseph Campbell, sophomore secondary education major. 

    While learning his lines were time consuming, Campbell said, “The bulk of prep work every day was sitting down as the makeup people spent about an hour and a half doing my makeup, and then getting into costume, which took about another half hour generally speaking.” 

    People auditioned for a variety of reasons. Campbell said he auditioned because, “I love comedies, especially campy/weird ones like Psycho Beach Party. I knew that they had drag roles in the show and that seemed like a super exciting thing to try as well.”

    Audrey Bradbury, sophomore theater major, played Marvel Ann. “I auditioned for the show primarily because acting is my favorite thing to do on Earth, but also because the play intrigued me,” she said. 

    Putting the show together took a great deal of hard work according to Thompson, Campbell and Bradbury. What Thompson did not expect was the cast quickly learning to help each other even though they had not known each other long. “My favorite part of directing the show was watching the way the cast worked together,” Thompson said. “There were lots of first-years, lots of transfer students, and they kind of gelled together really quickly. You got to see them bounce ideas off each other.”            

    Thompson said the main thing she wanted audience members to take away from the show was for “people to have this comedic experience that is not necessarily the kind of comedic experience you have everyday.”  

    Laughter filled the room during many scenes despite the vulgarity of the humor that it is typical of a camp theme. Some jokes in the script, due to their vulgarity, might not be seen as funny outside of the show, but camp is unique for the way the tone of the characters can change the delivery to get a laugh from the audience. In one scene, Mrs. Forest starts to hit Chicklet but the scene is turned to hilarity in the audience’s eyes as the weapon of choice is a jockstrap, highlighting the strange nature of the play.



Oh My Gourd, Not Another Pumpkin Story

Oh My Gourd, Not Another Pumpkin Story

Kaitlynn Tarbox Contributing Writer

    From zombies to Jack Skellington, Griffin Graves, a senior secondary education major, has carved a vast array of characters and scenes into pumpkins the size of his head. Graves has turned what is usually a one time event during the Halloween season into a frequent adventure to the pumpkin patch. 

    Graves said, “Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I’ve been carving pumpkins for years and as I got older the carvings became more complex.” 

A Pumpkin Carved by Graves (Photo courtesy of Kaitlynn Tarbox)

    Graves elaborate designs can be found on his facebook page, and he gets his patterns from a website called Zombie Pumpkins, though he likes to add his own touch to the designs.“This year I’ve been adding scrapings to the designs to bring the rest of the pumpkin to life,” he said. “ I do this by using a tool that looks almost like a vegetable peeler. If you scrape the skin of the pumpkin away it gives a faint orange-reddish glow. All in all I like doing the pumpkins this way because it makes the pumpkin feel like a ‘scene.’” 

    Each carving varies on the difficulty of the pattern and the size of the pumpkin, but Graves said, “Without doing a scraping I can get a medium sized pumpkin with a rather complex pattern done in about an hour. For the more extreme patterns and scrapings it can take upwards of 3 hours.” 

    He currently plans to carve anywhere from 10 to 15 pumpkins before Halloween and has already completed several. 

    The tools needed for pumpkin carving are commonly sold at Walmart and other places nearby, but Graves prefers to buy his tools elsewhere. He said, “I mainly use the tiny saws that most people are probably familiar with. I have my own kit that I ordered from amazon because the ones they sell at Walmart and other places are too flimsy and break almost immediately.” 

      Graves also goes by another name in the month of October: Dr. Pumpkins. “My friends and I were joking about how funny it would be for someone to put a pumpkin on their head and just go to all their classes,” he said. 

    And that he did. Graves carved a pumpkin, put it on his head and wore his trusty lab coat. He and his friends created a backstory for the character and it has since become an annual tradition. Graves is looking to get more people to participate so he will “have an army of pumpkin heads walking around campus.” 

     Jacob Bishopp, a junior geology major and Graves’ roommate, said “Pumpkins bring me joy and carving them is a good way to unwind and celebrate the Halloween season.” He often carves with Graves, lining their window sill and decorating their dorm with all the pumpkins they carve. 

    Bishopp believes that if there was a way for them to display the pumpkins without the risk of them getting damaged, more people would be likely to enjoy them. By putting their designs on social media, Bishopp and Graves can share something they have enjoyed doing with others from all sorts of different places. 

    The duo has found pumpkin carving to be a great way to release stress before midterms. “Just start doing it. Invite friends to your dorm or apartment and have a party with it. You can get awesome patterns online; sometimes you have to pay a dollar or two, but it really isn’t that bad,” Graves said. “I know that they will rot in a few days and that all the ‘work’ will be gone, but to me, carving them is almost therapeutic. It’s like my version of a zen garden.”

UMF Students Rally Support to Fight Climate Change

UMF Students Rally Support to Fight Climate Change

Kaitlynn Tarbox Contributing Writer

    UMF students and members of the Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC) gathered on the Mantor Green recently to gather support for the petition to fight climate change.  A small group of students joined together on the Green to fight for something they are passionate about: climate change. Students placed their signs against the stone wall and music played loudly from the speakers on either side of it. 

   Aiden Saulnier, co-student leader of SCC, said in an email interview, “This strike felt hopeful, because many students joined us and we had tons of signatures.” 

    The SCC had close to 200 signatures from their strike and also from tabling outside of the dining hall.  Saulnier said, “Besides signing our petition, and putting pressure on institutional power structures, students can make individual choices that are eco-friendly.” 

    Saulnier suggested methods of helping the environment can be buying clothing from a thrift store because “manufacturing new clothes creates a crazy carbon and water footprint.”  People are also encouraged to use reusable water bottles, school supplies, and to reduce, reuse, and recycle. “When at the dining hall,” Saulnier said, “only take the food you can eat and always strive to me a #CleanPlateClub member.” 

Signs made by the participants during the Climate Strike. (Photo courtesy of Kaitlynn Tarbox)

     Lily Scribner, co-student leader of SCC, and other members were approaching students encouraging them to sign their petition to make campus more sustainable and to help fight climate change.  She said, “One of the members of the SCC found music about climate change and sustainability, it was initially supposed to play until noon and then we were going to have people speak but the music drew more people inn and brought them to come learn more about what we were doing.” 

    Helping develop a community which is informed and passionate for similar causes is important to Scribner. “I think our strike can make a difference. They raise awareness for topics that most of the student body would not hear about otherwise, like our initiative to build a greenhouse on campus.”  She said, “The more people that show support in changing things to better the climate and our campus, the more change we can bring into practice.” 

    Scribner encourages students if they want to help the environment to “write letters to their senators or town officials to enact policies, carpooling and taking shorter showers.” She said, “The biggest thing is just educating yourself on what you yourself can do to help you live more sustainably.” 

    Scribner found that even though UMF has recycling bins and options “so many recyclables are thrown into trash cans each day,” she said, “We could greatly decrease the amount of waste sent to the landfill if people took the time to properly sort their garbage.” 

   Climate strikes have been happening all over the country. Farmington’s was just a small strike that is apart of a much bigger movement that the SCC hopes will continue to push forward and make changes on campus and in our community. 

    For students interested in becoming involved with SCC, Saulnier clarified in a message to Flyer Staff, “. . .SCC is a coalition of UMF staff, faculty, student employees and volunteers (and not a club), we do not have an executive board. . .we are very much a cooperative organization in that everyone’s voice matters in our group.” Their office is located in the Student Center hallway, room 108, but they are currently meeting in the Ed Center room 113 on Mondays and Fridays during common time.

Student Workers Keep UMF Thriving

Kaitlynn Tarbox, Contributing Writer

    UMF’s student employees have proven to be an integral part of campus life and functions as they maintain a variety of positions on campus such as giving tours, delivering mail and secretarial positions. Without them, work loads on staff would increase significantly. 

    Joseph Toner, Assistant Director of Financial Aid said in an email interview, “Student employees make our campus go. In just about any corner of campus you will find student employees whose work is not only vital to campus operations, but who are building their resumes through experiential work and hands on training.” 

    Student success is one of the most important things to Toner. “Not only would the day to day operations suffer greatly without student workers, but more importantly, there would be a noticeable difference in overall student success at UMF,” he said. “Student employment is one of the main success indicators for students here; meaning, those who choose to work on campus persist at a higher rate, do better academically, and are more socially engaged.” 

    Student employees are often the first to greet upcoming students whether it be through a tour or open houses.  By welcoming these new students, employees create a student’s first impression of UMF. During the application and tour process Toner said that “as [new students]  begin to dig deeper and learn more about UMF they will see student employees at every step along the way. Whether our student employees know it or not, they are all equally important to the success of UMF and the Farmington community.”  

       Andrea Butterfield, Mail Services Assistant in the mailroom said that “student workers are very important, our department is very dependent on them for things to run smoothly.”  

    The mail room offers 20 work study positions and usually fills 18 of those. Currently they have 11 employees and without them Butterfield said, “ A lot would not get done, I would be the only employee in the mailroom and mail would no longer be delivered to the residence halls or departments. They would have to come pick up their mail at the mailroom.” 

    The mailroom struggled during the first few weeks of the semester with a system glitch and lack of employees. In difficult situations, like the large amount of packages that needed to be checked in after their computer system glitched, Butterfield said, “I’m grateful for [the student workers] everyday.”    

     Lilly Spencer, a sophomore who receives work-study, said,  “If we didn’t have student workers a lot of people probably would not be able to attend college. College is really expensive and having a way that we can work towards our tuition is really empowering and beneficial.”  

    There are many benefits to working on campus: career readiness, time management skills, networking, creating positive relationships with others and other skills that vary on the employee’s position. 

     Quinlan Boyle, sophomore, worked for the mailroom last year. “I am thankful for student workers every time I get my mail, eat in the dining hall or have a technology problem,” he said. 

    Without student workers filling over 700 employee positions much of campus life would come to a standstill. Boyle said, “It would not be great without student workers, there is a lot going on at UMF all the time, people who give tours, deliver mail, work in food service. There would be a lot that would not get done due to the lack of student workers.”