Meet Hannah Binder: Published Author and UMF Freshman

By Nathan McIvor Contributing Writer

   Novelist Hannah Binder is a freshman in the Creative Writing program who has published her first novel, “Why We Don’t Wave” under the name Hannah Paige. The novel is an ode to sisterhood and family.  

   Binder describing the novel in an email interview, said that the plot concerns four sisters who “grow up scattered across the U.S. unaware of each other’s existence .. [and] the trials that come about when four lives try to converge.

   Binder wrote the novel in “the lowest point I’ve ever been in my life so far,” crediting her older sister with spurring her improvement. “When I started writing, I wanted to dedicate this book to her. [The novel] was really a project to try and depict the importance of having a sister and it was an ode to her for all that she has done for me.  The four sisters in the novel all depict pieces of who my sister is,” Binder said.

   Binder began writing at six years old and finished “Why We Don’t Wave” at sixteen. Binder said that she enjoys “creating characters and establishing a story that I hope many people will be able to connect to” through her work.

   When asked about the publishing process, Binder replied, “My age was most likely the biggest hurdle to surmount. I was sixteen and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was not about to let my age keep me out of the publishing world, so I held myself to the same standard that writers twice my age do. I edited my manuscript as best I could and started submitting.”

   Despite rejections, the UK-based Austin Macauley accepted her manuscript. Much to her surprise, Binder had to ask for a modified contract, ”I needed a place for my mom to sign as well, they had no idea how old I was.”

   As a freshman, Binder appreciates “close-knit” campus. A native Californian, Binder had “a bit of a culture shock … but the Creative Writing program and the professors … are exactly what I’d hoped they would be.”

   She continues her craft and has already written another novel. Austin Macauley recently accepted “30 Feet Strong.” Binder hopes to have the book released this year. “Writing is a huge part of my life and who I am as a person.  That process of finding the perfect word, of composing a page of text that evokes so much emotion or just paints an especially effective image is exhilarating. It’s everything to me.”  


New Director, New Rocky

New Director, New Rocky

By Jane Metsker Contributing Writer


   This year’s UMF production of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” will be showcasing its K-Pop influenced dance numbers under the leadership of new directors senior Zach Roberge and junior Nate Red.

   Roberge and Red were assistant directors last year, and both have a few years’ experience with show. “We are making it awesome. We’re focusing more on choreography, keeping what we’ve liked of previous shows, taking everything else and amping it up by ten,” Roberge said.

   Sophomore Chloe Woodward, who is assisting the directors, said the show will be unique this year because of the new direction and the dancers’ involvement. “We’re adding a lot more to it. We changed some of the

This years Rocky emphasizes consent and dives into K-pop. (Photo by Jane Metsker)

scenes and we have more extras,” said Woodward. “The dancers are a lot more involved and there’s more scenes they’re involved in than in the movie.”

   Part of the directors’ visions was the addition of K-Pop to the pre-existing dance numbers. Red said, “As part of our new vision for the show Zach [Roberge] brought up the idea of around the world for spring fling,”

   There is further freedom to change up the production as almost every member of the cast has not performed in the show before. “Generally, the whole concept is to mimic the show, but we’re taking it a bit further, and adding a lot of our own aspects and touches,” Red said.

   While the topic of consent has been a prevalent aspect of previous performances, this year the directors are making a point to emphasize the importance of it.

   Roberge and Red were motivated by the idea of consent and decided that all the proceeds from the show will be donated to sexual assault prevention services. “Rocky’s always been this place of consent and freedom of sexual expression, that’s the kind of atmosphere we’re trying to set in this place,” said Roberge. “It’s a movement that Nate [Red] and I can get behind and really support.”

   Freshman AJ Saulnier, who is playing the role of Columbia, said that auditions were consent-based. “During auditions and the first few rehearsals we would constantly ask each other for consent,” said Saulnier. “With stuff like this there’s so much trust.”

   Darby Murnane, who is playing Janet, said, “I think it’s more comfortable to dance on the edges of sexuality here because it’s comic relief, it doesn’t feel dirty or unclean. It’s all for the punchline.” Murnane expressed that she feels completely comfortable in the environment created by the directors and the cast.

   There will be raffle tickets sold for a chance to win copies of the “Rocky Horror” DVD, sculptures, and posters signed by the cast. Penis gummies, penis pops, and miscellaneous Rocky items will also be sold at the event.

   The UMF Production of Rocky Horror Picture Show will be April 28 in the Lincoln Auditorium at 9 p.m. and midnight.

UMF Professors Lend Their Advice To The Class of 2018

By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter

 In mid-May, seniors will be marching across the stage receiving their diplomas for their hard work and then venturing off into post-college life. With this major change, UMF professors shared their advice to the class of 2018 on how to handle the ‘now what’ process students face.

   Professor of Political Science, James Melcher, was excited to share his thoughts on what students should do after graduation. “Don’t feel like you’ve gotta have your career figured out the minute you walk off the stage. A lot of people today are going to work a lot of different jobs,” said Melcher. “Be flexible, explore and enjoy, take advantage, if you’re in that position of not being tied down. If you ever thought about wanting to travel, it’s easier to do now.”

   Professor Melcher believes that students should savor the moment and not rush into everything at once. “Think about what you’re grateful for. That you went to school here, for the people that you met, for the things that you learned, for the experiences that you made. Even the bad experiences, maybe some of the bad experiences made you stronger, made you tougher, made you learn something.”

   Assistant Professor of English, Misty Krueger, weighed in on what she wants students to know before leaving UMF. “I want them to know that they can always come back and talk to us,” said Krueger. “We don’t forget you, we care about you, and we’re ready to write you letters of recommendation, help you find jobs, and be there for you.”

   Associate Professor of Anthropology, Nicole Kellett, believes that seniors should not be afraid to put themselves out there in the world after UMF and expand their horizons. “Try something different; try something new and maybe have a little time to chill out too,” said Kellett. “You’ve been working so hard for four or more years; have some time to maybe do something, explore different things that you’ve always wanted to explore.”

   While graduation is a fun celebration, Professor Melcher expressed the grief he has after the event. “It’s really exciting, everybody’s all fired up and they’re all going off to have their parties and then I’m realizing, ‘Oh my God, all these seniors I really, really liked are going to be gone. How am I ever going to replace them?’” said Melcher.

   All three professors urged that it is okay for seniors to not know what they’re doing after graduation, but to try to experience as much as they can. They noted that graduating is a new experience and it can be scary but UMF will always be here for seniors.

   “It’s normal to be scared, but hopefully they [the students] had a lot of preparation here for going out into the world,” said Kellett. “Life definitely does not stop at UMF. There’s so much more out there. Look at this as a building block for many other opportunities down the road.”


President Foster on Her Departure

President Foster on Her Departure

By Andrew Devine President

  When I went to meet President Kate Foster one morning in April, I thought it would be the start of her day. To the contrary, when I entered her office at 8:30 a.m., she was already in the middle of an important phone.

   President Foster later explained that she doesn’t have a “typical” day at UMF. Many of her days days are busy from start to finish, that no two days are the same. 

President Kathryn Foster will be departing UMF at the end of the current semester after serving as President for six years. (Photo by Andrew Devine)

However, one day that stood out for President Foster was March 27, when she announced her upcoming departure from UMF.

   Foster joined the UMF administration in 2012, as she said, on a risk. “You never could have expected, from my background, that I would be a college president,” stated Foster. “Farmington gave me an opportunity that was so profoundly moving and meaningful for me in my career, in what I care about, in pressuring the mission of higher public education, that I will always feel a debt of gratitude that I never think you could have for another place.”

   In her time in Farmington, Foster has become an integral part of the community, from everyday student activities to major achievements towards advancing the institution. “Being present and being visible is a big part of being the president,” Foster explained in describing her responsibilities over the years. That, as well as being at the front of the mission of the university.

   “You realize the promise of an institution. That’s the role.” Further explaining the complexity of her position, Foster continued, “How that manifests, how you play that out, the specific elements of that, that’s what varies every day.”

   President Foster acknowledged that her role made her a “cheerleader-from-the- side” towards the university, and how she is widely known to be the most enthusiastic Beaver fan at any UMF sporting event.

   None of this came without challenge. President Foster recognized the burden that available resources has on higher education. Funds, time and people are all essential yet scarce in bettering the institution.

   This obstacle has been formative on the job for President Foster. “Knowing the essence of who you are, a self-reflection, that I think is really important, that helps you to know which challenges to go after, and which are the ones that are not your make.”

   With all this reminiscing, reflection, and nostalgia for her time spent in Western  Maine, President Foster had a few remaining remarks on her place in the community and what her successor should expect.

   Foster started by noting, “For the person who’s coming to sit in this chair, there is an expectation.” Foster lists the indisputable responsibilities of the head of the administration. Most importantly, the last qualification she lists is that “there is an expectation that the president is someone who cares about the people here.”

   There will be things President Foster misses about UMF, from Merrill’s views, to Downtown Farmington, to walking to the office. Undoubtedly, President Foster understands the impact that the UMF community has had in her time here.

   In her announcement to the public that she would be departing from UMF following this school year, President Foster noted the support, warmth, and comradery felt by the people of UMF, and credited that to her enjoyment and success as president.

   In concluding the interview, both of us with a warm feeling in our chests and fighting a happy tear, President Foster expressed her gratefulness for the UMF community, “I hope the support came from knowing how much I love this place, and maybe that I was all of those things that I described about this place. That the match was good, and there was a fit here that was real.”