Earth Day Festival: Farmington’s Coachella

By Autumn St.Pierre, Contributing Writer

Recently, the Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC) hosted the Earth Day Festival at UMF to celebrate the environment with the campus and the community.

“It is meant to be an educational and fun event that allows people to enjoy music, food, and speakers while enjoying the outdoors,” said sophomore Kelly Toomey, a student leader of SCC.

Earth Day is one of SCC’s largest events and it has been put on for at least five years. “This year we had UMF students and alumni speaking on behalf of the importance of water conservation and eliminating food waste,” said Toomey.

The speakers included Louise Villemont, Donald Hutchins, and Holden Cookson. There were performances by Matt Hernandez, Clefnotes, Nuclear Salad, and members of the UMF Live Music Club.

A lot of preparation goes into this event. “We need to reserve a location at the beginning of the semester, and from there we have to find a set list of UMF musicians, plan a menu of local food, organize speakers, and gather prizes to raffle off,” said Toomey.

“This year we raffled off Fiddlehead Festival t-shirts, fruit and vegetable seeds, and free movie passes to Narrow Gauge Cinemas.”

Next year SCC would like to have the event earlier in the day to have warmer weather and more daylight.

“We would also like to organize some speakers from the community, people that have worked in the sustainability field that could really give us some good insight,” said Toomey. “Next year we would also like to have a 100% local menu.”

Sodexo generously sponsored the event this year with food mostly local to Maine. “Overall, the Earth Day event has been going strong and we really enjoy the relaxed nature of the event,” said Toomey.

SCC puts on several sustainability events every semester. Toomey and a co-worker pick up all of the food waste from the dining hall and bring it to the Farmington Cooperative Compost site. Compost gets delivered to the UMF pile three times a week.

SCC also maintains projects such as the Thrifty Beaver, a new thrift store and food pantry for students and staff.

Professor Lucas Kellett, co-leader of SCC with professor Drew Barton, have been involved with the club for five years. Kellett oversees the paid students. “We have eight of them right now,” said Kellett.

Kellett helps coordinate events with the community. “It’s mostly a student run organization,” said Kellett. “I’m basically there as an advisor and to facilitate what they want to happen.”

Along with effectively maintaining projects, plans for the next academic year include SCC adapting new ones like a campus garden or greenhouse.

“We want to keep things going, keep that wheel of sustainability going,” said Kellett.

SCC meetings are held every Monday and Friday at 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 113 in the Education Center. The SCC offers paid and volunteer positions.

Behind the Scenes Of  “The Bald Soprano” Performance  At UMF Alumni Theatre

Behind the Scenes Of “The Bald Soprano” Performance At UMF Alumni Theatre

By Autumn St.Pierre, Contributing Writer

Cast of “The Bald Soprano” from left to right: Keith J. Clark, Jonas Maines, Nate Red, Morgan Steward and Julia Allen. (Photo by Stan Spilecki)

Cast of “The Bald Soprano” from left to right: Keith J. Clark, Jonas Maines, Nate Red, Morgan Steward and Julia Allen. (Photo by Stan Spilecki)

Recently, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts presented the play, “The Bald Soprano” by Eugene Ionesco, at the UMF Alumni Theatre. After long preparation and hard work, students and faculty came together to put on this unusual show.

With a runtime clocking in just under an hour, the show was performed for several audiences over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, beginning with an opening performance on Thursday.

After working three to four hours a day, five days a week for six weeks, the crew was ready to perform.

Director Melissa C. Thompson, Assistant Professor of Performing Arts, chose this specific show for a few reasons. “My specialty is experimental performance,” said Thompson, “usually the way I do it is through creating experimental work, or theatre.” She continued, “It dismantles some of the everyday rituals that we’re so involved in.”

Thompson is new to campus this school year and this was her first time directing a show at UMF. She wanted to get people laughing with this play.

Many preparations went into making the show happen such as; lighting, perceiving space, having the right props and the design of the scene, the casting process, and working with text with the actors.

The cast and crew did find that the experimental nature of Ionesco’s play presented challenges. According to a recent UMF press release, the play, which features the mannered interplay of guests at a dinner party rapidly descends into absurdity as the characters realize their language is not as powerful as they think. Presented with the challenge, cast and crew had to figure out how people would go through the motions.

“Whenever you direct something you can conceive with a vision of what the initial energy or look will be, and then it doesn’t happen,” said Thompson. She explained that you have to be ready to scrap an idea and come up with something new.

Thompson’s favorite part of directing the show was seeing people believe that when you say, ‘Hey I want to see your ideas and try them out,’ really seeing people embrace that. Thompson emphasized, “Having people going wild and being free is the best thing to see, such a liberation for them.”

“It was great to finally see this happen,” said assistant director Devin Gilman, a seven year senior and general studies major.

Gilman follows behind Thompson and assists with different things such as organic blocking, choreography, and helping translate the show. “I do whatever else Melissa tells me to do, in the most positive way,” said Gilman.

Gilman did find some things to be a challenge, such as getting the actors to learn their lines. “The show is very fragmented,” Gilman explained. It was hard to contextualize and they found themselves working with word vomit. He wanted to make sure the actors were comfortable.

Fifth year senior, Summer McCollough, has been involved in theatre for eight years. “This is my first and last ever main stage show at UMF. It was really cool working with these people,” said McCollough.

Some of the actors ran into slight challenges including memorizing lines, “because it’s an absurd play and it doesn’t make sense,” explained McCollough. “I’m speaking a word salad and you’re like, ‘Okay I guess that makes sense.’”

Because she’s graduating this spring, McCollough is happy to have been involved. “I’ve definitely had fun with this show and I’m glad I got to be in it.”

Anyone can audition for shows at UMF. There’s a theatre club on campus, Student Theatre UMF (STUMF), that people can join and a theatre honors fraternity that students need to be invited into in order to join.

The theater class, Space Lab, is also available and allows students to have different projects and jobs within a production and the proceeds go directly back into the theatre program.

Titcomb Challenge: UMF Business Class And Outing Club Team Up To Create New Community Event

Titcomb Challenge: UMF Business Class And Outing Club Team Up To Create New Community Event

By Autumn St. Pierre, Contributing Writer 

Community members gather for the first annual Titcomb Challenge event. (Photo by Clyde Mitchell)

Community members gather for the first annual Titcomb Challenge event. (Photo by Clyde Mitchell)

In collaboration with the Farmington Outing Club (FOC), students of professor Clyde Mitchell’s Alpine Operations Leadership and Management class organized and carried-out the first Titcomb Challenge; a day-long community event hosted at the popular local ski-hill, Titcomb Mountain. Held over February break, the event attracted mostly community members, and the organizers of the Challenge are already evaluating both its success and room for improvement in future seasons.  

The Titcomb Challenge originated from a project assigned to Mitchell’s class. The students had to think of an event that they wanted to create and organize in conjunction with the FOC.

Mitchell explained that the Challenge was comprised of eight different events throughout the day. According to Mitchell, the project provided good “practice for students to gain event planning and to serve the community at the same time,” he explained.

Awards were held at 8 p.m. where participants were given prizes including a $1 raffle, give-aways, skiing apparel, donated lift tickets from Sunday River, and donated t-shirts from Sugarloaf. “Any surplus goes to Titcomb, this year it will just go to prizes,” said Mitchell.

Because this was the first year the Titcomb Challenge was held, it was new to the public as well as the people organizing it. “We weren’t really sure what to expect because it was our first season ever trying something like this,” said Maria Noyola, a member of the class and FOC.

The challenge lasted from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Students who planned it were tasked with different jobs such as working the registration table, supervising events, and overall coordination and making things run smoothly. “We were definitely aiming towards the fun aspect versus the competitive aspect,” said Connor Dunn, a member of the class. “More music, fun events, etc.”

The recent snow days created a delay in communication and planning. “We’ll market it a bit better next year,” said Mitchell.

“I would start the planning months in advance to allow more room for fundraising, organizing, and marketing, getting the word out more and notifying people ahead of time so we can preregister for events,” said Noyola. “I think something like this has a lot of potential at a place like Titcomb to involve the kids and the community.”

Having the event over winter break caused an absence of UMF students. “I think having it over February break was good and bad. If it was during school I think we would have had more students,” said Dunn.

Though not many college students made an appearance, the timing of the event made it possible for school-age participants. “We were thinking about getting more younger kids,” said Dunn.

“I think we should stick with break and give the families something to look forward to in the town,” said Noyola.

The Titcomb Challenge is a convenient experience for people. “I think this is a great event because it will give kids the opportunity to participate in small and playful events with their peers while being challenged with their skill of riding,” said Noyola. “It has a variety of different ways to challenge the kids in a very laid back and fun environment.”