By Sydney Beecher, Contributing Writer
After Governor Janet Mills announced that drive-ins theaters could reopen in May, Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington began offering drive-in movies, a concert series, and various other events to the community. Near the end of August, the cinema began offering indoor screenings every weekend for the near future.
When Franklin Savings Bank heard of Mills’ plan to reopen drive-ins in May, they knew that they wanted to help offer a safe activity to local communities. The bank decided to partner with John Moore, the owner of Narrow Gauge Cinemas, to sponsor a month’s worth of movies. “When Franklin Savings said that they wanted to sponsor a show, we were thrilled. When they said they wanted to sponsor the first four weeks, we were more than happy to collaborate on yet another community event with the organization,” Moore said in a statement to The Daily Bulldog. Together, Narrow Gauge Cinema offered moviegoers four different movies each week for a month, ranging from new releases to the classics.
When they finished screening those movies in June, Narrow Gauge introduced a lineup of live music to perform throughout the summer. These three hour-long shows featured bands like Ghost of Paul Revere, David Mallett and the Mallett Brothers Band, and the Rustic Overtones.
Miranda Kramer, a sophomore, attended two concerts at the drive-in and loved the experience. “The newly renovated drive-in accommodated social distancing guidelines very well. Everyone was spaced out in their own spots,” said Kramer. “We had a perfect view of the stage and the bands, even from two rows back. Both of the concerts were the highlight of my summer.”
In August, Narrow Gauge Cinemas was finally able to reopen its indoor theater for the first time in over five months. In order to comply with Maine’s guidelines, the cinema had to make some changes to the theater setup. Among the first few visitors was Cam Foss, a sophomore, who saw a variety of movies last semester at the cinema. “It was definitely a different experience than when I went to Narrow Gauge in the spring,” said Foss. “There were a few rows taken out to maintain social distancing, so there were fewer seats and a lot of legroom between each row. Either way, I was glad that the theater reopened and I can watch movies in-person again.”
Since Maine has been experiencing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, Narrow Gauge has had to change some of their policies in order to create a safer environment for moviegoers. According to a Facebook post made by Moore on Narrow Gauge Cinema’s page on Oct. 30, the capacity in each theater room has been reduced to 20 people per theater show, customers are asked to be no earlier than 15 minutes to their show, and the drive-in will be continuing to offer movies as long as people are going for $10 a carload. “We have every intention of staying open and are adjusting our protocols in hopes to do that,” the post says. “We think it is important to have some continuity as a business…We thank everyone for their continued support.”
Moviegoers are asked to wear a mask until they are seated. The indoor theater offers $5 tickets to all moviegoers and plans to remain open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the near future. To find out an updated list of movie screenings, visit https://narrowgaugecinema.net or Narrow Gauge Cinema’s Facebook page.
by Bella Woodhouse, Contributing Writer
The recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the way midterms are being held.
Students are concerned with online midterms and have a fear of potential academic fraud, and feeling as if there are now disadvantages to those taking them in person.
For students who are taking online classes it can feel as if sometimes you are teaching yourself much of the material, the professor isn’t there helping you in person. This becomes an issue for midterms thanks to a lack of communication between both the material and professor. Sophomore Kennedy Savoy majoring in Biology Pre-medical voiced her concern, “My statistics class is online and sometimes my professor talks too fast and won’t go back and explain things. This makes it harder on exams like midterms when I feel like I’ve taught myself the material.”
Not all professors choose to have a midterm, but for those who did, online challenges may be hard to overcome. Professor Jackson who teaches BIO 110N, Introduction to Avian Ecology feels as if he doesn’t think his midterm being online is a challenge for his students. “I am conducting the midterm online. It is my first time doing it at UMF. Some students do seem to be struggling with things moved online in general; however, most of my students have been completing their online assessments and work just fine. Since they have been taking quizzes and doing other tasks online, I don’t anticipate that the midterm being online would present any additional challenges.”
A few students took their midterm in person but most chose to take the class online. Students taking midterms in person can feel as if they have a disadvantage to the students taking the online version. “I took the midterm in person but there was a problem with the online version. Some of the questions were missing and weren’t the same as ours. This caused confusion and the professor didn’t even realize until 20 minutes left of class,” said Sophomore Sydney Beecher.
The students taking an online midterm also have a higher advantage on getting a better grade with the potential chance of academic fraud. Beecher felt she had an disadvantage for taking it in person because, “the professor couldn’t watch the online students take the test and I fear even though there is a code of honor for online students, I wouldn’t be surprised if some students didn’t follow it.”
Sophomore Emily Cetin (Photo courtesy of Abbie Harrington)
by Sydney Beecher, Contributing Writer
Despite the challenges and restrictions COVID-19 has created, a handful of faculty members are hoping to offer a variety of travel courses this upcoming May.
Half of the travel courses have already been postponed until 2022 and there is a chance more will follow suit. “Most have been postponed until the next academic year, but there are several that are waiting to see how COVID pans out this winter,” says Associate Dean of Experiential & Global Education Linda Beck.
Dr. Beck aids to promote and administers the risk management issues surrounding travel courses. She and Lynne Eustis, the Assistant Director of Global Education, have been working with colleagues across the University of Maine System to manage study abroad courses during the current COVID pandemic.
Beck and the professors who plan to lead travel courses in May are investigating how to address a number of issues regarding international and domestic travel. They are hoping to find answers to questions similar to: “Are the destinations accepting foreign travelers, specifically Americans? Is there a quarantine requirement in the destination country? Can our faculty and students travel safely to and within the country?”
All travel courses need to take a variety of factors into account to operate. “Everything from border closures, lack of visa processing, mandatory 14-day quarantines upon entry into host countries, mandatory COVID testing upon entry, restrictions for hostel stays and modes of in-country transportation to concerns for handling student COVID cases are factors that must be considered when making decisions if programs can run,” said Lynne Eustis. If a travel course cannot meet those requirements or factors, then the course may be postponed or canceled.
At the moment, there are five travel courses being offered in May 2021. These include courses to Germany, Iceland, Nepal, and the United Kingdom (Shakespearetanan). The courses that have been postponed until 2022 include Croatia, Boston, New York City, and the United Kingdom (Rehabilitation). In addition to these postponed courses, other faculty may propose courses for 2022 as well. As a political science professor herself, Beck plans to offer once again her travel course, Ecotourism and Environmental Activism in Tanzania, in 2022.
Although the immediate future of travel courses is surrounded by uncertainty, it is important to realize the opportunities they can provide to students. Emily Cetin, a rising sophomore who participated in Beck’s Tanzania travel course in winter 2020, decided to attend UMF precisely because of the travel courses the university offered. “They offer students such amazing opportunities to get out of the classroom and immerse themselves in the real world. Engaging with people and learning about their lives in person is much different than simply being lectured in a classroom by a professor.” Cetin also expressed that going to Tanzania became life-changing. “The things I learned and helped with, from planting trees to making reusable pads for women, I brought home with me. The trip helped me narrow down what I want to do in life. While I was on the plane headed back home, I was already planning on which travel course I wanted to go on next.”
To find the latest information about travel courses and descriptions about each program, visit https://www.umf-experience.org/travel-courses or email Linda Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Sydney Beecher, Contributing Writer
Aiming to help students register to vote, UMF’s branch of the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) held a voter registration drive at the end of September. The drive was an astounding success, with 40 UMF students registering to vote over a span of two days.
This program was headed by senior Samantha Wood, CEEP Fellow and the voter drive event organizer, along with four volunteers. Together they led students through the process of filling out an official registration form. “It’s easy for on-campus students to register to vote because UMF sent a residence list to the town clerk’s office so students do not need to provide proof of residency,” Wood said. “For those who live off-campus, all we ask of them is to bring proof of residency such as a piece of mail or their driver’s license when they come to register.”
Creating a voter registration drive on campus helps to build a habit of civic engagement in students. Voters between the ages of 18 and 21 have the lowest voter turnout of any age group.
According to Political Science Professor James Melcher, this can cause the views of younger voters to be underrepresented. “Here in the 2nd Congressional District in Maine, voters have the chance to vote in some of the most hotly contested races in the nation,” said Melcher. “Maine’s 2nd District electoral vote, U.S. House race, and U.S. Senate race are all extraordinarily competitive and crucial votes.”
Ciera Miller, one of the volunteers at the drive, echoed this message and stressed the importance of voting. “I wanted to volunteer because it’s important that we vote in elections for who’s going to be given power in our town, state, or country… [and] I want to help others who were never taught the impact their vote has so they can be more aware of how important their voice is as a US citizen. They should know that their voice matters,” said Miller.
Another important aspect of the drive was to provide unbiased information to students who registered. CEEP is committed to being non-partisan and is considering creating a non-partisan club on campus in the future. “It’s important for students to get involved politically and having only political party affiliated clubs is going to scare students away,” said Wood. “We’re seeing a change in young people where they don’t want to affiliate with a political party; they just want someone to uphold their views.”
UMF’s branch of CEEP maintains a Twitter and Instagram account called ‘UMF Votes’ and a Facebook account called ‘UMF Students Vote.’ Here, they post information regarding voting information or campus events. They plan to participate in an upcoming virtual legislative candidate series on Monday, October 12th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will be hosted by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the political party affiliated clubs on campus. The online forum will include candidates in District 17 such as Jan Collins and Russel Black.
by Sydney Beecher Contributing Writer
During the COVID-19 pandemic, students majoring in Elementary Education have been completing their practicums through placements in online programs and in-person placements.
All students majoring in Education must go through practicum, a combination of seminars and hands-on classroom experiences, in order to graduate within their program. The seminars are designed to teach students educational theories and practices that they can apply to their future classrooms. Students are also placed in a classroom in the Farmington region where they will spend up to 10 hours a week working with students and a mentor. The main goal of practicums are to bridge the gap between education courses and student teaching.
Because of the challenges COVID-19 presents to in-person learning, practicums have undergone a handful of changes in order to adjust to online learning. Ashley Clark, a junior majoring in Elementary Education and completing her practicum this fall, said one of the biggest changes that were made this year was the placement of students. “There wasn’t a lot of in-person placement,” she said. “Out of the 24 of us in my seminar, half of us were placed in Mallet [Elementary School] and the other half were placed in this new online academy.”
This online academy, which Clark was placed at, was introduced by the Mt. Blue Region for students whose parents did not want them attending in-person schooling.
Within the online academy, there are 12 advanced practicum students from UMF, teachers who will act as mentors, an administrator, and reading, writing, and math specialists from Mallet Elementary School. One of the biggest issues Clark worries about is the communication, as she believes she’ll have trouble effectively communicating through technology. “I asked to be placed in kindergarten,” Clark said, “so for me, it could mean that I join the classroom for morning meeting, I read a book out loud to them, or help students one-on-one if they’re having trouble.”
On the other hand, elementary education students who are completing their practicums in-person, such as senior Elise Guerrette, are attempting to adjust to the new reality of being in a classroom environment. “I had to wear a mask and face shield whenever I was closer than three feet to a student,” she said, “and it was hard to read facial expressions.” Guerrette, who was placed at Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay, also mentioned how bare the classroom was since most things had to be put away.
Despite all of the challenges and adjustment practicums face this semester, Guerrette feels that her unique practicum experience will benefit her in the long run. “My practicum experience will really help me in the future, especially since I am going to be teaching next year!” she said.