Step UP! At UMF

Step UP! At UMF

By Paige Lusczky, contributing writer

If you have taken a Physical Education class on campus, you are aware that it is a requirement to go to an extra class, outside of class hours, on Bystander Intervention Training hosted by the campus Step UP! Program. For a lot of new UMF students, Bystander Intervention Training is all they hear from the campus Step UP! Program. So, why is it such a big deal?

“Step UP! is a prosocial behavior and Bystander Intervention Program that educates participants to be proactive in helping others” as said by the National Step UP! Program.

UMF Step UP! Program advisor and UMF counselor, Gavin Pickering, said “UMF prides ourselves on being a supportive and caring campus” and “this program provides tangible procedures and action steps to support.”

“Students will become each other’s allies and have the confidence to go to parties or walk around campus knowing that there is someone in the vicinity who has their back and is willing to step in,” said the original proposer of the program coming to UMF, Professor Kathy Kemp.

The Step UP! Program not only promotes Bystander Intervention but also the “Seize the Awkward” campaign about reaching out to those who may be suffering from mental health and trauma. When the program was originally proposed as an Honors Enrichment Proposal with Kemp, it was written that “[UMF] needs to talk about violence, and be able to say the words rape, consent, and abuse, without a backlash of scoffing, head-turning, and eye rolls.”

The program has a large group of UMF student involvement but has unfortunately been pushed to the background because of the pandemic. “We have a lot of big ideas but we can’t do as much as we would like,” Pickering said.

You can mainly see student workers promoting it by tabeling or getting involved with Community Assistants and the resident halls. Currently, the Step UP! Program is also working with the Campus Safety Project to evaluate what else they could be doing.

Around Halloween, the Step UP! Program was tabeling to inform students on what type of Halloween Costumes would be considered cultural appropriation. With UMF sitting on Native American Land, it is important to promote respect for all cultures and not use them as a costume. Last year, the group tabled for National Women’s Day as well.

Pickering believes that it is important that students be involved in the Step UP! Program because “getting information from peers is more meaningful to students than being told by authority figures” and students “have to help each other too.” This is why Step UP! is even considered a work-study job opportunity on campus.

The campus Step UP! Program is a “challenge for people to change the culture,” Pickering said. Pickering believes for those who want to see change, the program is an “opportunity to pay students to implement change on campus.”

There are three work-study positions available, if interested, please contact Pickering at or if you would like more information about the national program, please go to


Construction, Detours Persist on High Street

By Michael Levesque, Contributing Writer

Recent construction on High Street addresses an important area of campus but some students feel a little unsure about how to navigate the project.

At the end of October, construction began on a section of High Street from Perham Street to South Street. This area of road runs directly through the center of campus at UMF. For some students, the construction has created a bit of surprises as they make the trip to their classes. Paige Lusczyk, a student at UMF notes some confusion about where students were permitted to walk. “I wasn’t sure if I’d get in trouble with crossing the road while they were working and was late to class by walking around the blocked off road,” she said in an email. “I don’t really hear much of the construction, even with my windows always open,” she said. Although Lusczyk doesn’t note the sound as contributing to the construction drawbacks, other students have. Zack Laflamme, a junior at UMF, says that  Francis Allen Black Hall has been affected less by noise from construction but has heard about complaints from the noise through social media. “I live in FAB, so I don’t hear it much but I’ve seen my friends say on their Snapchat stories how loud or distracting the noise is,” Laflamme said. Most students note that noise hasn’t been a terrible issue and that they will get used to the new scene on campus. “I haven’t found the construction all that frustrating,” said Lusczyk.

High Street’s location to UMF means careful planning must be implemented for the members of the community. Philip Hutchins, the public works department head for Farmington, has noted the goals and plans of this project. “The High Street project will last until 2022,” he said in an email. “This is split up in two phases. The roadway pave portion will be completed this fall; which will soon be open to traffic again,” said Hutchins. “[In] the spring of 2022, we will commence on the outside of roadway construction.” Many assets are expected to be added to the area around UMF in the spring. “An addition of over 30 new street lamps, new sidewalks, curbing and more parking accessibility, such as bus turn-outs for campus activities [will be added],” said Hutchins.

Hutchins understands the possible confusion and magnitude of the project. “I ask for everyone’s patience until the project is completed,” he said. As part of a “full depth reconstruction” project listed on the public works department website, the expected cost of this project is $300,000.“This project is funded by local municipal government and by the Maine Department of Transportation,” Hutchins added. As many people look forward to a potentially more quiet section of road, others look towards the improvements in the future. “This project will give the area a whole new welcoming and warming look”