University of Maine Systems Prepare for Traditional College Experience in the Fall

University of Maine Systems Prepare for Traditional College Experience in the Fall

University of Maine Farmington by Sam Shirley.

University of Maine Farmington by Sam Shirley.

By Daniela Lilly Rodiles, Staff Writer

    Chancellor Malloy announced to faculty, staff, and students of the University of Maine System (UMS) the return to normalcy through traditional and in-person college experience in the coming fall 2021 semester. 

    The prioritization and continuation of COVID-19 asymptomatic testing together with mask wearing and physical distancing will continue to be in place as a way to assure student and faculty safety for the ongoing spring semester and commencement plans.

    “We’re kicking our planning into high gear to provide the most traditional, on-campus college experiences this fall that we can safely manage,” said Malloy. This return to normalcy is focused on resuming in-class instruction, campus activities for the community, and residence hall occupancy resembling pre-pandemic conditions on campus. 

    UMF students have regained a sense of hopefulness and confidence regarding the plans to return to the conventional college experience that most students knew before the start of the pandemic, and that we all continue to miss. “I feel relieved,” said Anika Slowing-Romero, a freshman majoring in Rehabilitation and Psychology. “This year has been extremely hard and not what I expected at all, college-wise. But I am very hopeful and excited for what’s to come in the next semester.”

    Chancellor Malloy’s email became the topic of discussion and conversation between peers, lighting up the possibility of brighter days around the corner, whilst acknowledging the outstanding resilience and commitment that has led all of us to this great news. “Your health and safety, and the health and safety of our university communities, remains our top priority,” stated Malloy, as he confirmed the plans that rely on the pandemic-ending vaccines and health safety practices imposed by the UMS Scientific Advisory Board, as well as Maine’s public health authorities as the basis to keep the UMS community safe. 

    The plans for commencement at UMF continue to uphold a remote ceremony to celebrate the class of 2021 and their achievements. “We promise to create a wonderful, albeit virtual, celebration experience and program with distinct recognition and personal touches especially for you and your achievements,” stated President Edward Serna. 

    The University will continue asymptomatic strategies and monitoring for COVID-19 throughout the semester to assure the safety of all students and staff until the last week of the semester.

Students Turn to Off-Campus Housing for More Freedom

By Abby Pomerleau, Contributing Writer

    If on-campus housing is not the best fit for a student’s college experience, off-campus housing is a healthy alternative for UMF students. 

    Residence halls are where many students get their first taste of freedom. Although it can be a good fit for some, residence halls are not for everyone. This leads students to look elsewhere for living. The most common options are commuting from home or renting an apartment. Apartments in Farmington become more scarce in February and March when students begin to tour apartments and sign leases. 

    Many first-time renters don’t know where to start. What is considered expensive? Is this apartment a “steal”? Katelyn Rouleau, a sophomore, is living off-campus this year for the first time. “The process was overwhelming. I had no idea where to start,” said Rouleau. “I currently pay $470 a month for a two bedroom apartment.” Rouleau said this is all inclusive, which means that the apartment comes with heat, electricity, and other utilities. $470 a month is roughly the average cost of apartments. The quality of the apartment and the number of roommates will determine the price. 

    Signing a lease can be intimidating. Remembering to read each word is important before signing your name on any document, leases included. Although renters may be stressing about signing a lease, landlords are also stressed about signing renters. Tor Goettsche Spurling, a local landlord who owns Gotcha Apartments feels this way annually. “I always stress each year about filling the rentals with tenants, but I’ve never had an apartment go vacant,” said Goettsche Spurling. “However, what I would say is that the struggle is to find the good tenants.”

    Many landlords look for various things in a renter. Goettsche Spurling speaks about what interests him in a good tenant. “I primarily look for someone who pays rent on time, keeps a clean apartment, is self-sufficient and kind,” said Goettsche Spurling. “If they are students, I like to see that they have part-time jobs or are involved with something on campus.”  

    When looking for an apartment there are many physical things about the apartment that those looking to rent should look out for. “Some things I don’t like as a renter are stained rugs, water damage to walls and ceilings, mold, odors, and pets,” said Rouleau. “If you plan on having a pet, make sure your landlord is aware and approves of it.” More often than not, landlords have people pay an additional fee for pets. 

    There are some pros and cons when it comes to renting an apartment. “Some pros are that with COVID-19 you don’t need to wear a mask to go to the shower or bathroom, you can buy your own groceries, and you have your own space and freedom,” said Rouleau. “With that said, the cons are that you have to manage your money. Landlords expect a check each month, regardless of your situation. Expenses add up quickly, and you’ll find yourself having no choice but to prioritize the right things.” 

    If finding an apartment is so stressful, why not just stay on campus? “Living off campus allows you to have an independent lifestyle that you don’t necessarily have on campus,” said Rouleau. “As you get older you want to make more and more decisions for yourself. Living off campus provides that freedom.” Living off campus allows students to gain life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and money management. It even allows for an easier transition into post-college life. 

    Finding the right apartment can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. As the semester continues, students will be signing leases for apartments often. Students want the best apartment, and they waste no time finding it. Finding the right apartment for you depends on what you can financially afford, what environment you desire, and the amount of roommates you want, if any. 

 

Tagging Hostile Terrain

Tagging Hostile Terrain

By Ciera Miller, Staff Writer

Hannah Binder at Colby’s HT94 installation (Photo courtesy of Ciera Miller)

    Since September, University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) students across five disciplines participated in filling out a total of 1,370 toe tags for the Hostile Terrain 94 (HT94) installation at the Oak Institute for Human Rights at Colby College. A toe tag is a piece of cardboard or paper attached to the toe of a deceased person used to identify them. HT94 is an art project organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), directed by anthropologist Jason de León.

    HT94 was born out of the term “Hostile Terrain”, a direct quote from the U.S. government’s Prevention Through Deterrence (PTD) policy. PTD uses the desert and mountains as a form of border patrol to deter people from migrating into the United States through Arizona. However, PTD has failed and migrants continue to flood in. 

    For this project, toe tags are filled out and pinned to a large wall map at the coordinates at which a dead migrant body was found. Orange tags belong to unidentified people and white tags belong to the identified.

    Dr. Gaelyn Aguilar brought HT94 to UMF because she believes in “teaching justice in an unjust world.” She said, “I was hoping that filling out our toe tags would feel an awful lot like the naming of names,” which she compared to the most recent surge of Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country. 

    Cassie Donald, a UMF student who participated in filling out over 20 toe tags, echoed Aguilar. It made them feel more personally involved and was more than just an assignment. “Putting names to the issue made it very real,” they said. “It brought forward a lot of emotion that reading an article might not.”

    Aguilar discussed the language used to dehumanize migrants coming into the U.S. from our southern border. “We call undocumented immigrants ‘illegal’―folks do that to avoid speaking the names of those who’ve died, or even having to imagine their faces,” she said. Aguilar believes contributing to this toe tag installation allowed herself, her faculty members, and her students to reinvision these migrants and give them their names back, not only in individual consciences but in our national conscience as well.

    Senior Adriana Burnham knows what it’s like to experience this language. “I’m half-Mexican, and I get a lot of jokes about jumping the border,” she said. Due to Burnham’s heritage, it felt personally disrespectful not to fill out these toe tags. Living in the U.S., Burnham reflects that most don’t have to stress about crossing into a new country to start a new life and/or supporting families from afar. “It gives a reality to something we don’t see in Maine,” she said. “We have this chance to recognize these people who risked their lives.”

    Laney Randolph, a senior education major, was blindsided by the amount of tags UMF received to fill out. She hadn’t realized how many people died crossing the border. “It’s horrifying to think that this isn’t something most people are aware of,” Randolph said. “I think Americans would have a much more empathetic attitude towards immigrants if they knew just how difficult and dangerous it was to get here.”

    Their reactions are the purpose of HT94. This installation is a moment of global reflection and remembrance of those who’ve died on this hostile terrain, trying to cross into the United States. Donald said it best: “It’s important for people outside of the issue to gain awareness of the issue.”

Ye Olde Beaver

Ye Olde Beaver

Taking a look back at the past 90 years of our campus newspaper and highlighting noteworthy items that perhaps were best forgotten.

Old scanned text

Scanned text originally from the Mainestream on September 20, 1979

Ah yes, the longstanding ratio issue here at UMF. Well, I guess it’s not that much of an issue for the 33% of students here that are guys, but the other 66% definitely see it as more of an issue.

That’s right, for all you freshman guys who haven’t noticed yet, the ratio is 2:1, which gives you all some pretty good odds. As for you gals, there’s a reason that Tinder is one of the most popular apps on campus.

Why is this the case? Not enough guys want to be teachers? Is it perhaps because we don’t have a football team? Are they scared of the cold winters? We may never know. Anyways, until next time, happy hunting!

 

Narrow Gauge Cinema Reopens 

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.