An Escape To The Natural World: Mainely Outdoors Excursion to Acadia National Park

An Escape To The Natural World: Mainely Outdoors Excursion to Acadia National Park

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer

Sofia Vanoli on the Mainely Outdoors adventure to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Patty Smith)

Sofia Vanoli on the Mainely Outdoors adventure to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Patty Smith)

A timid sun shone for the 20 UMF students who participated in the annual trip to Acadia National Park Sunday, April 23. Mainely Outdoors hosted this annual excursion for the fourth time, this year with the largest number of participants to date, including five international students and a foreign professor.

James Toner, Director of the Fitness & Recreation Center and leader of the trip, said that it is surprising that many people have never been to a National Park before. The Acadia trip is a special one as it provides an opportunity to visit our State’s National Park and all of its unique features,” Toner said. “It is particularly popular for international students.”

After a two and a half hour ride, the three school vans were filled with excitement and we were all ready to start the adventure. Some of us, who did not do any prior research on the park, thought we were surrounded by a big lake – or it might have only been me.

The Atlantic Ocean washed the coasts of Mount Desert Island, where most of the park is located. Brown sugar sand, dark green seaweeds and kelps, and courageous waves crashing on the beach were our first breathtaking scenery at Sand Beach. “What a creative name,” Patty Smith, senior and one of the three trip leaders, said ironically. Group pictures and funny poses took place with a still overcast sky.

After a short but fun hike on a rocky hill covered with white birches and green pines, we got a better view of the ocean which made me wonder how far home was.

Thunder Hole was our next stop. You could hear the sound of the waves smashing against the rocky coast and emitting a loud roar when booming into the cave of the Thunder Hole. Toner’s first rule is ‘safety is a priority,’ so he made sure that the group was careful when watching the waves crash forcefully. But nature made sure that our experienced trip leader got soaked by a bold wave that splashed next to him.

Driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the sun started to shine for us. Rays of light hitting the islands and an endless view were the protagonists of our photos. This was the best spot to finish our adventure.

Eva Schneider and Hannah Carlson enjoying the view. (Photo by Demi Dai)

Eva Schneider and Hannah Carlson enjoying the view. (Photo by Demi Dai)

Eva Schneider, French Language Teacher Assistant, took this opportunity to visit a National Park and to know more about Maine. “I was amazed by the view from Cadillac Mountain and I loved being at the top of the mountain,” Schneider said.

It’s no wonder why this is such a popular trip and fills up every time. Toner said, “A wide variety of programs were offered with a good response to nearly all of them.”

Some senior students joined the trip to take a break from their capstones and graduation responsibilities. “As a senior I wanted to make multiple trips and embrace the opportunity,” said international and global studies major, Sarah Gould. “I’m glad I came with my friends and enjoyed the fresh air and the sun instead of being locked up in a room.”

The trip was an exceptional one with different landscapes in the same area, something you do not want to miss if you are new to Maine. However, some of us wished we had hiked the wooded areas where trails disappeared between the trees or climbed the rocky mountains the park has to offer.

Student Senate President Jamie Austin Says Farewell

Student Senate President Jamie Austin Says Farewell

Former Student Senate President Jamie Austin. (Photo by Emily MacCabe)

Former Student Senate President Jamie Austin. (Photo by Emily MacCabe)

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer

Walking out of Olsen Student Center heading towards South Street, it is nearly impossible not to turn your head and catch a glimpse of the motion inside the Student Senate office, where a long table with usually two or three people around it are working on their computers or sharing ideas. That is where you can find Jamie Austin, the outgoing President of UMF Student Senate.

Austin is from Springvale, Maine, and a well-known face around campus who will charmingly say good morning with a wide smile. She is going through the final stages of completing her degree or how she put it, “surviving my spring semester of my senior year.”

Austin knew she wanted to come to Farmington when she was a freshman in high school, and she originally wanted to be a social studies teacher. However, there was a slight shift in her plans. “I took a political science class with Dr. Beck in my first semester and it kind of pulled me into that direction,” she said. In a few short weeks Austin is graduating with a degree in political science.

The Student Senate has always been part of her UMF experience. Her first and second year she was a senator and her third year she became Officer of Financial Affairs, a position she found to be very rewarding.

Austin recalls her experiences with student senate fondly. “I often tell people when I give tours, when I work in the Admissions Office, that I’m kind of majoring in Student Senate,” she said with a big smile.

Kristen Swan, Director of Student Leadership and Service and the faculty advisor to Student Senate, has had the opportunity to work with Austin throughout the senior’s tenure in the organization. Swan spoke highly of Austin and her accomplishments over the last four years.

“She was a student employee, a Special Projects Assistant, when I was the Director for the Center of Student Involvement where she really is to be credited with helping to bring structure to the club sports program,” Swan remembered in a very heartfelt email.

Sarah Carlson is a sophomore and a special education major, but also she is currently the chair of the Leadership Banquet and the incoming Secretary of Student Senate. She had the opportunity of working with Austin this past year and she used nothing but friendly words to talk about the senior. “Being the Leadership Banquet Chair, I had to work with her more than a General Assembly member,” Carlson said. “And she was always eager to assist me.”

Carlson described Austin as, “very organized and invested in the Student Senate and UMF as a whole.” Carlson continued, “She took her position as a president very seriously and got things done.”

Austin is very proud of her team and she mentioned that one of their biggest accomplishments was to approve a three year allocated budget of $55,000 per year for the Snow Sports Organization. She trusts that that organization will keep growing and she hopes that is a lasting mark they can make in the University.

Joe Brichetto is the new senate president and Austin has big hopes for the incoming team. “I’m leaving senate in very capable hands. I have no worries about that,” she said.

Austin couldn’t help but get a little choked up about the thought of it almost being over. “Everything is a learning experience, no matter what. And the last four years whether it was senate or academics, and it’s been all about learning,” she said smiling nostalgically.

WUMF and Mantor Produce “Heavy Meta” Podcasts Featuring UMF Professors

WUMF and Mantor Produce “Heavy Meta” Podcasts Featuring UMF Professors

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer

English professor Peter Hardy discusses his book "Thorn: The All" during his "Heavy Meta" podcast interview. (Photo Courtesy of Google Books)

English professor Peter Hardy discusses his book “Thorn: The All” during his “Heavy Meta” podcast interview. (Photo Courtesy of Google Books)

Mantor Library is currently working in conjunction with WUMF to produce podcasts under the moniker “Heavy Meta,” which feature UMF professors discussing their recent books and publications.

“We discuss current events, interview UMF authors, and talk about what’s happening at the library,” said Bryce Cundick, Manager of Instructional and Research Services. He continued explaining that the shows run about 30 minutes each.

Cundick and Kelly Boivin, Information and User Services at Mantor Library, have been working on the radio live shows since last year, but due to schedule and timing conflicts, they decided to podcast the shows instead.

Some of the topics they’ve already covered are bullying and favorite book series.  So far Cundick and Boivin have interviewed professors of mathematics Peter Hardy and Paul Gies, and professors of English, Michael Johnson and Luann Yetter.

Hardy was one of the volunteers to be interviewed. He talked very proudly about the last book of his trilogy, “Thorn: The All.” He said he had a positive experience and commented that, “It is important to spread the word about our publications.”

The shows are meant to inform the audience about what is going on at the library, but they are also meant to entertain with talks and discussions.

“I hope these shows will inspire people to write,” said Hardy.

Professor Johnson has also stepped up and shared his views on his book “Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos: Conceptions of the African American West.”

Andrew Martin, a junior majoring in psychology and the WUMF Station Manager, works together with Cundick and Boivin to carry out this project.

“I meet with Bryce and Kelly on a weekly basis and I record their show, then edit out any mistakes, and edit it to improve sound quality,” said Martin who seemed very passionate about his job at WUMF.

“This has been my favorite project because we get involved with the community and the other staff members here by offering them the chance to come and do an interview on the show,” said Martin. “Also it is a lot of fun to do. Bryce and Kelly are very enthusiastic and love what they do and make it really entertaining.”

The whole team is looking forward to hosting more people who wish to talk about their publications (books, poems, articles) and their writing styles. They revealed that one of the upcoming topics they will be dealing with is the timely issue of fake news.

“Heavy Meta” podcasts are now available on iTunes.

Learning Beyond The Classroom: February Break In Guatemala

Learning Beyond The Classroom: February Break In Guatemala

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer 

UMF students traveling to Guatemala with Safe Passage (Photo Courtesy of Blair Bailey).

UMF students traveling to Guatemala with Safe Passage (Photo Courtesy of Blair Bailey).

A group of 12 students, seven from UMF, along with two members of the Farmington Rotary Club visited Guatemala from Feb 20-26  as part of the Safe Passage program.

Safe Passage (Camino Seguro in Spanish) is a nonprofit organization that fosters the education and good health of children from the Guatemala City Garbage Dump community.  

It is not the first time the Farmington Rotary Club has arranged this trip to Guatemala City. This time they decided to extend the invitation to all members of the community to be part of the Support Team.

Doug Ibarguen, the Executive Secretary of the Farmington Rotary Club, participated in the trip and said that “The children and families of Safe Passage benefit from the Support Team visit by realizing that there are even more people who see them as being worthwhile members of the global family.”

“The main building inside the Safe Passage premises is called La Escuelita (the little school) and it is where the kids have their classes,” said Sarah Carlson, a sophomore majoring in special education, “so we helped them there and during the English classes.”

During their time in Safe Passage, the student travelers from UMF could experience firsthand the life of children who come from very poor families and attend school.

Samuel Carignan, who is a junior and an elementary education major, fondly remembered his time in Guatemala with a big smile on his face. “However,” Carignan said, “One of the things I was most taken aback by was that despite the poverty and the life they knew they would probably live, they were still so full of joy.”

“School just made their home,” Carignan said. “Students are self-motivated, which is something you don’t see in the U.S.”

The students who traveled to Guatemala all share their passion for service and global responsibility and had the desire of putting that into practice.

Hannah Somes, a senior majoring in elementary education, said that this was a positive experience because it made her think about teaching internationally.

According to Somes, this was an eye-opening opportunity. “We learned how to see a kid as a kid no matter their background,” she said, “It made me aware of my own kind of privileges.”

The trip also had a hint of adventure when students were able to hike the active volcano Pacaya, which erupted two days before they left Guatemala. Blair Bailey, a junior majoring in elementary education, described this adventure as unique and something she would not have done in the U.S.

Many of the student volunteers returned from the trip eager to do more and spread the word about their experience. They have developed a desire to drive change and promote accessible education to children in third world countries like Guatemala.

“We’ve learned from those kids that we have more than we need, so we had the idea of having a yard sale to collect money for Safe Passage,” said Somes.

Carignan felt that he learned from this trip more than what he had expected. “You don’t have to do big things to make big changes,” he concluded.

Juliet Karelsen’s ‘Juliet’s Room: Recent Work’ On Display At UMF Art Gallery

Juliet Karelsen’s ‘Juliet’s Room: Recent Work’ On Display At UMF Art Gallery

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer

Artist Juliet Karelsen (Photo by Sofia Vanoli)

Artist Juliet Karelsen (Photo by Sofia Vanoli)

The UMF Art Gallery is hosting artist Juliet Karelsen for the third time with her new exhibition  “Juliet’s Room: Recent Work,” which is on display through March 12.

It is an exhibit appropriately described as a path from the natural world to the personal and emotional life of the New Yorker artist.

The first floor of the two-leveled Art Gallery holds the colorful exhibition “Lichen” that features abstract and vibrant “paintings” on linen with thread, embroidery floss and paint. They depict lichen, mushrooms, fiddleheads and mosses in a forest environment while seasons go by changing their colors from brown to green in each work.

“The downstairs is kind of like a forest, I would say. And I think people will really like it coming here in the middle of the winter,” said Karelsen. “It’s kind of an oasis, as someone once said,” explained the artist and longtime member of the Farmington community.

“I think it is an interesting and original way of portraying nature,” said Eva Schneider, UMF Language Teaching Assistant and attendee of the event. “The variety of mediums used by the artist is particularly creative,” she said while admiring one of Karelsen’s works in detail.

“I’m impressed because the works are not labeled so that leaves you to your imagination,” said Chris, a Farmington community member as he tried to name one of the lichen “paintings” located at the entrance hall which he noted was his favorite.

“The Apartment,” “Oma’s Gloves,” and “Sympathy Series” located upstairs explore the concepts of memory and loss in Karelsen’s life in diverse mediums such as gouache and needle point. Visitors can also find pieces of furniture from The Karelsen’s apartment in New York that the artist decided to make into art after her father died in 2013.

“Upstairs is more psychological, it’s more about the sense of loss and memory. And I think it’s particular for people who have lost their parents or their home. It really resonates,” said Karelsen when describing what visitors can find on the second floor of the Gallery.

In one of the tours around the exhibition during the opening reception, Karelsen fondly remembered where all the things were at her family home and she said they brought memories to her, pointing to her mother’s vanity where she would spend time with her heated curlers and lipsticks.

“The exhibition is very realistic, like it depicts someone’s life,” said Danielle Bowler, secondary education major. “My favorite artworks are the embroidered portraits of pill bottles.” They are part of “The Apartment” series and they represent how present they were in her life as her parents aged.

Farmington community member Greg Kimber agreed with Bowler. “I really like the paintings of the pill bottles because they remind me of a children’s illustration from when I was a kid.” The free interpretation and the personal connection with the artworks are present in each of them.

Anyone interested in the exhibit can visit the Art Gallery at 246 Main St. on  noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday, and by appointment.