A batch of students sat around an oval table. For a close group of friends, they were unusually serious. They were discussing goals and fundraising. “Our goals are twofold: to be a bigger presence…and to get involved with the community,” Margaret Hart, the on-campus Student Education Association of Maine president, said.
February’s First Friday Art Walk started on the quiet second floor of the Center for Innovative Learning on the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus. Everyone viewed featured artist Owen Smith’s art and talked in hushed voices. Despite the quiet, the room had excitement buzzing throughout the air. There were pieces on display that one wouldn’t expect to see on the Reed Art Gallery walls. One consisted of a large collection of different scissors entitled “A Morphological Study of Potential Terrorist Acts.” Another was a collection of different variations of “Starry Night” by Van Gough that Smith bought from many different artists online.
The atmosphere in Wieden Auditorium on Feb. 3 was full of excitement. Roughly 100 people gathered in the auditorium to watch Josh Johnson, a stand-up comedian from Fort Worth, Texas, perform. Despite bad weather and the campus being closed from 3 p.m. onward, Johnson made it safely to UMPI and was eagerly waiting to perform.
For about a year, Pamela Easler has been a part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. She does many different things to help it run smoothly. Her job is not one specific task. It is several and not always the same every day. Everything she does keeps her very busy. This ranges anywhere from keeping track of budget spending to helping other people accomplish their duties. “I provide administrative support for full-time and adjunct faculty.” She does all of this while maintaining close relationships with the faculty. This includes 23 full-time and (depending on the class schedule) around 30 adjunct faculty.
March is almost here. Soon the senior citizens, the “grandparents,” will arrive in droves. They have been coming onto the campus at this time of year for almost two decades.
When we are walking through the University of Maine Presque Isle campus, there is a hero among us: Saint the service dog. Dr. Jacqui Lowman, known as Dr. J. to her students, has had Saint since August of 2010. Dr. J. was born with health and physical challenges caused in part by her spina bifida. Saint is her first service dog. When asked why this was she said, “I always thought that other people needed a service dog more than I do. That one day it would be bad enough that I would need a service dog. When I asked my doctor when that day would come she said, “‘Birth.’” On that day Dr. J. learned that a service dog could be of use to her now, that she needed one and that she had deserved one from the moment she was born.
Swift action from UMPI’s president and faculty helped soften a blow to the campus’s pocketbook. Thanks to an increase in student enrollment and help from the University of Maine System, UMPI is back on track to a stabilized budget.
A few students huddled in a square of couches, getting ready for the first 100% Society meeting of the year. They were excited to formally meet the 100% Society’s new adviser, Dr. John DeFelice. The meeting began. Everyone was a bit nervous about the change in advisers, but ready to dive in.
There is one question that many college students have to face at some point. What will they do after they graduate? For some students, the answer is easy. They choose a major and find out that they love it. But for other students, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes they find what they want to do just when they think they won’t.
How many places can you think of where you can take classes, be active and meet a group of great people? Is Gentile Hall on that list? Well, maybe it should be. This year, Gentile Hall is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It would be nice to take a moment to appreciate what this building has done for the UMPI campus as well as the community.