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First Year Fusion
In August 2019, UMF piloted a new set of First Year Fusion courses that began with a 5-day field experience prior to fall orientation. Two FYF sections led by Geography Professors Matt McCourt and Jesse Minor traveled around the state to speak and work with people who are Making Change in Rural Maine. After the students returned to campus to start the fall semester, these courses continued to incorporate experiential education in their curriculum through project-based learning to become local “change-makers” in the service of Sweatt-Winter, the preschool located at the heart of UMF’s campus. McCourt’s section redesigned their play space based on the theory of nature-based playscapes the students had studied. Minor’s section proposed a new pedestrian bridge to replace a nearby crosswalk that had been removed to improve traffic flow but made it more difficult for the pre-schoolers to get down to the Sandy River.
Professor Matt McCourt watches a Sweatt-Winter student play with a weaving loom that his students designed.
Despite the transition to online learning, students in Prof. Misty Beck’s "Dig-It-All Community Gardening" course and Prof. Gretchen Legler’s "Dig in and Dig on: (Digital) Farming for Farmington" course worked together to design a community garden located next to the Olsen Student Center. The courses examined the various aspects of gardening including planting strategies, lightmaps, accessibility, and designs in order to create an optimal garden. Beck’s students were also encouraged to grow their own gardens at home. Emma Charles, an early college student, said that before she took this course she wasn’t the best gardener “but I learned a lot about farming like how important it is to let your plants do their thing.” Charles also went on to say that as she begins her college search, projects like the community garden are “the kinda thing that stands out.”
Students work to create a community garden
located next to the Olsen Student Center
Sustainable Campus Coalition
The Sustainable Campus Coalition is an organization on the UMF campus that focuses on helping students through the Thrifty Beaver, and educate them about sustainability through on campus events. In the Fall Semester of 2019 they held a Climate Strike to educate and show the urgency that is needed to combat climate change.
Presentation created by AJ Saulnier for the Maine Campus Compact highlighting various activities by the SCC.