BETHEL — An inside look at the University of Maine’s Orono campus earlier this month provided Telstar Freshmen Academy students with a greater understanding of the academics and layout of University of Maine System’s flagship campus.

The trip was part of the unit the class is currently studying, which focuses on “innovation, collaboration and communication.”

“It’s a lot about invention and problem solving and the design process,” 4-H Professional Educator Norm Greenberg said.

The TFA tries to take an outside trip somewhere with each unit they study, according to Greenberg.

The first thing students did when they arrived at the school was attend a planetarium show, which explained the many benefits space technology has created for people.

Among the other buildings the students got a look at were the Advanced Structures and Composites building, Advanced Mechanical building, and the Innovative Media and Research Center.

One of the many highlights for the students was seeing the world’s largest 3D printer and the largest object ever printed — a 5,000 pound, 25-foot-long boat called the 3Dirigo.

Computer, chemical, electrical and biomedical engineering were other subjects covered during the tour.

On top of all the different academic facilities, students got to see the what the rest of the campus had to offer, including the university’s dining hall, library and athletic center.

Telstar Freshmen Academy students work on a project recently. Norm Greenberg photo

Students had the chance to connect with Telstar alumni studying at UMO, who are now either freshmen or sophomores there.

“The fact that students got to meet people that were in their same shoes four or five years ago was pretty eye opening for them,” Greenberg said. “It was a great moment for the students.”

Greenberg said many of the students were in awe with the physical environment of the campus, which currently enrolls more than 9,000 undergraduate students.

“There were a lot of things that were eye-opening for the students. The diversity was definitely something that stood out,” Greenberg said.

Another thing that surprised students was the amount of food choices they had at one of three dining halls at the university.

The students attended a performance by the UMO Symphony Orchestra at the Collins Center for the Arts. The symphonic band from Orono’s neighbor, Old Town, also played at the center. Greenberg said both performances impressed the students. The Old Town High School band was made up of close to 100 people.

“Our students were blown away with how big the band was and also how well they sounded,” Greenberg said. The Telstar students were sitting near the front of the show.

Greenberg said each student connected with at least one part the tour. The planetarium show and the dining hall were among the biggest hits.

“I think they had a great experience,” Greenberg said.

The class spent two days in Orono and stayed overnight at the Black Bear Inn.


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