UMF Coordinator Of Conferences & Events Ernestine Hutchinson, left, shares a laugh with a local at the “Connecting with the Community” event held on Tuesday, April 2. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington held its second annual “Connecting with the Community” social event on Tuesday, April 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. in The Landing, which is on the lower level of the Olsen Student Center.

Members of the public were invited to attend and learn more about what UMF has to offer the community, as well as explore parts of the student center and sample food catered by Sodexo. Attendees were also invited to check out The Beaver Lodge to see how students relax in their free time.

Community members from around Franklin County were given the opportunity to meet with representatives of UMF’s many different programs and student organizations, such as UMF’s Adult Degree Completion, GoldLEAF, Emery Community Arts Center, Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center, Mainely Outdoors, UMF Fitness & Recreation Center, Veterans Student Group, Athletics, Mantor Library and many more.

UMF President Joseph McDonnell, right, strolls through the school’s “Connecting with the Community” event held on Tuesday, April 2, ready and eager to speak with members of the community about what more the university can offer. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

“Part of our mission is to be open to the community,” President Joseph McDonnell shared at the event. “We have a dual mission; we support our students, but we also support the community.

“We want to get as many community people here to see what we have to offer and get a dialogue with them to see what we can do to better support the community,” he added.

Previously, the event was held in the Mantor Library, but this year it was moved to the student center to allow community members to explore and become familiar with a different part of the UMF campus.


UMF Sophomore Cheylin Meader, left, chats with Assistant Professor of Visual Arts and Director of Emery Community Arts Center Ann Bartges, right, at the “Connecting with the Community” event held on Tuesday, April 2. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

“I think that it can be easy for people to forget that UMF isn’t just here for students,” Library Director Bryce Cundick said. “We are also here for the public. For example, the cafeteria is open, and so is The Beaver Lodge here. The public can just come in and eat there, it’s not like you have to have a student ID to do it.”

“This is a much-needed event,” Charlie Woodworth, the executive director of Greater Franklin Development Council, shared with The Franklin Journal at the event.

“UMF is the reason Farmington is a college town,” he continued. “That’s a huge asset for the region. The staff, the employees, the students, the fabric of this community, it bleeds off UMF.

“If you’re a student, you’re familiar with all of this, but for us locals, we need to be informed,” he added.

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