August 1, 2003
With classes set to begin on September 4, the University of Maine at Fort Kent is preparing to welcome new students with an exciting and eventful orientation program.
This year's incoming class will celebrate the 125th year that UMFK has welcomed students through its doors since it was founded in 1878.
Organized similarly to a professional conference, with numerous concurrent workshop sessions and afternoon adventures the two-day event is designed to benefit every new UMFK student.
"Orientation is a festive and energetic time on the UMFK campus" said Scott Voisine, student services director, who is coordinating the orientation program. "Everyone on campus plays some part in welcoming new students and welcoming back our returning students."
Each year Voisine develops a theme for the conference program that reflects upon the students' upcoming year at the Fort Kent campus. This year's theme, in keeping with the 125th anniversary, is "UMFK's 125th; a Celebration" which, according to the student services director, encompasses more than one meaning.
"Orientation is a celebration every year. It's a celebration of new experiences and new adventures for our incoming students," said Voisine. "This year, with our 125th anniversary, the celebration takes on a special meaning. That's why orientation, this year, is a huge birthday party for all of us at UMFK."
The orientation program will begin for residence hall students on September 1 and continue for three days. All new students will participate in orientation activities on September 2 and 3.
Among the afternoon adventures that will be offered are "The Hedgehog Hike" presented by environmental and forestry faculty. This exciting and insightful adventure will give participants the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon in the great Northern Maine outdoors and learn a little more about the region's natural environment and about each other.
"Row, Row, Row Your Boat Canoe Trip" where participants will have the opportunity to paddle our local lakes and rivers will be coordinated and guided by Don Eno, academic outreach coordinator.
"Go Chasing Waterfalls" a hike to the Fish River Falls, affords new students the opportunity to take a jaunt to one of the areas most beautiful sites.
Another session entitled "Workin' on Workin' Out" will take place at the UMFK SportsCenter. The athletic staff will open the gymnasium for student use. The workshop will introduce students to the state-of-the-art facilities in the weight room and cardio equipment room. They will also have the opportunity to shoot some hoops or play a quick game of racquetball or volleyball. In addition to the workshops, the students will be able to taste test birthday cakes, which will be available in every office on campus.
"Peddle Power Pursuit" offers participants the opportunity to join Jenny Radsma, associate professor of nursing, on a leisurely bike trip on the new Heritage Trail system to enjoy Northern Maine's natural beauty and get some exercise in as well.
Other workshops that fit in with the 125th celebration are "UMFK Athletics: How to Deal with Too Much Birthday Cake", "Don't Clown Around with Success", "Doing the Leadership Limbo", "Pin the Tail on a Librarian", and "Get the Gift of Computer Savvy".
Again this year "The Making College Count" program will focus on key points that every student should know to make the most of college and to build a path toward success. This year's program theme "Unleash Your Inner Monster" encourages students to take control of their experience and use it as a launching pad for their futures.
Other events that will take place are a "Welcome and Icebreaker" get-together, campus tours, six "It's Our Party" workshops to choose from, a "Nursing Program Orientation Session", a Bengal Birthday Barbecue Bash, a Theme Dinner, and a performance by Mike Burton, a comedian from BCA Entertainment. Burton's performance, which contains mature content and is not suitable for children, will be open to the general public.
This will mark the seventh year the University models their orientation program after the professional conference format and, by all accounts, it has been very successful.
"Birthday parties are memorable events," said Voisine. "This year's orientation birthday party will certainly be a memorable one for our new students."