Friday Futurecast — September 11

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast.

These updates are archived on the UMaine Fall 2020 website. The University of Maine at Machias also has a Fall 2020 website.

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy: 

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

Today is the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedies, and we remember those who lost their lives and honor those who risked their lives Sept. 11, 2001.

Vice President and Dean Robert Dana wrote to students yesterday to thank them “for a wonderful opening to our academic year” and for “a remarkable job keeping yourselves and each other safe and healthy.” I want to echo that same gratitude and expand it to the thousands of faculty, staff and community members who also have played important roles in keeping people safe. We have completed two weeks, and as of yesterday’s Together for Maine posting, we see that UMaine has only four positive COVID-19 cases and UMM has none. The wastewater testing has not revealed any evidence of the virus. Phase three testing begins next week and we will continue to learn how to keep our campus communities healthy.

Hearing your questions, suggestions, ideas and concerns matters to us — please contact Let’s keep working together to make sure that learning keeps going, for all of us. 


Joan Ferrini-Mundy


Partnering to address health 

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • The University of Maine at Machias will launch a monthly email newsletter in October, featuring news stories, alumni spotlights, event highlights and important campus updates. Click here to subscribe.

In-person, on-campus experiences and other learning modes

  • Save the dates for some not-to-miss UMaine virtual events this month. They include Family and Friends Weekend, Sept. 25–27, and Maine Impact Week, beginning Sept. 28. See the websites for the full list of activities.

  • New Balance Recreation and Fitness Center entered phase two of reopening, which will increase capacity to 120 users and eliminate the need for a reservation system. All health and safety protocols remain in place. Fifteen virtual fitness classes are offered each week.

  • Maine Bound Adventure Center has information online about equipment rentals, indoor rock climbing center hours as well as on-campus trips and educational clinics, all following health and safety guidelines. This month, the Honors College has collaborated with Maine Bound to set up a series of activities for incoming students, including canoeing, outdoor yoga, stand-up paddleboarding, and the high ropes course. These activities are funded by the Bill and Betsy ’55 Leitch Campus Activities Fund.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • “Black Bear Neighborhood” curriculum has been introduced in the residence halls, featuring programs and community development initiatives that encourage student growth in self-understanding, leadership and community membership. For more information, write Residence Life,

  • Yesterday, we launched the Black Bears Care Fund. The Black Bears Care Fund was created by the University of Maine Foundation to help UMaine and its regional campus, UMaine Machias, offset some of the unplanned expenses related to the pandemic. Funds raised will assist students and other members of the UMaine community, and help ensure the health and safety needed to fulfill their mission. Alumnus Norman Stetson ’62 has generously offered to match gifts 1:1 up to the first $15,000 to help launch the fundraising. As of 2 p.m. today, over $13,000 has been raised. For more information or to make a gift:

High-quality learning in the pandemic context

  • The Tutor Program is offering small-group tutoring via Zoom for 28 high-demand 100- and 200-level courses this fall. Students in these courses received emails with sign-up instructions. More information about the Tutor Program and its resources for all students is online.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • Plan a visit to UMaine’s Zillman Art Museum (ZAM) in downtown Bangor, where admission is always free. ZAM has five new exhibitions on view, including its featured show of JoAnne Carson’s large-scale whimsical sculptures. Made from cloth, plaster, resins, and other materials, Carson’s oversized handmade botanicals are reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’ imagery. 

  • The Collins Center for the Arts provides a weekly Pick Six of suggestions for artistic or cultural offerings. Check out this week’s picks online.

  • Two virtual events Sept. 21 address race on campus: 

    • Black@UMaine: A workshop for students, staff and faculty The current national climate around race in the U.S. has again highlighted the long-standing disregard for Black lives. In this discussion with race scholar and UMaine alumna Shontay Delalue (’00, ’03G), students will have the opportunity to share their experiences with anti-Blackness and explore how they can leverage their time on campus to enhance their leadership skills and prepare for life beyond UMaine. Via Zoom on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. (link: here).

    • Constructing race: History of Race and Racism in the U.S. Race scholars have long posited that the institutions that make up the fabric of U.S. society are built on racial hierarchies. This talk, also by Shontay Delalue, will address the construction of race, its role in the founding of the U.S., the insidious ways in which it shows up in our daily lives, as well as several ways faculty can actively support students from underrepresented groups. Via Zoom on Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. Click here to register. The session is free; limited to 300 registrants.