Friday Futurecast — February 19

Health and safety update for university community members

Welcome to this week’s Friday Futurecast

These updates are archived on the UMaine Spring ’21 website. The University of Maine at Machias also has a Spring ’21 website.

Message from President Joan Ferrini-Mundy:

Dear members of the UMaine and UMM communities,

Earlier this week, we had an exciting look at the future of UMaine athletics that will change our landscape and shape our student experience for generations. As one of the four initiatives made possible by the $240 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, we are going to build outstanding facilities to support our student-athletes, campus recreation enthusiasts and youth statewide — our future Black Bears. This is a plan focused on gender equity, inclusive excellence and community building, providing an important resource for Maine. I encourage you to watch the video presentation on the athletics facilities master plan and the news conference. More information on the UMS Transforms investment is online.

I hope you continue to participate in Black History Month activities at UMaine and UMM, and in community events. Recent examples include this Northern Light Health podcast, “Common Pursuit of Racial, Social, and Medical Justice,” with Kimberly Whitehead, UMaine vice president and chief of staff.

I thank you for your continued commitment to the well-being of our campus communities. Your flexibility in learning, teaching and research, your vigilance in adhering to health and safety protocols, and your participation in ongoing COVID-19 testing are important and appreciated. We are getting through this, together.

Be well. 


Joan Ferrini-Mundy

Partnering to address health 

  • UMS Science Advisory Board lead Melissa Maginnis will present an online forum, “Overview of COVID-19,” during the 2021 Maine Science Festival, 4 p.m., March 2. Registration is available online.   

  • UMM has successfully completed the first week of phase six testing using the new Shield T3 saliva tests. Lab results will be accessible through the Safer Community smartphone app; more testing information and resources are online. Next week, normal testing hours will resume: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday, 4–6 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m.–noon Thursday in the Clipper Lounge.

  • UMaine’s phase six Shield T3 testing continues every weekday, with processing now happening on campus with the mobile lab for faster results. Note that guidance now allows those participating in testing to hydrate with water up to 30 minutes prior to their appointment. The other restrictions still apply regarding eating, drinking beverages or using mouthwash up to 60 minutes before testing. Please bring your smartphone with the app and your MaineCard to each testing appointment. Testing participants are asked not to have family members or friends accompany them to appointments. More information about phase six testing is online.

Transparent and continuing communication 

  • UMaine and UMM conducted a first spring flash survey at the end of the second week of classes. Students were asked what concerns they had and what student services they would like to see added or expanded. Some highlights of the responses:

    • Mental health is the top concern for UMaine undergraduate and graduate students, and among the top for UMM. When asked what student services they would like to see added or expanded, students most commonly mentioned counseling and mental health services, and general academic support (including tutoring services, more places to study/join remote classes on campus, and more lenient institutional grading policies).

    • Also at the top of the concerns for UMaine undergraduate respondents were grades and maintaining relationships with friends. For graduate students, in addition to mental health, top concerns were contracting COVID-19 and getting a job upon graduation. For UMM, students also were concerned about getting a job and paying for school.

    • Just over one quarter of UMaine undergraduate respondents and just over one third of UMM undergraduate respondents indicated food insecurity was somewhat of a concern or a concern.

  • Mental health resources are on the UMaine and UMM counseling center websites. The UMaine Center for Student Involvement and UMM Student Engagement and Inclusion Office offer activities throughout the week. Calendars of events for UMaine and UMM are online. In addition, go online for the latest information about assistance from the Black Bear Exchange. At UMM, items in the food pantry in the Student Union are available to be picked up 8 a.m.–9 p.m., Monday–Saturday,

  • Reminder: On the UMaine and UMM Commencement websites, we are taking suggestions for what we can do, in accordance with safety and health protocols, to make recognition events for graduating students as memorable and meaningful as possible. Current civil and university system guidance prohibits indoor gatherings such as our traditional UMaine Commencement ceremonies that attract 12,000 people to Alfond Arena.

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

  • Graduate students from the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture who applied to the college’s annual research awards will showcase their research with virtual 15-minute presentations at 10 a.m. Feb. 24 and 10 a.m.–1:15 p.m. March 1. All members of the UMaine and UMM communities are welcome to attend. Here’s the link and the password: 373555.

  • UMM intramurals include two new leagues: competitive karaoke and cornhole, both beginning next week in Reynolds Center Gymnasium. Sign up here for karaoke and here for cornhole.

  • UMaine and UMM faculty, staff and students who are outdoor enthusiasts are invited to hit the trails Feb. 21 for the annual Black Bear XC ski and snowshoe races on the University of Maine trails. The event is sponsored by UMaine Campus Recreation, Maine Bound Adventure Center, and the College of Education and Human Development’s Outdoor Leadership program. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the race is limited to 45 participants from the university communities. More information is online.

  • The 2021 UMaine Faculty Exhibition is on display in Lord Hall Gallery through March 12, showcasing work by Susan Camp, Wayne Hall, Samantha C. Jones, Andy Mauery, Robert Pollien, Matt Smolinsky and Giles Timms. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. weekdays, following health and safety guidance.

Flexibility, responsiveness, empathy, and science

  • Fogler Library’s Graduate Students Tips & Tricks Guide is a helpful introduction to the resources and research support services. The guide outlines services and resources related to scholarly publishing, accessing resources, teaching, literature reviews and more.

  • The UMM admissions office will host a virtual open house for prospective students at 6 p.m. Feb. 25. Information about UMaine Admissions upcoming virtual events are online.

Continuing our missions for Maine

  • The Careers in Outdoor Recreation events will be held over two days, sponsored by the UMaine Career Center and the Outdoor Leadership program in the College of Education and Human Development. UMaine and UMM students are invited to Zoom sessions on Feb. 22 to talk with representatives from Maine summer camps and guide companies. Feb. 23, students can participate in a virtual outdoor recreation job fair. The link to RSVP to the Zoom chats is online; the link to register for the job fair is on the Career Center website.

  • The President’s Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is hosting its inaugural session in the Nine Pillars of Diversity Lectures Series, “A Legacy of Advocacy: A Reflection on the History of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Maine,” by JoAnn Fritsche, first director of equal opportunity and women’s development at UMaine, 6–7 p.m., Feb. 25. This is the virtual event link.

  • The Collins Center for the Arts is paying tribute to Black History Month by presenting The Langston Hughes Project. The multimedia concert performance and celebration of music, spoken word and visuals is based on Hughes’ kaleidoscopic poem suite, “Ask Your Mama — 12 Moods for Jazz.” The homage to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at the beginning of the 1960s stars the Ron McCurdy Quartet. A recording of the event is available through Feb. 28, with a live Zoom Q&A with McCurdy at 7:30 p.m. March 1. To access the recording or to register for the Q&A, email

  • The 2021 Engineering Expo will be online this year, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Feb. 27, sponsored by Maine Maritime Academy, UMaine and University of Southern Maine. Register online