Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow Sen. Anne Haskell to Visit UMaine Jan. 31

University of Maine News - Thu, 01/30/2014 - 12:02

Margaret Chase Smith Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow Sen. Anne Haskell will visit the University of Maine on Friday, Jan. 31. The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center brings its fellows to campus for a day to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty about research and public policy, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. Assistant Majority Leader Anne Haskell is serving her first term in the Senate, representing Maine’s District 9, which includes parts of Portland and Westbrook. She previously served six terms in the Maine House, three representing Gorham, and three representing Portland.

Haskell has been recognized as a fellow of the organization, as she is a distinguished individual with a past or current career as a policymaker in the state of Maine.

While visiting campus, Sen. Haskell will talk to an introduction to American law class and meet with UMaine President Paul Ferguson, Vice President for Research Carol Kim, Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development Jake Ward, and Director of Economic Development Initiatives Renee Kelly. Haskell will also tour the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center, Advanced Structures and Composites Center and Advanced Manufacturing Center. The senator’s visit will conclude with a reception held at the University Club in Fogler Library at 4 p.m.

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Baker Featured in BDN Column About His Award-Winning Play

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 12:46

Travis Baker, who teaches English at the University of Maine, was the focus of the latest column in the Bangor Daily News’ Conversations with Maine series. Baker spoke about the inspiration for his play “One Blue Tarp,” which was named Best Play for the state of Maine in the 2013 Clauder New England Playwright Competition. “One Blue Tarp” runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 16 at the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor.

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Women’s Basketball Team Visits Hampden School to Raise Money for Play 4Kay, WABI Reports

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 12:45

WABI (Channel 5) reported members of the University of Maine women’s basketball team and head coach Richard Barron visited Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden to raise money for Play 4Kay, an initiative that gives coaches and teams the opportunity to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research through games and community events. The middle school students took part in a free throw shootout to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, the official charity of the initiative. The women’s basketball team’s annual Play 4Kay game will be held Feb. 9.

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UMaine Offshore Wind Project Focus of EarthTechling Article

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:20

A proposed offshore wind pilot project by Maine Aqua Ventus, which includes the University of Maine and partner companies, is the focus of an EarthTechling article titled “Maine keeps offshore wind project afloat.” The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted earlier in January to approve the terms of the consortium’s project which seeks to build two turbines off the coast of Monhegan Island and supply power to 7,000 homes.

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Maine Edge Reports on Free Tax Help Offered by Accounting Students

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:19

The Maine Edge reported accounting students in the Maine Business School at the University of Maine will offer free federal and state income tax filing assistance, under the supervision of Steven Colburn, associate professor of accounting. Except for the weeks of March 2 and 9, sessions will be held 2–4:30 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 6 to April 10 at 312 D.P. Corbett Business Building and noon to 3 p.m. Fridays, Jan. 31 to April 11 at the Orono Public Library, 39 Pine St.

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Student’s Vegetable Study Mentioned in The Maine Edge

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:15

The Maine Edge reported on a study being conducted by Kelly Koss, a University of Maine student pursuing a master’s degree in food science and human nutrition. Koss is seeking 100 children to take part in her research that will test whether they are more apt to eat a vegetable that is a novel, bright color, such as purple potatoes or orange cauliflower.

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10th Annual International Dance Festival Feb. 15 at Collins Center

University of Maine News - Wed, 01/29/2014 - 11:13

The University of Maine will hold the 10th annual International Dance Festival (IDF) on Feb. 15 at the Collins Center for the Arts. The performances, which are free and open to the public, will take place at 2 and 7 p.m. The event, featuring more than 100 individuals from all over the globe, is expected to draw over 1,500 audience members. The IDF was a student-led initiative that began in 2005 with an audience of 150 watching 20 performers. The IDF is organized by the Office of International Programs and the International Student Association. Information about the dance festival is available online or by calling the Office of International Programs at 207.581.2905.

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WABI Interviews Student About Coast-to-Coast Run for Cancer

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:59

WABI (Channel 5) spoke with University of Maine sophomore Matt Dexter about his participation in 4K for Cancer — a 4,000-mile team run from San Francisco, Calif. to Baltimore, Md. that aims to raise awareness of cancer and raise money for cancer research. For 42 days during the summer, Dexter and 33 other college students will run about 10 miles a day. During rest days, the students plan to visit hospitals and give college scholarships to young adults fighting cancer. Dexter, whose mother died from cancer when he was 13, said he wants to affect at least one person’s life in a positive way.

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The Grower Reports on UMaine Student’s Colored Vegetable Study

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:58

The Grower reported on a study being conducted by Kelly Koss, a University of Maine student pursuing a master’s degree in food science and human nutrition. Koss is seeking 100 children to take part in her research that will test whether they are more apt to eat a vegetable that is a novel, bright color, such as purple potatoes or orange cauliflower.

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WVII Interviews UMaine Student at Women’s Health Center Event

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:58

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with University of Maine sociology major Shannon Brenner at the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center Choice and Chocolate event in Bangor. The event was held to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade and to raise awareness of the 1-in-3 Campaign that aims to silence the stigma related to abortion. Brenner, who is also co-chairwoman of the UMaine Student Women’s Association and promoter of the 1-in-3 Campaign, said sharing personal stories about abortion can help people connect to the woman behind the stories. UMaine alumna Abbie Strout, education and outreach coordinator for Mabel Wadsworth, was also interviewed for the report.

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Acheson Talks to Press Herald About Poverty in Maine

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:57

Ann Acheson, a research associate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article titled “In State of the Union, ideas to close income gap relevant for Mainers.” Acheson said Maine has a traditionally lower-than-average poverty rate, as well as a high number of people who are “working poor” or living just above the poverty line.

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BDN Publishes Butler’s Fifth Profile on Struggling Mainers

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:54

The Bangor Daily News published the fifth article in a yearlong series by Sandra Butler, a professor of social work at the University of Maine, and Luisa Deprez, a professor and department chair of sociology and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine. “Going back to college at 50, and why it’s a dream come true” is the pair’s latest column to share stories of Mainers struggling in today’s economy.

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Third Annual BearFest Dance Marathon to be Held Feb. 1

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:53

The University of Maine is holding the third annual 12-hour BearFest Dance Marathon at 6 p.m. Feb. 1 at the New Balance Student Recreation Center to raise money for Eastern Maine Medical Center, an EMHS Foundation Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. The event — put on by students — aims to raise more than last year’s record of $52,000, with a $60,000 goal for 2014. As of Jan. 28, teams have raised $17,900. To participate, a minimum of $30 must be raised. Pledge and disability services information is available on the BearFest website.

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Innovate for Maine Internship Program Accepting Applications

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:38

The University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation is seeking motivated, innovative Maine college students and Maine companies that want to make a difference for the state through the Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG) Innovate for Maine Fellows program, supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

The BxG Innovate for Maine Fellows program connects the best and brightest Maine college students with the state’s most exciting, growing companies as a way to grow and create jobs in Maine through innovation and entrepreneurship. The program, which is now accepting applications, offers paid internships that place students with companies to receive training in innovation and entrepreneurship, and real-world job experience. Other benefits include potential academic credit and networking opportunities with Maine businesses and other students.

Applications are also available for Maine companies looking for summer interns. Trained innovation experts guide and mentor both the student and the company for the duration of the project.

The application deadline for both fellows and companies is March 1, 2014. More information and applications for the Innovate for Maine program are online.

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UMaine Alum to Play Saxophone with BSO, Work with Students

University of Maine News - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 14:35

University of Maine alumnus David Demsey will play the saxophone with the Bangor Symphony on Saturday, Feb. 1 and host a master class with six UMaine School of Performing Arts saxophone students on Jan. 31. During his visit, Demsey will also work with the UMaine Jazz Ensemble.

Demsey is a professor of music and coordinator of jazz studies at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music education from UMaine in 1977, he received a master’s in music from the Juilliard School and earned a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music.

For more information and to order tickets for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “The Music of John Williams,” visit the BSO’s website.

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Master of Civil Engineering Student, Rachael Joyce, Manages Local Business on the Side

Grad School NEWS - Tue, 01/28/2014 - 12:34

Posted January 28, 2014

Rachael Joyce is a graduate civil engineering student who also co-manages and -owns Volition Ski Co. with her fiancé, Christopher Bagley. They hand-make skis out of environmentally friendly materials which are sold online, at Ski Rack Sports in Bangor, and Side Country Sports in Rockland. The company was born from Joyce and her fiancé’s hard work, creativity, and an investment from the Maine Technology Institute. Joyce also works full-time at the Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center on a team developing offshore wind technology, including the system currently being tested off the coast of Castine, ME. She said of her involvement in off-shore wind and the ski company, “My hope is that new industry flourishes as a result of the work being done at the Composites Center. On a smaller scale, I hope that maybe other entrepreneurs see what we are trying to do at Volition Ski Co. and be encouraged to pursue their own venture.”

The Bangor Daily News recently published a story on Joyce from the perspective of keeping young, innovative individuals living in Maine. To check out that story, please go here.

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Maria NeCastro: Combining Journalistic Passions

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/27/2014 - 17:15

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When senior journalism student, Maria NeCastro of Machias, Maine, embarked on her Honors College thesis, she was inspired by Ida Tarbell’s muckraking work “The History of The Standard Oil Company.”

Muckrakers were a league of American journalistic reporters and novelists in the late 1800s to early 1900s seeking to raise awareness of societal issues and expose corruption. Although the modern cultural definition of muckraking is associated with tabloid writers, it also includes investigative journalists.

With an internship with UMaine’s Division of Marketing and Communications and plans for a career in public relations, NeCastro, 21, is finding a way to combine both her journalistic passions in her final project as a UMaine student.

Seniors in the Honors College are required to complete a thesis, which will also serve as NeCastro’s journalism capstone. The psychology minor’s project “Muckrakers vs. Public Relations: The Struggle to Shape Public Opinion,” explores the relationship between modern muckrakers and public relations forces that try to minimize damage from groundbreaking reports. She hopes to benefit future investigative reporters by showing how public relation strategies borrow from journalistic techniques to undermine independent, investigative reporting.

“As one of my mentors told me, seasoned journalists make some of the best public relations professionals. In the case of a scandal a journalist can borrow the schemes of the corporate public relations specialists to find any and all missing pieces from the corporation’s press releases and public announcements. While a corporation may seem to provide a thorough message, there is always more investigative research to be done to find the whole truth that the public deserves,” said NeCastro.

What inspired you to chose this thesis?
Since taking CMJ 211 (Journalism Studies I: Introduction and History) during my very first semester at UMaine, I have been fascinated with the idea of muckraking. I fell in love with the work of Ida Tarbell, a muckraker who wrote “The History of the Standard Oil Company” as part of a series of articles that were published in McClure’s Magazine in the early 1900s. When I was beginning to come up with ideas for my thesis, I knew that I wanted to study something related to the field of muckraking and investigative journalism, yet I wanted to be able to relate the work I would be doing to the career I hope to pursue in public relations.

Which “modern muckrakers” will you be researching?
I’ll be writing about Rachel Carson (author of “Silent Spring”), Barbara Ehrenreich (author of “Nickel and Dimed”) and Eric Schlosser (author of “Fast Food Nation”). Each of these extraordinary authors were and are some are the best investigative journalists of the mid-20th and early 21st century. Their work called for change and educated many about issues, from the environment to the dangers of unhealthy eating.

Doing a thesis is a huge commitment. What benefits do you gain from doing one? Why is it worth it?
Writing a thesis is about researching and writing about something that is significant to the writer. I have found that it is also about learning to collaborate with faculty who have expertise in the topic being studied. It may not be something that’s worth the time commitment in the eyes of everyone, but I am grateful that it serves as my senior capstone in journalism.

Not every student at UMaine gets the opportunity to conduct a thesis — or chooses to. What made you decide to taken on the project?
Before I began taking courses in the Honors College, I was not sure that the course would be right for me, but as time went on, I realized how beneficial the whole Honors sequence can be to an education. The thesis process serves as a way to apply the great Honors College themes of philosophy, history and literature in a final project that is really relatable to both my education and my career.

The Honors College creates a special experience for UMaine students. What has your experience with the Honors College been like?
There was nothing I enjoyed more in my two years of taking the Civilizations course (a sequence taken for four semesters by all students in the Honors College) than sitting down in a giant Neville lecture hall and listening to top scholars and speakers explain the concepts of everything from Plato’s “Cave” to Dutch art to Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” I really loved the idea of being able to learn something beyond the basics.

What is your favorite memory from your time with Honors?
It was when my father, a Medieval scholar who teaches at University of Maine at Machias, lectured on Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales.”

What other activities, groups or projects are you involved in on campus?
I am involved with the UMaine chapter of HerCampus, an online publication. I’ve been writing movie reviews for the publication for over a year now and love being able to write about fun topics while collaborating with members of all different majors and interests. I’ve also written for The Maine Campus.

Why did you choose UMaine?
I decided to go to UMaine because it was close enough to home that I’d never get truly homesick, but also far enough away that I’d be able to grow up and become my own person.

Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, if so how?
I think that this internship experience at the Division of Marketing and Communications has provided me with some of the best mentors and role models I could have ever asked for. It has been one of my most influential experiences. I love the feeling of the intellectual and creative community to which it has exposed me.

What is the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you’ve taken at UMaine? Why?
I think that my favorite class is Hollie Smith’s public relations course. It not only taught me about what the world of public relations, it also helped me understand my passion for the field. I also have loved taking psychology classes. The study of human thought and development will always fascinate me.

What difference has UMaine made in your life, helping you reach your goals?
UMaine has really helped me become a more independent thinker. I originally started out with an accounting minor, but after a few hits and misses, I came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to switch to a subject in which I was truly interested. UMaine made that process easy, and thus has helped me understand that life is full of people trying to find their way to happiness.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
This is some of the least followed advice in the world, but I’d say: Don’t procrastinate. I’ve found that there’s so much more time to focus on fun activities when you’re not stressed about getting all of your work done at the last possible moment.

What are your plans after graduating from UMaine? What has the Department of Communications and Journalism, DMC and/or your classes, done to help your career?
My journalism and communications background gained from UMaine and the Division of Marketing and Communications has helped me recognize my strengths and weaknesses, increase my communicative skills and realize my passion for the career field. After graduating, I plan to temporarily work at my summer job in my hometown while looking for public relations-related job openings in New England. Within a couple years, I hope to further my education with a master’s degree in a marketing and communications program.

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Amber Smith: Making a Difference Through Engineering

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/27/2014 - 17:05

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When Amber Smith of Ipswich, Mass. signed up for her senior capstone design project, she knew she would be helping her resume, but she didn’t know she would be helping others, as well.

A person is 60 percent less likely to contract HIV if they have been circumcised, according to a current clinical study being conducted. The World Health Organization along with other organizations is working to come up with a plan to circumcise men in Africa.

With this statistic in mind, Smith, a mechanical engineering student at the University of Maine, and two other students — Grant Aylward and Sam Davidson — are working to create a disposable circumcision device that destructs after one use. The current tool is made of chrome-plated brass, and the new device would be plastic and less expensive to produce.

“You’re working with patients that have HIV or potentially could have it, and you don’t want to spread it to either the surgeons or to other patients that you’re working with,” said Smith.

Over the past two summers, Smith worked through internships at Stryker Orthopaedics, a company specializing in joint replacements. Working to help people gain their life back became a goal after Smith witnessed and experienced all the injuries of her teammates on the UMaine Women’s basketball team.

Smith played on the team for four years before she was deemed medically unable to play. During her redshirt freshman season she was a finalist for the America East Fan’s Choice Player of the Year while contributing an average of 10.0 points per game. She was ranked 14th in the conference in scoring and named Rookie of the Week twice.

How did you get involved with this project?
This project is part of our senior design project (capstone) we have to do during our final year of the mechanical engineering curriculum. Peter Millard, the epidemiologist we are working with on this project, came to the Mechanical Engineering Department with the project idea to design a circumcision clamp to better fit the needs of the sub-Saharan African population. The HIV prevention project, as well as a handful of other projects, were offered and each student applied for the project of their choice. I knew I wanted to work in the health care industry, and this project seemed like a great opportunity.

What kind of design challenge does this device represent?
It definitely needs to be single-use, and it needs to be self-destructing. A lot of times because they [people in Africa] don’t have the resources we do, they will try to sterilize it, and they will try to clean it and use it again. We have to design this tool so once it has gone through its cycle to completion, it has to break and it has to be unusable at that point.

Having this device be disposable, what does that do to the risk of spreading HIV?
By having this be something you can throw away — a single-use device — you’re not using it over and over again; you’re not cleaning it, you’re not going to have to sterilize it. It makes it so you’re at much less risk of spreading it to the other patients you’re working with because you’re doing 30–40 million in total.

How challenging has this project been?
It definitely is a challenge. This isn’t really a new issue. People have tried to do this before. There’s a tool the South Africans have made, there’s a tool China has come up with. Some surgeons and groups like it and some don’t. The surgeon that we’re working with is out of Mozambique — he’s an epidemiologist out of Bangor. He’s the one we’re working with and he has come to us and asked us to design a new circumcision tool. We’re also trying to make it under a dollar a piece, because we’re mass-producing all of these.

What is this experience doing for you in terms of becoming an engineer and deciding if this is a career you want to pursue?
This is absolutely something I want to pursue. I’ve always liked the health care field. I come from a family of engineers and I’ve spent the last two years working for Stryker Orthopaedics, designing prosthetic implants. It’s the exact same design process I’ve been using, so I do have a little bit of experience in this field. It’s definitely not the same thing, but it presents a new twist as far as cutting down on price and material and mass-producing these tools. It’s a great opportunity; it’s exciting to be able to have this kind of impact. Sixty percent is a huge statistic. To be able to cut down on the spread of HIV; it’s an epidemic and to have the opportunity to reduce its effect is a huge deal.

Do you think this project is giving you a skill that is marketable to go into this field?
Absolutely, it’s real life anytime you can go through the design process; anytime that you can go from idea conception to prototype generation to coming up with a physical model. We have an opportunity to send this to Africa. The epidemiologist we’re working with is going to choose one of four designs [from the four groups working on the project] at the end. We may be looking at clinical trial opportunities, which is pretty cool. To be able to put that on your resume would be a head start on most other recent college grads in the country.

The hope is you’re going to come up with something that’s really going to make a difference?
Exactly. You can make a difference doing this; it’s not just something you can put on your resume. I mean, that’s nice, but you can make a difference in people’s lives. I think that’s what initially drew me to the health care field. Because I played basketball here, that’s part of my life, too. You see injuries, you see people blow out their knees, you see people ruin ankles and hips. A lot of the time, without some sort of surgery, these injuries are life altering. The health care field is coming up with new solutions all the time and to be able to give someone’s life back is pretty cool.

In terms of basketball, your career ended quicker than you would have liked, have you been able to channel your energies into this project?
My career did end more suddenly than I would have liked it to. Medically, I wasn’t able to play anymore. It took me a while to come to terms with that, but it’s OK, and I am able to focus on developing my career now and it’s something I really enjoy doing. Not playing basketball and not being up here training all summer has allowed me to have internships these past two summers and to focus more on my career.

Are there parallels between the work ethic to be a good basketball player and the diligence needed to be an engineer?
The discipline it takes to play basketball — your work ethic, consistency, persistence, all of these things — are things you can apply to schoolwork and the work environment, as well. You’ve got to get the job done. That’s something that is important as an engineer; the ability to get the job done. It’s not really about the time you put in, or what you were originally taught, but more about your ability to find a way to get the job done.

This is probably the hardest thing you’ve had to do as an engineer, does this bring all the skills you’ve learned to a point?
Definitely. One of the cool things about this project is it’s a culmination of what I’ve learned and all the classes that I’ve taken. That being said, a lot of the project consists of discovering things on your own. You find people to help you and you learn things. It’s cool you get to teach yourself. I think that’s a big part of the education here. They may not teach you everything, but they teach you how to find what you need to know.

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Media Cover Skate with the Bears Event, World Series Trophy Viewing

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/27/2014 - 15:55

WABI (Channel 5), WLBZ (Channel 2) and WVII (Channel 7) covered the Skate with the Bears event held at the Alfond Arena. Fans of all ages were invited to meet members of the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams during the free event Sunday afternoon. Also at the Alfond Arena on Sunday were Red Sox staff, mascot Wally the Green Monster and the 2013 Commissioner’s Trophy — presented annually to the Major League Baseball World Series Champions. WVII (Channel 7), Bangor Daily News and WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the trophy visit in Orono and Bangor.

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Morin Talks to Press Herald About Black Bear Exchange Food Pantry

University of Maine News - Mon, 01/27/2014 - 15:53

Lisa Morin, coordinator of the University of Maine’s Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article about college food pantries. Morin said UMaine’s Black Bear Exchange food pantry, which opened in 2009, serves about 30 people a week and is self-sustaining through year-round food drives and fundraisers. She added she has noticed an increase of visits from students, faculty and staff.

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