First Year Fusion: August 22 – 26

After a brief welcome to campus, you’ll have a 5-day field experience, arriving back on campus with a day to settle in before Fall Orientation begins.

You’ll arrive at Orientation with half a course under your belt, a connection with faculty, a crew of fellow UMFers to call your friends, your mind alive with ideas, and some good stories to tell.

The remainder of your First Year Seminar will be taught by the same faculty member during the first half of the Fall Semester. Your Seminar will wrap up in week 8, so you’ll have more time to focus on your other three courses. This course is part of your regular schedule, not in addition to.

Course fees vary by course and will be included in your Fall bill. Scholarships for First Year Fusion are available.

It was a transformative experience. I never would have imagined that a college course could be so impactful on my life.
— Koley True, UMF Class of ’23


Course Offerings for First Year Fusion 2021

Instructors: Kristen Case, Professor of English; and Aaron Wyanski, Asst. Professor of Music

Attention creatives! This course includes experimental art-making (think sound recording / drawing / book-making) with readings and discussions. Spend your first 5 days of the class in the beauty of the White Mountains. Your class will share stories and fav works of art and music. Look forward to open studio time in the evenings. Bring your pencils, your instrument, your notebooks and your unique style to this creative and fun seminar. But no previous artistic experience or equipment is required.

Instructor: Kelly Bentley, Assoc. Professor of Community Health

Passionate about diversity, equity and social justice? While based on campus during Fusion Week, you’ll do day trips around town and the state to meet with organizations working on social justice, civil rights, diversity, health access and more. You’ll meet with leaders from Equality ME, OutME and Tree Street Youth. You’ll also explore different communities — and cuisines — while learning to appreciate the diversity that enriches our state and explore ways we’re interconnected and how we can foster growth and knowledge in order to address conflict and division.

Instructor: Gretchen Legler, Professor of Creative Writing

In this experience, you’ll dig your way into the world of community gardening and sustainable living. You’ll begin with 3 days and 2 nights at the Maine Local Living School where you’ll learn about agrarian arts, food prep and wild gathering. You’ll also learn about a community that provides for themselves. Plus you’ll visit local farms and get your hands dirty working in UMF’s on-campus community garden.

Instructor: Misty Beck (English)

Gleaners unite! (Gleaning: the historic practice of gathering produce that would otherwise be wasted.) During your first week, you’ll lodge at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & Environment on Maine’s coast, where you’ll work with the Merrymeeting Gleaners on the nonprofit farm “Growing to Give.” You’ll learn about all aspects of farming, from planting late season crops, to harvesting for distribution. Later in the semester, you’ll grow food for others in our on-campus community garden.

Instructors: Matt McCourt, Assoc. Professor of Geography

Interested in innovations that make real change? In this course, you’ll work with community leaders across Maine who are finding creative solutions to revive rural communities. You’ll start with a 5 day field trip across Maine to meet with people who are “making change in Maine” in a variety of positive ways. You’ll participate in activities that contribute to transformative projects such as renewable energy, local foods, arts-based redevelopment, and mobility and access in small island communities. Join us as we make change in Maine.

Instructor: Misty Beck, (English)

What is success? How will you define success here at UMF and what can you do to help reach your goals? This course explores what success means to you as well as how we can learn and grow from failure. During Fusion Week, you’ll participate in a variety of activities that explore campus and the greater Farmington community, including Titcomb Mountain, the Sandy River, Wilson Lake and French Mountain. This course will help you plan your own pathway and transition to college that reflects your goals, interests and leads you to life-long learning.

Instructors: Peter Hardy, Assoc. Professor of Mathematics; and Mark Pires, Geography and UMF Sustainability Coord.

Overwhelmed all the environmental issues we’re facing? Wonder what you can do about climate change, pollution and overpopulation? This class will explore how we can make a difference at the local and personal level to effect positive change. Fusion Week will consist of a week of field trips to learn about “Sustainability in Action” with local and area stakeholders. You’ll visit the Farmington Solar Farm, UMF’s Biomass Heating Plant, the Saddleback Wind Project, and take day trips to the Rangeley Lake State Park and Smalls Falls where you’ll also hike, bike and canoe. Fusion Week ends with a barbeque at a local homestead that was converted into a self-sustaining farm. You can make a difference and you’re going to have fun learning how.

Instructor: Philip Francis, Assoc. Professor of Philosophy & Religion

What is the Good Life? How do I find it? Live it? You’ll begin this course by spending 5 glorious days at a tranquil retreat center on the coast of Maine. Immersed in nature and inspired by Thoreau’s decision to go to the woods so he could “live deliberately,” you’ll reflect and contemplate the Good Life. If you like nature, mindfulness, and canoeing, this course is for you.


My First Year Fusion course gave me the confidence to connect with other students. It was a terrific way to kick start my time at Farmington. — Ryan Bruenighaus ’23

Ready to start your next adventure?

To enroll in First Year Fusion, you’ll select Fusion courses (and other General Education courses) on the Course Planning Form (available starting April 7), which is on myCampus. So have your MaineStreet Username and Password ready.

Course Planning Form

We’re here to assist. Let us know if you’ve got any questions, need help registering, would like to know about more scholarships for First Year Fusion, and anything else about the program.

Contact Us

Office of Admissions
University of Maine at Farmington
246 Main Street
Farmington, Maine USA 04938-1994
tel  207-778-7050
fax  207-778-8182
TYY (via Maine Relay Service) dial 711
umfadmit@maine.edu