College Review: University of Maine

Orono’s “Small Big Campus”

The University of Maine at sunset in the winter of 2019. Photo of Innovative Media, Research, and Commercialization Center and Studio Art Center

Hanna Thurberg, Contributor

About four and a half hours North of Abington, the University of Maine offers countless opportunities. Established in 1865, the University is located on the banks of the Stillwater River in the town Orono, about 60 miles from the Atlantic coast and approximately 100 miles from the Canadian border.

UMaine is often described as a “small big campus and a big small campus,” because it offers the academic opportunities you would expect from a major research institution, with the intimate feel of a smaller college. The university offers 90 undergraduate majors and academic programs, 85 master’s degree programs, and 35 doctoral programs. The are several popular majors at UMaine: Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services, Engineering, Education, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Social Sciences.  

In 1867, the University of Maine’s College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was initially envisioned by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., who is considered to be the father of American landscape architecture. Olmsted is famously known for designing the grounds of New York City’s Central Park and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. 

The University of Maine has 660 acres of land with 15 miles of running, biking and cross-country skiing trails on campus; it’s a more rural area. With a whopping 9,279 undergrads and a 91% acceptance rate, UMaine is booming with fresh faces.

As I was walking through the campus, I was constantly greeted with smiles from students and faculty. I was pleasantly surprised with how kind and welcoming everyone was, despite the frigid February temperatures! 

All first-year students are required to live on campus. However, you can have your car on campus. Parking passes are $50 a year. Although it is convenient to have a car at your access, many students use the Black Bear Orono Express, a free shuttle from campus that runs back and forth from downtown Orono to campus. Many students also take the BAT bus, which travels to Bangor, Veazie, Orono and Old Town. Don’t worry, UMaine students get free bus passes.

Pullquote Photo

With a whopping 9,279 undergrads and a 91% acceptance rate, UMaine is booming with fresh faces.

— Hanna Thurberg

The freshman dorms are typically doubles. The dorm I saw had wood paneling on the wall where the windows were, giving it a cozy cabin vibe, which I thought was pretty unique.

There are countless clubs and organizations to choose from. With these endless opportunities at the University of Maine you can never be bored! Also, students enjoy hanging out on The Mall, which is a quad in front of the Raymond Folger Library. There, you can catch people studying, playing Frisbee, reading a book, or just chilling with friends.

UMaine doesn’t take sports lightly. Sporting events are HUGE there and fans go all out. Their men’s hockey team, The Maine Black Bears, are Division 1, and are praised by students and fans alike. So, how do these athletes get in shape to accelerate in their sport? In the New Balance Student Recreation Center of course!

University of Maine

Built in 2007, the UMaine Recreation and Fitness Center $25 million rec center has become a hub for the campus and surrounding towns. It has been awarded Silver Certification under the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s Green Building Rating System, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. 

Overall, I believe that the University of Maine is a great choice for someone who is looking for a rural setting with a big campus and plenty of activities.  

And did I mention that author Stephen King graduated from UMaine?!