By Joe Paine, Staff Writer

  A trip to see the Boston Celtics vs. the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday was just one of many great opportunities provided by the Activities and Excursions program at University of Maine at Farmington to travel and enjoy a show for $20.
UMF Students enjoyed a few hours in Boston, a close heated basketball game and a bus ride to and from Boston with a movie.
Maya Kasper, the Assistant Director for the Center for Student Involvement, set up this program seven years ago with help from Theo Calico and two work study students.


Los Angeles player Blake Griffin and
Celtics player Kevin Garnett.
(Courtesy of Joe Paine)

The program was started to offer students a great way to experience interesting shows and activities that are not readily available in Central Maine. The remaining events this semester are the Blue Man Group, Indoor Karting, the Book of Mormon, and the Spirit of Boston Cruise.
Tickets to these events cost between $20-30 for students and tickets are free for students in the Liberal Bridge program. The small fee includes the bus ride, admission to the activity, as well as the chance to win prizes. The University gives this program $50,000 annually to put on about 6 events every semester. The recent trip to the Celtics game cost around $6,500.
The Celtics played a strong game against the Clippers. Both teams were missing their star point guards, Rajon Rondo for the Celtics, and Chris Paul for the Clippers. At half time the Celtics lead by 19, but the Clippers pulled close during the fourth quarter to make the final score 104-106.
Upon her first time going to a Celtics game, junior at UMF, Adrienne Abramowitz said “I had a lot of fun and I am lucky that my school offers this to us. Go Celtics!”
Tickets for these shows sell out fast, about 30 tickets sell before 10 a.m. on the first day they are sold.  Devoted fans and eager opportunists reserve their tickets by standing in line as early as four am on the day that Center of Student Involvement sells tickets. Students can look for advertising around the UMF campus and the student center for information about the events and when tickets will be sold.
“There is no other school that I know of that offers these kinds of opportunities for such a low price,” said Kasper who won the Maine Association of Student Affairs Professionals (MASAP) “Program of the Year” award in 2011. Kasper uses Northeast Charters Bus Company for all the trips, and she is happy that they could accommodate a handicapped student on the recent trip to see the Celtics.  The handicapped student got a seat on the luge as well as a few extra gifts given to him by TD Garden.  The program offers tickets for seats that are usually in the upper balcony.  Every event that this program along with Kasper has set up has gone very smoothly and without mishap.  The program is a great opportunity for students to get out of Farmington for a day and do something exciting that they wouldn’t usually do at a great low price.