Maggie Morris, Head Peer Writing Tutor. Maggie approves time, runs evening makeup sessions and assists the Program Director.
Cate Costley, Head Mentor. Cate manages and guides the Writing and Academic Mentors attached to First-Year Seminars. She helps run evening makeup sessions and assists the Program Directors.
Robert Silverstein, Manager of Drop-in Tutors. Robert manages, supervises, assigns evening shifts, creates publicity, and assists the Program Director.
Today I am opening to you and I depend on your trust in my Potential and my ability to… make a change.
I’m currently fundraising to raise money for a project I am incredibly passionate about launching in Bulgaria- a program which will empower young people to be active citizens and contributors to their communities, in addition to walking the path of self-creation with confidence. Read more here: http://mnazer.com/2013/10/25/need-your-feedback-on-how-to-inspire-bulgaria/
My life has been immensely transformed by good people who have believed in me. From the very first months when I started my charity in 9th grade, miracles have happened and good people have opened their hearts and given support to my small, but crazily enthusiastic attempts to bring change, meaning and happiness in the world around us. The support I have received in the implementation of my ideas has been so empowering! It has given me the confidence that my ideas MATTER, that there is always a way to turn your dreams into reality!
I want to find more Bulgarian youngsters who dare to be change-makers and contributors and work with them, train them, help them run their projects and continue creating exchange of ideas, inspiration, support and knowledge.
If you want to help me, you can do so at least in two ways:
- Donate as much as you can afford here: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/6ds7e/ab/42GdSb? Or directly through Paypal using my e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). I have set up an account to use just for the project and every contribution will be displayed at the “Contributors” page of the project website for more transparency (unless you don’t want to);
- Share: with anybody who might be enthusiastic to help!
Let’s prove that inspiration is contagious!
Thank you in advance!
With much love and appreciation,
Anyone who pays attention to the news gets a regular dose of misery, as media outlets, and the people they quote, seem to vie for more alarming ways to recount the gridlock, stonewalling, and infighting of our nation’s leaders.
I’ve wondered if these situations are as bad as described, or if the descriptions cause the various players to act the way they are depicted (rising or sinking to expectations). What if officials X and Y were called “thoughtful and cooperative” instead? Would they try to be? And if others believed X and Y had been thoughtful and cooperative about something, would that have an impact on how they might approach X and Y in the future, perhaps setting the stage for a more fruitful encounter?
I realize the dynamics are more complex than this, but there’s no doubt that certain rhetoric can help create the very situations we are trying to abate. The national discussions about gun control and immigration reform employ loaded language and assumptions on each side of the debate, which, I believe, are not helping us find solutions to these problems and sometimes make things worse. The same can be said for discussions about same-sex marriage, or decriminalizing drugs, or affirmative action in higher education, or gender identity, or underage drinking, or women serving in combat, or immigration reform. Almost any topic comes with sets of assumptions and related rhetoric that can stop understanding in its tracks. Once people embrace assumptions, true understanding hasn’t a chance. This pattern is woven into the fabric of our society.
This is where I believe Middlebury comes in. We have an important role to play in influencing how our society converses. I think we can lead by example.
We have been making a concerted effort on campus to advance the skill and the art of talking together. We’ve set up safe places, centered on respect, where people can talk directly with one another about whatever is important to them and strive for mutual understanding—from Justalks, which debuted in J-term, to campus Open Forums to public panel discussions and other venues. I have been heartened by how many students have participated, how seriously they have taken their part, and how eager they are to learn.
I see “Middlebury dialoguing” as a hopeful step—one that could change our society’s reckless conversational habits, because when Middlebury students learn to listen to others and to reach deep understanding, they will be able to plant the seeds of understanding wherever they go. These skills, learned and practiced here, can be taught to others and can make ripples that will sustain over time.
I welcome your comments and observations. Do you think college students can raise the level of discourse in this country? Do you have other suggestions that might change the tone of debate here and in the wider community?
—Shirley M. Collado
My guest blogger this week is Kathryn Benson ’13, writing about a question that made her stop and think. I’ve enjoyed working with Kathryn in her leadership roles on campus. She is active on many fronts and always seems to have creative ideas about ways to address pressing issues.
—Shirley M. Collado
Two summers ago, I was part of a student panel during reunion weekend. A man in the audience posed a question that I will never forget: “What have you done at Middlebury that you never expected? What opportunity have you taken that has surprised you?”
I was the last panelist to answer this question, and as I listened to the other students talk about how they had done everything from joining the Ultimate Frisbee team to learning Russian, my heart began to race because I could not think of anything I had done that was out of my ordinary routine. Sure, I had taken classes that challenged me in new ways. And I had been a leader in a number of clubs and as my Commons co-chair. Yet none of these things truly pushed me outside my comfort zone. And as I looked back at my time at Middlebury, I realized that none of the things I had done thus far set me apart from the student I was in high school.
A few weeks after that panel, I was asked to be a member of Weybridge House, also known as the environmental studies house. At that time, I did not consider myself an “environmental person,” and I wondered if living in Weybridge would actually be a good fit for me. I did, after all, keep my lights on more than they probably needed to be, I took unnecessarily long showers, and recycling was not my number-one priority in life. But I had always wanted to learn more about living a lifestyle aimed to serve the environment just as much as it served me. And so I signed up to live in Weybridge House for my junior year. I decided it was time I did something I had never planned to do, and it was time for me to live outside my comfort zone and routine.
Living in Middlebury’s environmental house was something I never imagined myself doing, yet it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Midd. I met some of my best friends in that house, and I learned how to caramelize enough onions to feed the 300 people who came to Weybridge Feast.
As the beginning of my last semester at Middlebury draws near, I once again ask myself those wise words from the man at the reunion panel: What have I recently done that I never expected? What opportunity have I taken that has surprised me? Middlebury truly is a safe space for us all to step outside our comfort zones in order to try something new.
It doesn’t matter if you are a senior crossing things off your bucket list or if you are a first-year deciding what extracurricular you want to be a part of—our campus and its surrounding Vermont backdrop offer so many unique opportunities, and I’ve found that it’s the ones you least expect to explore that offer you some of the greatest memories. So I invite you to ask yourself the questions that man asked me: What have you done at Middlebury that you never expected? What opportunity have you taken that has surprised you?