Tag Archives: Student Stories

Student Leader Spotlight: Maddie Maloney, Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM)

Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM) is a student service organization with the goal of creating community and connecting people through food and food education. The student-run group organizes volunteer events and classes with the purpose of teaching people how to cook healthy food for themselves on a budget and to acquire the independence and knowledge that comes with this life skill. The aims of these initiatives are to establish healthy eating and cooking habits and to raise awareness about nutrition and current food issues.

This week’s student leader spotlight is Maddie Maloney ’19, the president of NOM.

 

Why should folks join NOM? What will they take away from the experience?

Folks should join NOM because it is a fantastic opportunity to create meaningful connections with some very adorable kids while teaching and facilitating healthy eating habits. Volunteers will walk away from taste tests and other NOM programming having served healthy fruits and vegetables according to the Vermont Harvest of the Month calendar , or having provided educational nutrition lessons that will positively affect members of the Middlebury community in the long-term.

Why did you first join NOM?

I joined NOM because I believe that constructing positive relationships with food is essential to long-term health, well-being, and happiness. I found my own path to a positive relationship with food during the transition from high school to college, and I joined NOM because I wanted to both share this experience with others and assist the youngest members in our community in enacting lifelong healthy eating habits. I firmly believe in the power of preventive medicine and the role that nutritious food plays in protecting and maintaining health. Finally, I so appreciate the opportunity to connect with members of the Middlebury community and create meaningful relationships.

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of NOM?

My most memorable experience as a member of NOM was this past March when we had a maple syrup taste test at Mary Hogan. The fabulous team at Mary Hogan found a way to make this month healthy by cooking maple-roasted turnips, which were a HIT! As in, so much of a hit that we had children swarming our volunteers for sixth, seventh, and eighth servings of the turnips. Not only was it hilarious to watch the elementary schoolers chase our volunteers around with their trays of samples, but it was incredibly rewarding to hear that many of the kids really liked a food that is not typically kid-friendly, and wanted their families to make them at home.

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of NOM?

As a member of NOM, I have learned the value in creating and maintaining relationships with members of the greater community. It can be easy to get caught up in everything that happens on campus (especially when we are all so busy!), but I have learned that it is incredibly beneficial for both Middlebury students and the kids we work with alike when college students are really involved in the community.

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I am a Molecular Biology and Biochemistry major with a Global Health minor from Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to being the president of NOM, I am a research assistant in a biology lab on campus, a YouPower spin instructor, and an organic chemistry peer tutor.

Student Leader Spotlight: Mikayla Hyman, MiddROC

MiddR.O.C. stands for Middlebury Refugee Outreach Club. MiddR.O.C’s community partner is a Burlington area non-profit, R.O.C. Inc. The group focuses on fostering college readiness for high school New Americans in all R.O.C. affiliated programs. To learn more about MiddR.O.C., visit their MiddLink Page.

This week’s Student Leader Spotlight is Mikayla Hyman ’20, the founder of MiddR.O.C. 

Why should folks join your org? What will they take away from the experience?

Folks should join MiddR.O.C. if they want to interact with people from other cultures mentor high school students!

Mikayla Kyman ’20 prepares goody bags as part of MiddR.O.C.’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

Why did you first create MiddR.O.C.?

I created MiddR.O.C. because I visited a program for refugee students in Burlington, and I realized this was a service that they wanted but was not being provided. Also, I thought it would be loads of fun!

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of MiddR.O.C.?

Probably meeting the students who inspired the creation of this club; they were so excited to hear about the life of a college student.

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of MiddR.O.C.?

I have learned how to keep my eye on the objective and be willing to pivot from an original goal if new information comes up. I had to make sure that my first priority was always to the refugee-background students I was serving. That focus was not always easy to maintain, but it was important that I did.

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I’m from Long Island, New York, and I am an Anthropology major! I am also involved with the Youthful Alliance of Merrymaking, Hillel, Chellis House, and the Pre-Medical Society.

Middlebury Lacrosse Visits Nicaragua on Service Trip

Players from the Middlebury Women’s and Men’s lacrosse teams visited Nicaragua earlier this month. The trip was organized through Lacrosse the Nations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using “the lacrosse field as a platform to teach students valuable life skills and health education, while ultimately bringing joy to their lives.”

The students visited Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, as part of Lacrosse the Nations’s Team LtN campaign, which is a “network of individuals, lacrosse players, and teams across the country who come together to help spread awareness and raise funds for our life skills, nutrition and scholarship programs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the U.S.”

As part of their service trip, Middlebury Lacrosse players engaged in community service projects to help improve infrastructure in the organization’s partner schools, raised funds for scholarship programs, and played lacrosse with students.

Check out some photos from the tip on the organization’s Facebook page and below!

Student Leader Spotlight: Kathryn Bullen, Relay for Life

Relay for Life Co-Presidents Isabella Alonzo ’18 (left) and Kathryn Bullen ’18 after last year’s Relay for Life event.

 

Relay for Life is a yearly fundraising event held by the American Cancer Society. Each year, thousands of communities come together to walk in order to both raise money and spread awareness.

Middlebury has hosted a Relay for Life event each year since 2004. Members of the college and wider Addison County community come together for the event, and have raised tens and often hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

This year’s Relay for Life event will take place on April 18, 2018 at the “Battell Loop” outside Battell Hall. For more information on the event, please click here.

This week, we talked with Kathryn Bullen ’18, one of the co-presidents of the college’s Relay for Life student organization.

Why should folks join Relay for Life? What will they take away from the experience?

In one way or another, everyone is touched by cancer at some point in their lives. Relay For Life is a great way to help raise awareness regarding cancer and honor/celebrate those who have been personally touched by the disease. At Middlebury, this organization provides an avenue for working with both the student body and surrounding community members. This experience allows people to give back in some way towards a disease that often leaves people feeling powerless in their ability to help those personally affected.

Why did you first join Relay for Life?

I joined Relay For Life because I wanted to become more involved on campus in a meaningful way. From friends and family members of mine who have been touched by cancer, I felt motivated to join Relay and help give back in the ways that I could. Also, I participated in Relay For Life growing up and they were always fun events to attend.

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of Relay for LIfe?

I think my most memorable experience as a member of Relay is always the luminaria ceremony. During this part of the event, everyone walks around the loop, which is lined with luminaria bags in honor/memory of people affected by cancer. As we walk, each bag gets a glow stick and it truly turns into a beautiful moment where everyone can reflect on what the event is truly all about.

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of Relay for Life?

From being a member of Relay For Life, I have learned so much about how to organize a large-scale event on a long-term basis and how to be an effective student leader. I have definitely realized how much planning truly goes into events like Relay and the importance of having a great committee to delegate tasks to and help with all the details throughout the year-long planning process. I also think Relay For Life is a unique organization in that it requires targeting both college students and Middlebury community members, which necessitates almost two separate marketing tactics. While this has been a challenge for our committee, it is an aspect of our event that we definitely have put greater emphasis on this year.

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I am from Cleveland, Ohio, and am a psychology major and double minor in political science and global health. I am on the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team and a captain this year. I also am a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Student Org Leader Spotlight: Omar Valencia, Habitat for Humanity

Middlebury students (from left) Shougat Barua, Omar Valencia, and Juliana Dunn join community members on a Habitat for Humanity build.

A partner of the Addison County Habitat for Humanity chapter, the college’s Habitat affiliate seeks to address the need of simple, decent, affordable housing by working on local building sites, fundraising for the local Addison County chapter, assisting the chapter in its publicity and fundraising events, educating peers at Middlebury about the need for affordable housing around the world, and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the organization, please click here.

This week’s Student Leader Spotlight is Omar Valencia, the president and weekend build organizer of the college’s Habitat for Humanity affiliate.

Why should folks join Habitat for Humanity? What will they take away from the experience?

I think a lot of people say they feel trapped in the “Middlebury Bubble” and feel that they never really get to interact with any of the Vermonters in the area. I certainly felt that, and what I found in Habitat for Humanity was a way for me to break out of the bubble. I think folks should join our org because we do go out to meet people from the local community and, certainly in my case, make meaningful and lasting relationships with people from the area. Also, there’s just something wonderful and raw about the work that goes into building. Especially when I know that I went out and contributed to building someone’s home.

 

Why did you first join Habitat For Humanity?

I joined Habitat because of an assignment given by my First Year Seminar Professor, Matt Kimble. The class revolved around the topic of positive psychology and how we could use the research of psychologists to help enrich our own lives. One of our initial readings was on experience, and how some of the happiest experiences we have in our lifetime is when we join our local community in some sort of communal activity. Our professor asked that we join one student or local org and write a paper relating to our experience. When I joined Habitat, I just really liked what I did and then just kept doing it. Eventually, that led to me being offered a position on the board and now I help organize weekend builds.

 

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of Habitat for Humanity?

During one of my first builds in Cornwall, VT, me and another student, Mike Nunziante, were asked to paint the exterior of the house. First, we had to start from the second floor and then work our way down. The scaffolding we used seemed a little old, but, at least according to the foreman, was safe. To go down there was a lever that we actually had to kick so it could drop down. It took us some time to sum up the courage to eventually do it, but, once we finally moved down, it turned out to be less dramatic than we envisioned it to be.

 

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat builds usually pair people off, so typically people will find themselves working with the same partner all day. Needless to say, the conversations that then ensue while working on something are deep. I’ve learned that everyone has a story, and when someone is comfortable enough, they may just share it. I have always known that I am an active listener, but something Habitat has given me is a space where I am encouraged to also talk about myself and all the different facets of my life.

 

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I am from a working-class town east of Los Angeles. I come from immigrant parents, and am constantly amazed by what my parents have done to get me here into the states. Currently, I am a Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Major and an Art History Minor. I am also involved in the Ceramics club, where I enjoy making pottery for myself and friends.

Become a Reading Mentor at Mary Hogan Elementary School

Everybody Wins! Vermont is a statewide, nonprofit, children’s literacy and mentoring program. EW! VT mentors read with a child at Mary Hogan Elementary School during lunchtime, one day a week. Together, you explore books and literacy activities and build a meaningful friendship, within our school setting. You help a child build strong self-esteem, reading skills, and a lifelong love of books.

Consider filling out an application now to mentor a child starting in February OR sign up now so you can start up this Fall 2018. There is currently a waiting list of 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th graders hoping for a reading mentor. The time commitment is less than one hour per week and is very flexible when mentors have other obligations and time commitments. The program only runs for 6.5 months, from October through April. Mentors and meet on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays, from either 11:30 to 12:15 or from 12:05 to 12:50. 

For more information about becoming a reading mentor, visit the organization online here. If you have questions, e-mail Angela Landis at middlebury@everybodywinsvermont.org

The online application can be accessed hereIf you’d prefer a paper application, please email me Angela.

STUDENT ORG LEADER SPOTLIGHT: Luna Shen, Charter House Coalition

The college’s Charter House Coalition (CHC) student org affilliate is a volunteer-based, community supported service organization that partners with the Charter House Coalition, a nonprofit located in the town of Middlebury that provides shelter, transitional housing, free meals and a friendly face to families and individuals in the Middlebury area who need assistance.

Per their website: 

“Charter House Coalition was founded in 2005 in response to critical food and housing needs in Addison County. Our programs have expanded quickly since then. In 2014 we had a volunteer base of over 950 community members contributing 23,500 hours of service every year.”

Below is an interview with Luna Shen, who is president of the Charter House Coalition’s student organization affiliate at the college.

Why should folks join the Charter House Coalition? What will they take away from the experience?

One of my favorite parts of volunteering for Charter House Coalition (CHC) is building meaningful relationships with other volunteers, staff, and guests at CHC. I have gained a deeper sense community and awareness of issues in Addison County.

Student volunteers at CHC tend to want to learn more about food and home insecurity in our community, and enjoy that the CHC is a space to engage with non-college students. Also, student volunteers gain a more nuanced view of homelessness and food insecurity.

Why did you first join the Charter House Coalition?

Before coming to Middlebury College, I knew that I wanted to meet people outside of campus and feel more connected to Addison County. My first time at CHC was during United Way’s Days of Caring as a volunteer, a friend had invited me. Prior to that experience, I didn’t know that there was an urgent need to alleviate home and food insecurity in our community. I also didn’t know that a place like CHC existed. The CHC staff we met had so much passion and commitment for CHC. I immediately knew that I wanted to volunteer again and be a part of the meaningful work that CHC does.

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of the Charter House Coalition?

I befriended a guest last winter season. We would discuss topics ranging from the anthropology of communal eating to socialism. We were both interested in fine arts and showed each other our works. I always looked forward to chatting with him whenever I went to volunteer.

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of the Charter House Coalition?

The most valuable things I have learned include being a better listener (through engaging in conversations with guests at CHC), thinking about myself less, and being sensitive to the language I use when talking about poverty. There are many harmful stereotypes surrounding homelessness and food insecurity. When I talk to others about the CHC and poverty, I have become very conscious of the ideas I imply through the language I use.  

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

My home is Beijing, China (at the moment). I am a Human Ecology major. At the moment I’m involved with Middlebury’s Privilege and Poverty Academic Cluster (check it out!!), a crossfit group, and a Christian fellowship.