September Lunch Discussion: “Identity, Privilege & Poverty- Reflections from the field”

Through summer internship programs such as the Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster (P&P) local and national internships, and the Middlebury Social Impact Corps (MISC) experience in Peru, Middlebury students delve into community-based, experiential internships with diverse organizations across the U.S. and abroad.

Join a group of recent interns for the first P&P Monthly Lunch Discussion of the 19-20 academic year as they reflect on their experiences over the course of their summer work with the intersection between identity, poverty and privilege. The discussion is also a wonderful opportunity for students interested in applying for community-based internships to learn more about the programs from student participants themselves.

Food provided, please RSVP online here!

Tuesday, Sept. 17th 12:30-2:00pm, Center for Community Engagement, 20 Old Chapel Rd.

And…they’re off! P&P Summer Interns start work in Addison County – and beyond

SHECP National Interns

In organizations around Addison County, as well as locations around the country (Austin, TX; Shamokin, PA; New York City; Greensboro, NC; Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC), Middlebury students have begun their work in their summer P&P internships, which serve as a qualifying experiential learning opportunity for completion of the P&P Academic Cluster.

P&P summer interns in their pre-service bias response training workshop, led by Kristen Mullins

Following a series of pre-service workshops ranging from bias response training and an introduction to trauma-informed practice, to authentic community participation, fifteen students are working in a wide variety of community organizations to address the impacts of poverty in their regions.

SHECP National Interns (left to right) Alivia Kliesen, Ruby Edlin, Anton Gallegos, Mariel Edokwe, Victoria Yeh and Eloise Berdahl-Baldwin. Not pictured: Diana Diaz

Students with national placements (in partnership with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty) attended an Opening Conference at Marymount University in Arlington, VA where they met their location cohorts and participated in programming to orient them to the work ahead. Middlebury’s own Director of Education for Equity and Inclusion, Renee Wells, led one of the sessions for the Consortium. They departed the conference on Saturday for their destinations, together with students from 25 other colleges and universities who participate in the national program.

The SHECP national interns pose for a group photo with SHECP Executive Director Brett Morash at the 2019 Opening Conference

The eight P&P local interns, joined by Foodworks intern Isabel Lubitz, meet weekly with the P&P academic and internship directors for discussion and reflection on their experiences. They are working in placements with John Graham Housing & Service, Charter House, HOPE, WomenSafe, the Open Door Clinic and Mary Johnson Children’s Center’s Rural Fun Delivery program.

Over the coming months, we will be sharing stories from our intern cohort and the work they are undertaking with the incredible community partner organizations they are placed with. Stay tuned!

March P&P Lunch Discussion: Lunch with your Legislators!

Please join the Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster on Monday, March 18th at noon, here at the CCE, for lunch with your state legislators! We will be getting updates and having discussion around some of the current legislation working its way through the Vermont State House, and talking about the legislative process with Addison County Senators Ruth Hardy and Chris Bray, and Middlebury Representative Amy Sheldon (a Midd alum). Though not all of the work before their committees may be directly related to poverty, they will talk about legislation their committees have been working on, and how they work to consider the impacts of legislative proposals across the spectrum of economic advantage.

A few question prompts that they will be responding to include:
-What legislation are you most excited about working on to pass this session?
-What legislation has been the most/least controversial before your committee?
-How do you see the interests of Vermonters across the spectrum of economic advantage being represented in the policy process? Who is “at the table” in the process, from what you see in your committees?

Food will be available, or bring your own. We look forward to seeing you there!

DECEMBER LUNCH DISCUSSION: Breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, w/author, journalist and radio host David Goodman | Friday, Dec. 7th, 12:30 – 1:15pm Ross Dining Hall fireplace lounge

Graphic source: ACLU

Join P&P as we discuss the work of the educational justice movement toward dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, and toward building equity and parity in American education. Author, journalist and radio host David Goodman will discuss a new new collection of essays from leaders, activists and thinkers in the educational justice movement.

David Goodman is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including his most recent work, co-authored with UMass Professor of public policy Mark Warren: Lift us up, don’t push us out: Voices from the front lines of the educational justice movementDavid is a regular contributor to Mother Jones magazine, and hosts the weekly radio show “The Vermont Conversation”.  His writing has been featured in such publications as the New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe, Travel & Leisure, Ski, and the Los Angeles Times.

Bring your lunch, your friends, your thoughts and your questions to this rich conversation on Friday, December 7th at 12:30 in the Ross Dining Hall fireplace lounge. 

David’s show “The Vermont Conversation” featured discussions with some of the contributors to the book in its October 3rd, 2018 broadcast

Other media and resources on this issue:

Source: Colorlines magazine

Source: Crooked Media

Source: ACLU


November Lunch Discussion: Refugee Resettlement in VT with Kymelya Sari of Seven Days | Nov. 1st, 12:30-2pm Ross Dining Hall Fireplace Lounge

Join us for the first Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster Monthly Lunch Discussion of the 2018-2019 academic year, and talk about the issues and challenges facing Vermont’s refugee communities. Kymelya Sari, reporter for Seven Days magazine, will discuss her coverage of the rise in suicide rates among Vermont’s Bhutanese refugee community and other stories she is reporting on. We will meet in the Ross Dining Hall fireplace lounge, so bring your lunch and come join the conversation!


Vermont Educational Alliance on Poverty Symposium | Friday, Oct. 26th

The Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement. the Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster, and the University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services, with support from the Fieldstone Foundation, presented the 2018 VEAP Symposium – “Fostering Equitable Communities: The links between environments and poverty” on Friday, October 26th, 2018 at the Kirk Alumni Center. The symposium was organized to provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community partners to consider, together, such questions as:

  • In your community, what links have you seen between poverty and the environment?
  • How has climate change impacted your thinking about community, particularly as the impact relates to individuals and families living in poverty?
  • How can we best situate experiential learning opportunities at the intersection of environment and poverty to foster equitable communities?

Middlebury College President Laurie L. Patton

Middlebury College President Laurie L. Patton, and Privilege & Poverty Cluster Academic Director and Professor of Religion James Calvin Davis, delivered welcoming remarks. Each highlighted, in their own ways, the importance of integrating place-based experiential learning within the academic curriculum. President Patton described the kind of integration of service learning and academic curriculum represented in the Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster as emblematic of the strategic directions expressed in the Envisioning Middlebury strategic framework. 

Professor Davis moderated an opening panel session that featured UVM and

Student panelists (from left): Isabelle Kingsley (UVM), Rebecca Strull (Middlebury), Meghan Letizia (UVM), Grace Levin (Middlebury), Mariel Morel (UVM), Nora Peachin (Middlebury)

Middlebury College students discussing their experiences studying poverty through service learning internships in Vermont and around the country. The

students discussed how their classroom learning informed their service experiences, as well as the insights those experiences have provided into their further academic work. The panel session was followed by breakout discussions among the symposium attendees to consider how to foster more service learning opportunities at the intersections of poverty and environments.

UVM Gund Institute Fellow Brendan Fisher

The keynote address was delivered by UVM faculty members Brendan Fisher and Trish O’Kane. Fisher discussed his work with impoverished communities in Mozambique, the impact of environmental degradation on those communities, and the ways that those communities are working to steward their environments.

O’Kane discussed her work building a environment-focused mentorship program that connects college students with middle school students through outdoor programming such as birding. 

UVM Rubenstein School lecturer Trish O’Kane

Middlebury College Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Rebecca Kneale Gould closed the conference with her keynote response, describing access to beauty as a basic human right. 

Trish O’Kane describes her work as an environmental educator

The over fifty attendees represented faculty, students and staff from Middlebury and UVM, as well as representatives from community partner organizations, state offices, and the national Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty. 

The Vermont Educational Alliance on Poverty (VEAP) brings its members together to address issues of poverty in Vermont, through collaborative efforts between member institutions and with community partners.  Students, faculty, and staff engage poverty by way of classroom and experiential learning, research, and public advocacy. The Alliance’s activities build student capacities for recognizing and responding to poverty in a wide range of career trajectories, while contributing to the development of human capital in Vermont.

Summer P&P Internship applications now open! Deadline to apply is Jan. 15th!!

Would you like to:

  • Advocate for poor, Appalachian communities impacted by extractive industries in the mountains of Virginia?
  • Help people navigate the legal system and ensure their access to legal representation in a legal clinic in Baltimore?
  • Work with refugee communities in the Atlanta metro area?
  • Help ensure local kids have access to nutritious meals, and a little fun, even during the summer school break right here in Addison County?

There are so many great opportunities waiting for you, and we want to make sure you know about them! Visit our Internships page for more information!

The Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster offers funded summer internships with agencies that seek to work alongside vulnerable populations. Internships are available to non-graduating Middlebury students and are located in urban and rural settings here in Addison County and throughout the United States with agencies that serve in educational, healthcare, legal, housing, social and economic capacities for the needs of individuals and their communities.

Applications are now open on Handshake for summer 2019, and the deadline to apply is January 15th, 2018!