Author Archives: Chelsea Colby

Student Org Profile: SCB

The Service Cluster Board is made up of the 17 service organizations on campus, the 2 SCB Coordinators, and our advisor, Ashley Laux, from the Center for Community Engagement. The Service Cluster Board supports individual service organizations by helping them meet their missions and responsibly use their funds. The SCB oversees the budgets of the individual service organizations, hosts monthly leadership trainings, and manages the Flex Fund.

I’ve been a SCB Coordinator since Spring 2016, and it’s been an incredible way to learn about all the ways that students are involved in service both on and off campus.  I first learned about the position from being a board member of Page One Literacy, which is the SCB org. that organizes after school reading programs for students in the local community. We were extremely excited to welcome Jin Sohn as our other coordinator this spring after she came back from abroad, and she will continue serving as SCB Coordinator next year. On a day-to-day basis, the SCB coordinators communicate with student org. leaders via email, process vouchers for org. expenses, audit budget reports, and more. We just had our latest monthly meeting this past Sunday, in which we invited Barbara McCall, Director of Health and Wellness Education, to host a workshop on “Self-Care for Activists.” The monthly meetings have been a great way to get to know student org. leaders, and we hope that next year the SCB will continue to expand its influence on campus by increasing programming and learning about new ways to serve the local community.

-Kristina Frye, ’17

Relay for Life Senior Reflection by Nicole Caci

I started participating in Relay for Life with my best friend Morgan, a two time brain tumor survivor. We created our first team in 8th grade, and I loved having the opportunity to help fight back against cancer. I knew I wanted to participate in college and was so excited to find such a passionate event leadership team at Middlebury.

I have been on the event leadership team at Midd all four years, but had the most responsibility this year as one of four co-leads. It has been an extremely rewarding experience to plan an event that our Middlebury community looks forward to every years, and to raise money for the American Cancer Society in the hope of seeing a world without cancer in our lifetime. I love how Relay for Life brings our entire community together. Both Middlebury College students and community members are able to spend an afternoon in solidarity, fighting back against a disease that impacts so many. For a few hours Relay lets us all come together to remember the loved ones we’ve lost, honor our survivors and show commitment to making sure no one else has to hear the words “you have cancer”. I feel as if planning and fundraising for Relay for Life is my way of helping put an end to this disease, and I am honored to contribute in this way.

I think that in my time here, student support for Relay for Life has grown. The first two years, we held our event in Kenyon Hockey Arena, but the past two years it’s been outside on Battell Loop. Because Battell Loop is so central, we are able to draw in participants that are just walking by, especially when the weather is nice and students want to be outside instead of stuck in the library. On this day, students are able to spend time outside with friends, play lawn games and eat delicious, local food, all in support of a great cause. All of this encourages students to attend our event, and helps us in the fight against cancer.

It has been an honor to serve on the event leadership team at Middlebury for so many years and I am thankful for the opportunity to help put an end to cancer.

-Nicole Caci ’17

Student Org Profile: VSO

The Volunteer Service Organization (VSO) provides students with weekly, varied volunteer opportunities. Through established connections with a wide array of community partners, VSO brings groups of students to worksites that range from Helen Porter Medical Center to Wild Roots Farm. In the spirit of enacting direct, measurable service, student volunteers not only get the opportunity to grow closer to the people of Middlebury and the surrounding areas, but do so while assisting local organizations with their own programming and service endeavors.

After beginning my VSO journey at the beginning of last year, I have steadily increased my commitment to the organization and its events. Since the outset of the ’16-’17 academic year, I have been the president of the Org. As president, I had the opportunity to not only plan programming in conjunction with community partners, but also attend each of the events. Having the chance to spend a few hours a week with different groups of student volunteers has opened my eyes to the true power of cooperation. VSO’s events simply would not be possible without the incredible amount of student support we receive. Seeing groups of students – who are, more often than not, strangers – come together while giving back has been continually inspiring. The forging of new friendships, both on campus and off, has been a formative component of my time at school. It is my sincere hope that students decide to get involved with VSO. Whether that means coming to one event a semester or applying to work on our board, any and all interest is welcome.

-Jay Silverstein ’19

CCE Mini-Grant Reflection by Akhila Khanna: Augusto Boal Political Theatre Demonstration at the United States Capital Building

On March 27th and 28th I was part of a company of actors, directors and students who presented a 30 minute political theatre performance at the Congress and State Senate in the United States Capital Building. All members of the company (including me) have attended the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Drama Program where we were taught the techniques of Brazilian theatre activist Augusto Boal. The focus of Boal’s work was to use theatre in a political context, as a tool for understanding, education and growth. At Carnegie Mellon we were exposed to a form of Boal’s work called Image Theatre. These are brief scenes which consist of very little or no speaking. The images tell a story in a condensed form and take no more than a minute or two to accomplish a strong visual that an audience can easily understand, identify, and apply to their own lives.

After 11 hours of rehearsals, 40 of us went inside a conference room in the Capital Building and presented image pieces on The Dreamers Act, Black Lives Matter, Unity in Government, Mental Illness and Sexual Violence. I personally assisted in directing the image piece on the Dreamers Act, a bill that the Congress and the State Senate are currently debating and formulating.

Having the chance to perform before representatives of the Senate was a huge honor. At the conclusion of our performance, the US Senator of New Hampshire, Senator Shaheen told us that a theatrical performance like ours had never before been done at the Capital building. She hopes our pieces stir positive actions around formulation of the bills in the Senate. She then gave us a tour of the entire building and even took us into the gallery to watch the Senate in session!

By physically performing in a space where political decisions are made and using theatre as a political tool to engage with that change-making process proved to me the value of arts activism. A strong visual with bodies in space is so much more engaging than reading words on paper or listening to a lecture. The premise of what we did was both visually stimulating and socially acute, which is what made Boal’s work at the Capital an effective example of how theatre can be used for social change. My experience at the Capital could not have been possible without the support and funding from a Middlebury College Community Engagement Mini-Grant. Thank you for making me it possible for me to participate in this historic event, doing what I love to do!

Student Org Profile: Friends of John Graham

Friends of John Graham was initiated by Maya Peers Nitzberg ’16.5 in the fall of 2014. After spending the summer as a Shepherd Poverty Intern, she wanted to continue a connection with John Graham and Middlebury beyond seasonal interns. She recruited a group of interested students (including myself), and we began going to John Graham on a weekly basis with the intention of providing weekly activities and tutoring services as an outlet for relaxation for the members of JGS. Above all, we are constantly adapting to the needs and desires of the JGS staff and residents. Volunteering at John Graham puts the Vermont housing crisis into perspective while experiencing the important role John Graham plays in providing food, shelter, housing, services and hope to homeless individuals and families from around Vermont. For more information, visit the John Graham website at .

-Zorica Radanovic ’19

ReadWorks Seeks Volunteers

What is ReadWorks?

The nonprofit ReadWorks is the leading early-stage venture in the United States for improving teaching and learning in reading comprehension. Millions of teachers and students use ReadWorks throughout the United States. In support of our mission, we provide teachers with units, lessons, and thousands of authentic nonfiction and literary passages, accompanied by curriculum based on the cognitive science of reading comprehension. We also partner with renowned museums and cultural institutions, such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to bring their content to our vast user base. All of this content is made available on our sites (, for example) at no charge to teachers and students. 

ReadWorks is seeking students to help with their various projects including ReadWorks Article-A-Day™ Writing Project, ReadWorks Audio Project, eBook Illustration Project, and Vocabulary Support Illustration Project. Find out more about the projects below.

Interested in getting involved? Email Katy Laird at

ReadWorks Article-A-Day Writing Project

Project Description

ReadWorks Article-A-Day™ systematically builds background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina for all students. It also supports speaking and listening skills and bolsters the connection between writing and reading comprehension. Article-A-Day™ is easy and enjoyable for teachers and students to do as a simple, 10 to 15 minute daily routine. There is no charge for teachers and students to use these materials.

As part of the ReadWorks Article-A-Day™ offering, ReadWorks provides hundreds of sets of 6-9 high-quality topically-related nonfiction texts for grades K-8. We’re looking to produce hundreds more of these sets by the summer.

How You Can Get Involved

To get these materials to the teachers and students who need them as soon as possible, ReadWorks is asking writers to write at least one set of six nonfiction articles at one of the K-5 grade levels. (The more sets, the merrier, of course!) Depending on the grade level, articles can range from about 100-600 words.

ReadWorks Audio Project

Project Description

ReadWorks provides thousands of high-quality nonfiction and literary texts for students in grades K-12. This library of texts is one of the core parts of the ReadWorks offering. ReadWorks has developed curricular tools based on the cognitive science of reading comprehension to help build students’ comprehension of these texts and unleash the texts’ value. One of these key tools are audio narrations of the texts being read aloud by real humans with fluency, expression, and prosody.

Audio narrations are important tools for helping readers access texts – especially emerging readers, struggling readers, English Language Learners, and students with learning disabilities. These narrations are made available to millions of teachers and students across the country – at no charge.

How You Can Get Involved

We’re asking people who want to contribute to the audio project to do one of two things:

  1. Record an audio narration for a text or multiple texts (perfect for people with great voices and an expressive style of reading)


  1. Edit an audio narration for a text or multiple texts (perfect for people who have sharp hearing, are detail-oriented, and would like to develop or practice their audio editing skills to support a great cause). 

ReadWorks’ Two Illustration Projects:

eBook Illustration Project

Project Description

ReadWorks is turning many of its texts into eBooks with rich illustrations, audio narrations, and text highlighting technology. Here’s an example of one we’ve created in the past.

These eBooks will be published on our platform to be accessed by millions of elementary and middle school teachers and students (many from disadvantaged populations) throughout the country (at no charge to either teachers or students).

How You Can Get Involved

We’re asking different artists to volunteer to contribute illustrations to this project. The goal is to have one artist illustrate at least one eBook. This means creating roughly 8-10 illustrations per eBook.

Vocabulary Support Illustration Project

Project Description

ReadWorks provides support for up to three key academic vocabulary words for each text in its library. This support includes dictionary definitions, Spanish cognates, and sample sentences.

We’re working on adding images for many of these words. The images are meant to illustrate and reinforce the (often various) meanings of the words for students who may need the extra support, including English Language Learners, emerging readers, struggling readers, and students with learning disabilities.

 How You Can Get Involved

ReadWorks is asking artists to create illustrations or take photographs that convey the meanings of selected words.

Legal Housekeeping Matter

Please note that by partaking in these projects, you agree that ReadWorks fully owns all the content you submit to us in whatever capacity we need/want. We will ask that you sign a formal agreement accepting these terms.

Addison County Legislative Breakfasts

Still haven’t had the opportunity to attend a legislative breakfast? There are a few more opportunities this semester! Attending a legislative breakfast is a good way to hear updates from community members about community issues and hear from our legislators. Click here to view the full schedule. Flex fund money can be requested to off-set the cost of transportation or breakfast.

April 10th, 2017

7:00 am – 8:45 am at the Congregational Church, Weybridge.

April 17th, 2017

7:00 am – 8:45 am at the American Legion, Bristol.

April 24th, 2017

7:00 am – 8:45 am at the Parish Hall, King St. Vergennes.

*PURCHASE OF BREAKFAST NOT REQUIRED TO ATTEND BUT HELPS OUR HOSTS TO DEFRAY THE COST OF OPENING THEIR HALL. Supported by: Addison County Chamber of Commerce and Addison County Regional Planning.