Author Archives: William DiGravio

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.

Join the CCE for 2018-2019 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member!

Do you love working with and for kids?  Are you committed to providing meaningful opportunities for mentorship? Interested in social justice work at the youth development level? Come join the Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement (CCE) as a VISTA member in Middlebury, Vermont! The Middlebury College VISTA member will support our youth and mentoring programs to promote college positive volunteerism, or the idea that kids who spend time with college students, hang out on college campuses, or talk about college with an adult role model, will more easily envision themselves attending a postsecondary institution. We seek a motivated and compassionate individual for a one-year position beginning August 2018 to work closely with the CCE team and help coordinate eight youth and mentoring programs advised by our office.

Responsibilities:

CCE Youth and Mentoring programs’ activities include one-on-one mentoring, college application support, group mentoring, taste tests of vegetables in area schools, afterschool reading programs, and more, but most have the common theme of seeking to provide opportunities for youth in low-income families. Your work may involve:

 

  • researching and sharing current national and local best practices for screening, matching, new and ongoing volunteer training, match database management, and match closure
  • supporting Student Organizations’ adoption of best practices for diversity and inclusion, group management, etc.
  • attending program events and community meetings as a staff liaison
  • holding open office hours for mentors or student organizers
  • creating a parent newsletter to share program updates
  • helping to deepen our collaboration with our valued campus and community partners, including parents, teachers, childcare providers, guidance counselors, and local agencies and organizations
  • … and much more!

 

Requirements:

Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills are essential to this position. Bachelor’s degree required. Driver’s license and own transportation are recommended but not required for the position.

Benefits:

Benefits for the 1-year position include a modest living allowance ($910/month), 10 days of personal leave, 10 days of medical leave, a relocation allowance, and a monthly rent assistance stipend of $350. Upon successful completion of service, the candidate may select either (a.) an educational award of $5,818 that can be applied to student loans or future education OR (b.) a cash stipend of $1500. AmeriCorps members are also eligible for forbearance for most federally-guaranteed student loans. Finally, for one year after service, members receive non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs.

Contact Ashley Laux, alaux@middlebury.edu with any questions and visit go.middlebury.edu/middvista for updates about the application process.

 

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!

Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement Blog 2018-02-20 18:54:39

Catherine Harrison talks with prospective Sister-to-Sister members.

Sister-to-Sister aims to support the middle school girls in the Addison County area. The mentors interact individually with the girls in an informal and comfortable environment and discuss common issues in the girls’ lives, including school, body image, peer pressure and relationships. Many of the participating girls suffer from physical or mental disabilities or have difficult home lives. The mentors act as a support system for the girls which in turn has led to more participants to return regularly for the monthly events. Monthly events have included log rolling, zumba, and game night.

The STS Summit is the highlight of the year, and it is on the basis of the Summit that many girls keep returning to the monthly events. It gives a chance for the girls to spend an entire day bonding with other girls from their school and the surrounding area, in addition to learning new skills and talents in workshops and sharing their experiences and difficulties of middle school.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sister-to-Sister, please click here.

This week’s Student Leadership Spotlight is Catherine Harrison, president of Sister-to-Sister.

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

Sister to Sister is a great way for a busy student to get involved because our events are only once-a-month. This allows for us to really put our all into each event. The events are tons of fun and they’re a great way to bond with the younger “sisters.” We learn as much from the girls we are mentoring as they learn from us.

Why did you first join Sister to Sister?

I joined Sister to Sister as a sophomore, last year after transferring to Middlebury in February. Every summer I work as a counselor at a children’s sleep-away camp, so I was looking for a way to work with kids during the year. Sister to Sister was the perfect fit as the events combine fun activities such as scavenger hunts and spa nights with meaningful conversation that allows us to act as mentors to the younger girls.

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

The first Sister to Sister event I attended was my favorite. It was cold outside so we had a pool day in the gym, and we had a raft building competition. We helped the girls build these massive rafts out of pool noodles and duct tape and then we had a race. I had forgotten how much fun it is to do stuff like that.

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

I’ve found Sister to Sister to be a valuable experience as it has allowed me to get back in touch with what it was like to be kid. In our group discussions at the events, the girls really open up to us and talk to us, and that’s when you realize that in a lot of ways, 21 isn’t really so much different than 12. I think so many adults find it easy to dismiss children because of their lack of life experience, but when you actually talk to these kids, you realize that they really are insightful and what they have to say is valuable.

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

I’m from Tampa, Florida. I’m a Film major and I’m also pursuing a Theater minor. I sing a cappella with the Middlebury Paradiddles and am one of the group’s social chairs, and I’m on the board of Chromatic social house as well.

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.

Atwater Res Life Gets Pied For MALT Trip Fundraiser

Members of the Atwater Commons Residential Life Staff got pied in the faced on Wednesday night as part of a fundraiser for a Middlebury Alternative Break Trip (MAlt) to La Push, Washington. Members of the trip can be found in the above photo.

Students will live and work with members of the Quileute Tribe in La Push, Washington through Xperitas, a community partner invested in cultural immersion and building global community. The trip is focused on social justice and participants will work to deepen their understanding of community issues through intercultural learning.

The fundraiser was organized by Sandhya Sewnauth ’20, who is one of the trip’s leaders and a Residential Assistant for Atwater Commons. First year students in Atwater were able to bid on a chance to pie their First Year Counselors, as well as the Commons Residential Director, in the face. Enjoy some photos of the event below, and if you would like to donate to any of the CCE’s MAlt trips, please click here. If you’d like to learn more about joining the Residential Life Staff, please click here.

 

Members of the Atwater Commons Res Life Staff pose after getting pied.
From left (back): Irene Margiotta ’19, Samantha Pearl ‘18.5, Will DiGravio ’19
From left (front): Doug Desrochers, Dominick Tanoh ’18, Michael Caminear ’19

Click to view slideshow.