A Week in the Life of Middlebury Community Engagement

In a typical week, over 300 Middlebury College students, staff, and faculty engage in our community beyond campus in dozens of meaningful ways as
volunteers, activists, educators, and collaborators. For National Volunteer Week, the Middlebury College’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) wants to highlight a selection of 20+ experiences supported by the CCE from the past week (April 4- April 9).

Learn more about the CCE and the programs we offer and advise on our website, and for more photos from many of the sites below, see our CCE Facebook page. Thanks to all involved!

Wednesday, April 3

Wednesday’s photos show mentorship as one of the key components of the work we support at the CCE!

Wednesday, 12:00 pm
Faim pour le déjeuner! Through the Lanugage in Motion (LiM) program, Middlebury Union High School French language students came to campus to learn with Mme Crouzières’ Middlebury College students. Meanwhile, six high school exchange students from France got an English-language tour of campus. Then both MUHS and Middlebury students converged for a French language table over lunch! In a typical semester, LiM prepares 34 Midd students to offer presentations in local schools for over 600 local middle and high school students, bringing language and culture to life.
Mentor and mentee at table.
Wednesdays, 12:30 pm
How about a side of mentoring with your lunch? Nine Middlebury College students, including Parker Ferguson ’19 (pictured) who is also a member of the Football team, head over to Mary Hogan Elementary School every week at lunch to build relationships with children over books and games through the Everybody Wins! program. This is one of the many community-based volunteering options the CCE gets out on a weekly basis in its Opportunities Newsletter, which in a typical semester shares over 130 opportunities from over 75 community partners.
Wednesdays, 3:30 pm
Basil Alfaro ’22 and Hailey Kent ‘21.5 meet with their Community Friends mentees —
a sibling pair from the Middlebury community– on Wednesday afternoons. This time, they were jamming out to tunes and getting creative with paint in the CCE Living Room! There are 140 pairs of mentors and mentees that meet weekly through the Community Friends program, advised by the CCE, which has connected Midd students with children since 1960.

Thursday, April 4

The CCE helps connect community experiences to the college’s academic curriculum and internships. Thursday features the Privilege and Poverty Academic Cluster, Environmental Studies capstone projects, and the Charter House.

Class meeting
Thursdays, 11:30 am
Students in Pam Berenbaum’s Critical Frameworks for Social Change
(INTD 0426), the capstone course for the Global Health, Food Studies, and Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster, use an exercise in Design Thinking to hone their plans for social change projects. Twenty seven faculty across disciplines partner with P&P.
Middlebury college student and community member
Thursdays, 1:30 pm
In this section of ES401, a capstone course designed for senior Environmental Studies majors taught by Jon Isham, students partner with Vision for Vermont and are conducting interviews focused on visions for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable Vermont. Pictured here is Gabby Davis ’19 with long-time activist Priscilla Baker in her condo in Middlebury speaking about her experiences with the environment and her visions for sustainability moving forward.
Three students cooking food
Thursdays, 5:40 pm
Community suppers are a tradition at the Charter House! Each Thursday, students in the Charter House Club like Mayher Patel ’19 gather and help cook meals together. Patel says, “I enjoy talking with the individuals at Charter House especially over a warm plate of food.”
The Charter House also hosts Privilege & Poverty interns over the summer. Over the course of a semester, Midd students serve over 1805 meals with local community partners.

Friday, April 5

Friday is a busy day for CCE programs! As the week comes to a close, students have more flexibility to move and think beyond the campus bubble. From workshops and board meetings to climate marches, this day is full of the different kinds of work and projects that take place in any given week.

Examining maple syrup
Friday, 8:45 am
It’s sugaring season! Kufre Udoh ’21, Jenny Pushner ‘21.5, Jacob Freedman ’21, and other members of The Wild Middlebury Project teamed up with a group of high school students at The Hannaford Career Center to practice their maple sugaring skills on Friday morning. Jacob and Kufre scope out different grades of syrup. Wild Midd is a new student initiative that is now part of the Service Cluster Board, 20 student organizations advised by the CCE.
Marchers with climate justice signs
Friday, 10:45 am
Middlebury students and Vermonters met at the Town Green to kick off the 350Vermont Next Steps: A Climate Solutions Walk that concluded five days later with a Mass Action at the State House in Montpelier.
Divya Gudur ’21 was awarded a CCE Community Engagement Mini-Grant to support Sunday Night Environmental Groups‘ students’ involvement in the walk! The CCE gave out $15,930 last semester in grant funding for student initiatives.
Two students with community member
Fridays, 11:15 am
All smiles from Butch’s Team! Each week, students like Samantha Enriquez ’22 and Beth Neal ’20 share visits with Butch, a long-time friend of the College. This is in addition to the nearly 60 year tradition where the basketball team brings Butch to home football games and the football team brings him to home basketball games. Butch may well be our #1 Panthers fan!
Student coordinators planning event
Fridays, 12:45 pm
The Community Friends Board members (Sabian Edouard ’21, Jocelyn Tenorio ’19, Hannah Kredich ’20, Maddie McKean ’22 ) discuss how to improve the mentee referral form to allow parents to request social identity-based matches. The eleven student coordinators meet weekly behind the scenes to recruit and train mentors, create meaningful events, and maintain community partnerships. Across all our student organization Boards, in the process of making their groups better, members learn how to operate effective community-based organizations!
Middlebury College and Winooski High School student pair
Fridays, 2:30 pm
Lulu Zhou ’19 tutors Hiba through the Middlebury Refugee Outreach Club (MiddROC),a student organization that works with Winooski High School students from refugee backgrounds to establish connections and prepare students to succeed in college.
Students reading to children
Fridays, 3:30 pm
Bruce Atwood ’20 and Chima Dimgba ’21 share their passion for reading through Page One Literacy Project at Weybridge Elementary School. Page One’s 20 members visit five local elementary schools on a regular basis to work on literacy development skills through reading and storytelling activities.
Students cleaning a play house
Friday, 4:15 pm
Spring is here and members of Midd Volunteers took advantage of the warmth to help the John Graham Shelter do some gardening and outdoor clean up!
Friday, 4:30 pm
In preparation to serve in the local community, and in seven other communities around the country this summer, our Privilege & Poverty summer intern cohort got together with Kristen Mullins of the CCE to discuss how to respond bias when they see it in themselves and others. As part of the Privilege & Poverty core mission, these interns will spend their summers learning how to affect positive social change while building bridges across difference and finding common ground solutions.
Kids playing soccer indoors
Fridays, 4:45 pm
1, 2, 3, GO! Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure, and Mentoring (DREAM) is all about community building through mentoring and Friday afternoon activities. Janice Zhang ’20 and Seamus Nolan ’19 plan afternoon activities and coordinate a group of mentors from the college working with Middlebury-area children. They’re some of the 225 Middlebury students involved across CCE’s nine regular youth and mentoring programs. Can’t wait for the grass to be this green outside!

Saturday and Sunday, April 6 – 7

Bring on the weekend! Outreach with adults in our community often works best outside of the workweek.

Student leading a circle group in an activity
Saturday, 10:00 am
Audrey Olsen ’21, Hannah Bensen ’21, and Lizzie Friesen ‘20.5 of the Middlebury Club Tennis team worked with Addison Community Athletics Foundation to coordinate the Women in Tennis Together program with the Women’s Varsity Tennis team. Middlebury students led group activities among the players. Audrey described how they designed this Saturday, with hopes: “…to promote deeper conversation and learning among new friends.” She used a CCE Community Engagement Mini-Grant to support the program!
Three students plan language lessons
Saturdays, 4:45 pm
Alex Burns ’21, Jocelyn Tenorio ’19, and Yamit Netter-Sweet ‘21.5 collaborate as Coordinators of Juntos, Middlebury College’s farmworker/student solidarity network, to prepare for a Compañeros gathering, where they teach English to Latinx community members and build intercultural relationships.
Group photo in gym of college students and community members
Sunday, 2:15 pm
Special Olympics started its season on Sunday with its first practice. Members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the women’s ice hockey team, and the football team met with Special Olympics athletes at the Pepin Gym. Julia Keith ’20 and other members of the Special Olympics team are pictured leading activities with community members who participate in the program. She reflects: “I love the reaction from the families, children and adults after a successful day of practice – it is incredible seeing how much a team environment can change a person’s life!”

Monday and Tuesday, April 8 – 9

From saving lives to preparing for intercultural immersion, the beginning of the week starts strong.

Student in the back of an ambulance
Mondays, 1:30 pm
Margo Reigle ’19 prepared the ambulance for its next run, before she got called to join a team responding to a 911 call. Dylan Montagu ’20 and Derek Cronin ’21 had just headed out for a transport between Porter and Burlington’s hospitals. Middlebury students who get EMS certified, often in a J-Term course taught by the MREMS Training Director, can join the MREMS teams on weekly shifts up to 12 hours. Margo helped start the Middlebury First Responders student organization to provide trainings that prepare students for the field and provide mental health resources for post-call support. Margo appreciates how her MREMS experience expands her community to beyond campus: “I meet a wide range of people through the different places I volunteer and enjoy all of the stories I’ve heard and conversations I’ve had.”
Staff team meeting around tables
Tuesdays, 9:15 am
The Center for Community Engagement Staff meets to discuss the big picture and the details behind supporting our programs. On the agenda this week: Preparing for our upcoming Public Service Leadership Awards! Special thanks to Jason and Sarah for their photographic support of this “Week in the Life” project.
Students serving themselves food
Tuesday, 11:30 am
Middlebury Union High School and Middlebury students share lunch as part of the Language in Motion Spanish Language Day in partnership with Associate Professor Irina Feldman. As program hosts, Middlebury College students gain exposure to the secondary teaching environment and deepen their international and intercultural experience through personal and shared reflection.
Program participants around a table
Tuesday, 4:30 pm
The 2019 Japan Summer Service Learning Program cohort (Xuan He ’20, Sam Hernandez ’22, Kristen Mullins, Xiaoyu Wu ’22, and Brenda Martinez ’22) met for their first pre-departure meeting! They will be in Japan for a month this summer, working, learning, and engaging with local residents in the Tokyo metropolitan region as well as in rural Tenryumura.

Award winner holding award
Tuesday, 7:15 pm
Celebrating so many impactful people in our Middlebury community at the Dean of Students Leadership Awards! Special congratulations to Baumgarten ’98 and Udzenija ’99 SGA Memorial Award winner Saif Panday ’21, a Middlebury Alternative Spring Break leader on this year’s Jamaica trip. He was one of 72 MAlt participants in February!

The CCE honors student leaders annually, too, through the Public Service Leadership Awards, with this year’s ten winners at go/psla.

Many thanks to photographers, coordinators, collaborators, and editors in the CCE and beyond for helping create this selective snapshot of the Week in the Life of Middlebury Community Engagement. Special thanks to CCE student staff members: Meg Pandiscio, Lia Swiniarski, Will DiGravio, Jocelyn Tenorio, Madison Holland, and Amanda Rodriguez.

One response to “A Week in the Life of Middlebury Community Engagement

  1. When I think back to 1985 and reflect upon former mentor and Dean of Students Erica Wonnacott’s vision for a vibrant community/campus collaboration, I am humbled and honored by the thousands of alumni, students, faculty, staff, community organizations, and area citizens–near and far–who have contributed to our growth and development. I am so proud of and grateful for my current staff, advisers, student service organization leaders, interns, volunteers, and partners (and the many, many who have participated over these past four decades) and their efforts to so diligently to nurture and strengthen the many forms of collaboration we now support. I thank our current and past leaders for their collective vision and support. I offer special thanks to Kailee Brickner-McDonald and all who worked with her to coordinate this wonderful tribute. This “A Week in the Life of…” post beautifully depicts our efforts to realize the aspirations of our mission: “The Center for Community Engagement prepares students for lives of meaning and impact through service, scholarship, and citizenship. Our programs work to strengthen communities and contribute to the public good.” With all the chaos facing each of us in these times, I am inspired knowing that, collectively, we are striving to do good and deeply meaningful work. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who are supporting these efforts and our warm welcome to any who may want to join us!
    Tiffany Nourse Sargent ’79
    Center for Community Engagement Director

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