Month: November 2016

Environmental Hackathon

Written By: Devin Perry ’20

On September 30th, the Campuses for Environmental Stewardship held an ‘Environmental Hackathon’ at the University of New England. The purpose of this event was to bring to light the issues the environment faces today. Both the students and the faculty voiced their views on these issues. Additionally, the students had a chance to discuss environmental issues on their campus and come up with a solution to that issue. Once a solution was developed, the students spoke about their plan in an attempt to attain a $500 mini-grant to kick start their project. This grant was the purpose of the ‘Hackathon’ aspect of the event.

I attended the event with three faculty members and a fellow student. Along with being nice individuals, they were all very motivated to learn more about sustainability efforts being made by other campuses and their students. I enjoyed being able to connect with new people about a topic I am very invested in and care a lot about.

My advisor told me about the event and recommended I go to it. I was honored to go, as I am an environmental science major and it would inform me on the issues that I could possibly face down the road. Additionally, I knew I would be able to gain knowledge on how to better face environmental issues, and bring that information back to Castleton.

I learned a lot from going to the ‘Environmental Hackathon’. Before the event, I did not realize the motivation of some people, to make a difference in the environment. The participation of the other students blew me away. Lastly, from trying to think of an environmental issue on Castleton’s campus, I realized Castleton does very well with being environmentally conscious and campuses struggling with environmental issues should look at Castleton as a model. We are not perfect, but we are far ahead many of the other schools represented at the conference.

The event opened my eyes to many things and made me realize making a difference isn’t as difficult as it seems to be. The best way to make a difference is to get the word out. Informing others of your cause will get them on board with you to spread the word as well. I would consider going to other events like it to gain more knowledge on the idea of sustainability and stay up to date on how arising issues are being handled. I would encourage others to go to these events because, as I said, if you want to make a difference, telling others about your plan can set the plan forward with other people supporting you.

The Power of a Candy Wrapper

Written By: Daniel Warnecke 17′

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Parades are always something to look forward to, and the Halloween Parade in Rutland, Vermont certainly excites and lives up to expectations! The floats are elaborately decorated, and there is an enormous amount of candy given out—the perfect parade combination. This amount of excitement brings in huge crowds every year, and every year one BIG aspect of the parade is overlooked: trash build-up. The accumulation of more trash at public events that bring in large crowds is just something that happens—and that’s okay.

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The excitement of a parade makes it that much easier to forget about candy wrappers or plastic bags that plummet to the ground. One has to understand the unfortunate reality that parades bring in a lot of people that have and create a lot of trash, so it’s great to know that Castleton University students stepped up to the plate to do something about the extra trash this year. On the morning following the Rutland Halloween Parade, the streets that once held masses of people the night before were now full of roaming students, equipped with rubber gloves, trash bags, and smiles, of course. The students were simply picking up all of the trash that had been left behind from the night before, and although the trash did not seem to be too prevalent on the streets while driving on them, the 11 large, stuffed bags of trash that were accumulated at the conclusion of the cleanup painted a much different picture.

Simple cleanup events and community service projects may not seem to make too much of a difference up front, but they truly play a huge role in exciting the public, influencing them to make a difference within their communities. Public community service is like a “positive” disease; it serves as a reminder that we all have a duty to do our part—even if “entitlement” leads to thinking differently. I, myself, have been involved with the Castleton University Rotaract Club for four years now, and being a member within the club is emotionally rewarding, constantly reminding me that there is always need within our community and our world, and there always will be. I get to make a difference through community service, free of charge—something that continues to amaze me to this day.

Thank you to the members of the Castleton University Student Government Association, the Rotaract Club, the Castleton Community Service House, and the members of the Rutland Young Professionals group. Your constant service to your local communities does not go unnoticed, and because of your services, others continue to be reminded of their duties in this life. Who would have thought that picking up a few candy wrappers and trampled float decorations would prove to be so important?

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Connecting Castleton to Kenya

Written By: Tegan Waite 18′

t-waite-kenya-2The summer of 2016 was one for the books. I had the opportunity of a lifetime and spent three-and-a-half weeks in Kenya. I spent time at the Rapha Community Center, an orphanage and school, in Nyahururu-which is located in the mid-central highlands of Kenya. My days were spent observing classes, tutoring students, playing with children, learning how to REALLY play “football”, reading to students, learning phrases and words in Kikuyu, learning their cultural songs and dances and embracing every moment. I fell to sleep each night to the sound of whispers, and giggles in the girls dorm, and I woke to the sweet sound of them singing as they prepared for their day.  It changed my life, breathed new energy into my spirit, and gave me purpose. I have never met more positive, happy, spirited people, and the things that these children have lived through, seen, heard, and endured are so much worse than many of us could ever imagine. The way those children changed me, is more than I ever could have ever imagined, and I count the days until I get to see their bright smiley faces, hear their singing, and feel their little hands in mine again.

 

HEAL| Raising Our World, One Child at a Time was founded by a role model and friend Jennifer Musick Wright in 2007, while she was a college student. HEAL stands for Health, Education, Ample Nutrition, and Love. “Rapha” is HEAL in Hebrew. HEAL provides care, basic needs, education, and most importantly love for more than 45 children, and 80 students.

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Here at Castleton I have founded a club that is in partnership with the Rapha Community Center. Last year I hosted a Shoe-give-a-thon to raise money to dig a well for clean water. Many Castleton students got involved and were able to hear Jennifer speak. Fall 2016, after the club was official, we partnered with the HEAL committee in Rutland and hosted the first annual “Kenya Run?” We had 52 runners and raised more than $2,200. Our next project will be the giving-challenge on “Giving Tuesday”. We are committed to raising awareness on campus and in the greater community. We are committed to advocacy and sharing our passion with others. We are able to help give these children the tools they need to be successful. What we do is not a handout, but rather a hand up. Being apart of something that is bigger than yourself changes you in the best way. Being apart of HEAL, being with the children, has changed and impacted me more that those children will ever be changed or impacted by me.

 

You have the opportunity to get involved right here in Castleton! If you are interested and would like more information please feel free to email me at tegan.waite.2014@gmail.com. We would love to have you join the HEAL team. Make a difference, do what you are passionate about and know that every little bit counts.t-waite-kenya

Castleton University Students Provide Vital Role in Success of Statewide Summit

Written By:  Tyler Richardson

Secretary, Rutland Young Professionals and Assistant Director, Rutland Economic Development Corporation

 

On October 15th the Young Professionals Summit of Vermont was held at the Paramount Theater in downtown Rutland.  Over 150 attendees met to engage in a day filled with professionaldevelopment, networking, and facilitated workshops dealing with challenges faced by young Vermonters.  The event was designed and produced by a subcommittee of the Rutland Young Professionals, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit entity with a mission to engage with our community, create social and professional networking opportunities, and build a Rutland area that attracts and retains young professionals. 14680664_739797602826186_6798183962832041985_n

This was the second year the Summit was hosted by the Rutland Young Professionals, and it was the second year Castleton University student volunteers played an integral role in the success of the day.  While last year’s event – the first of its kind in Vermont – was a great success, we learned a few valuable lessons.  One of those lessons:  we needed more “hands on deck” throughout the day.  We reached out to Castleton University student volunteers for their help in providing even more assistance this year, and they didn’t hesitate or disappoint.  Seven volunteers showed up on site at 7:30 a.m. and stayed until the conclusion of the event at 4:30 p.m.  They helped with the physical set up in the morning, and the tear down at night.  They worked the registration desk, which became tremendously hectic at key moments of the day.  They guided attendees throughout downtown Rutland to make sure they arrived on time to various break-out sessions.  They greeted guests and made them feel welcome.  They represented Castleton University well, they represented the Rutland Young Professionals well, and they represented the Rutland region well.  The day was a big success, owed in no small part to these Castleton University student volunteers.

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It was important to us to have students engaged in the programming of the day, as well.  From some of the feedback last year, we got the sense that students felt this event was not for them.  We tried hard this year to dispel that myth, as student engagement is vital not just for the success of the Summit but for the future of Vermont.  We implemented a scholarship program to cover the registration fee and reached out to the Vermont State Colleges system to promote the Summit and stoke student engagement.  Not surprisingly, and to our delight, we had several Castleton University students take advantage of the scholarships.  They showed up and got involved in the day.  To see students taking an active role in their community – alongside other students, alongside individuals in more established stages of their careers, or with Congressman Peter Welch, or with Lt. Governor Phil Scott – it’s easy to be optimistic for Vermont’s future.  The future of Vermont relies, in part, on showing our student citizens that Vermont is a viable place to build their careers and their lives.  We need to do what we can to support their success, and our own success relies heavily on their ideas and perspectives.

Student engagement is crucial for an event like the Young Professionals Summit of Vermont.  Our sincerest gratitude goes out to the students of Castleton University for their support.

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