Delicate Balance Project Abstract Archive

This database stores some detail about delicate balance projects over the years.


        
 
Student's Name: [[Student's Name]]
Professor:
Year and Term:
Project Title:
Project Abstract:
Author first name:
Author surname:

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Student's Name: Sarah Porter and Maria Nuzzi
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: BuildOn: A Hope For a Better Future of Education
Project Abstract:

For our Delicate Balance project we wanted to emphasize raising awareness about issues involved with education to the surrounding communities. We then decided to focus our project around a program named BuildOn. Its emphasis is on establishing high quality educational experiences for everyone, especially those who come from underprivileged communities. Therefore, our project consisted of holding various informative group meetings/sessions where people could collaborate and share what they know with others. We also held a bake sale as part of our project in order to raise money to donate to the actual BuildOn program. We raised over 70$, much more than we had originally planned! This money goes directly to building schools in poor countries overseas that have no access to any form of education.

            Because both of our academic interests revolve around education, our research consisted of looking at how certain factors may influence educational attainment within particular groups.  

            Due to such a limited time frame, we were unable to achieve all of the things we had originally hoped for. There are several tasks that we would like to approach in upcoming years. These include things such as starting a chapter within our own communities in order to keep raising awareness. We would also like to start a campaign. This will enable us to raise money and donate it to a project of our choice. Also, we would be able to participate in hands-on service building schools overseas.

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Student's Name: Nelson Vila-Santana
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Food Shelf
Project Abstract:

Project Abstract:The benevolence of individuals in the local Green Mountain community, along with impressions of those who have been or are food-insecure from my home town has inspired me to take up a project which may allow for a connection between the town of Poultney’s food shelf, the StoneBridge, and the Green Mountain College Campus to be established. In order to accomplish this, myself and a partner, Jack Sinclair, contacted the Stonebridge at the beginning of this semester. Our initial hopes were to increase the communities awareness of this amazing resource and aid in establishing a turkey drive for thanksgiving as well as distributing pamphlets to the community, spread over a large area. This initial goal was obliterated. We could not find or maintain a string of communication with those who run the food shelf and were unable to arrange any of these operatives. Next, with little feedback from the Stonebridge community, we attempted to form a food drive to increase the provisions of the food shelf. These hopes were quickly dashed in the weeks following our proposal because collection boxes were placed at these establishments by the Stonebridge volunteers. Our final operative, to bring GMC students to the Stonebridge to aid them in preparations for the winter holidays, was successful. Jack (John) Sinclair and myself along with other students of GMC visited the Stonebridge and prepared them for the Christmas Open Shelf on December 14th 2012. This even was completed in two and a half hours and resulted in provisions for the 70 families which currently utilize the shelf for the Christmas holiday. 

Through this project our team learned that it was extremely difficult to gain contact with Stonebridge volunteers and without face-to-face contact we would have never completed our mission. In the future missions should be taken to improve the connection between GMC and the Stonebridge. Community Service hours issued by campus life could be completed at the Stonebridge  and benefit both aid the community of Poultney and suffice as community service hours for Green Mountain College.

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Student's Name: Tracy Hewitt
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Election Awareness at Poultney Elementary School
Project Abstract:

For my Delicate Balance project I collaborated with two students to teach two lessons to two sixth grade classes at Poultney Elementary school. The lessons were about elections in the United States. We focused on the 2012 Presidential elections. We also taught them about elections in general, including topics such as the Electoral College and the process of voting. We taught them about the candidates of the 2012 Presidential election and some main aspects of their platforms: the economy, education, the environment and health care. They reflected on their own opinions about elections in general and the candidate platforms. We also gave them the chance to ask questions. We researched the answers to their questions and answered them in the next class period. We did a mock election with the classes, which included creating I.D.s, registering to vote and voting on paper ballots. We reflected with the students on the importance of voting and on being informed about elections and issues in the United States so that students can make an informed vote when they are old enough to do so.

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Student's Name: Cody Tedford
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Promoting a Queer-Friendly Campus
Project Abstract:

Inspired by Green Mountain College's review on the Campus Pride Index (http://www.campusprideindex.org/), this project had three focal points:

1. To add “gender identity and expression” to the school's Policy of Non-Discrimination, both in official documents and on the school website.

2. To develop and institute a one-step record-change process for transgender students with and without legal record changes.

3. To revise the school's review on the Campus Pride Index.

Since all these goals require approval by college administration, much of the 'footwork' for this project involved meeting with college officials.  My research focused on the arguments for and benefits of diversity (diversity in general, diversity of gender identities, and diversity of sexual orientations) on college campuses. Beyond my first meeting with Joe Petrick, the Director of Residence Life, to discuss the feasibility of my project and some potential starting points, it would be best to divide up my footwork and findings by focal point...

 

The Policy of Non-Discrimination

Trying to find out who is in charge of the Policy of Non-Discrimination has been an extremely difficult process. Now, however, I know that Janie Evans, the Human Resource Director, is the person to talk to about the version of this policy in the Staff Handbook. I am still unsure who to talk to about the version in the Student Handbook and on the website, but I am following a number of leads.

 

A One-Step Record-Change Process

Every department I talked to that deals with records was unwilling to change anything without approval from the Registrar's Office. However, Joe Petrick informed me that, as long as a student's legal name is retained along with their preferred name, there should be no problem with record changes. The records I intend to include within the process include Student ID, email, class rosters, and floor rosters. I am currently working on a record-change form that transgender students would submit to the Registrar's Office in order to change all their records. Ideally, the Registrar's Office would forward this form to Campus Security, IT, and Residence Life, thereby saving the transgender student the trouble of going through the same process over and over again with each department.

 

Our Campus Pride Index Review

I attended both PANTS (People Are Not Their Sex) and Pride meetings to get their input on the accuracy of our current Campus Pride Index review. To summarize my findings, the review is not very accurate and is often misleading. From talking with a Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee, Heidie Vazquez-Garcia, it seems that they would be the best group to coordinate with on revising our review. While I did not have time to start revising the review, I have looked it over quite carefully. Additionally, my frequent interaction with administration on this project resulted in my being recommended for the position of Student Representative on the Diversity Committee, which should be helpful in completing this project. I was also unable to find out who filed our last review, so its exact contents are still unknown.

 

This summary of my work should expedite any future work in this area, as it can be used to reduced the guesswork in determining which individual/department should be contacted for different concerns.

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Student's Name: Alix Drown and Elana Weinstein
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Really Really Free Market Project Description
Project Abstract:

The Really Really Free Market entails creating a fair or bazaar where the trade of items is not based on money or bartering, but on the direct exchange of item. In addition to exchanging these items, the Really Really Free Market (RRFM) can have entertainment, a potluck, skill shares and exchanges, or workshops that can directly ameliorate the community atmosphere. Setting up a RRFM is challenging but rewarding – it requires an incredible amount of organizing and preparation to make it a success. The Really Really Free Market set up in 2012 was a continuation of the previous year’s RRFM, although it was not held in the same location nor did it have the same level of attendance. It also differed in that our group focused more on community building workshops and collaborations with other groups, as opposed to a strict item exchange.

 We encountered the most difficulty with participation – as it was a Thursday night, many students on campus did not have the same priorities that our group did. Fortunately, we were able to combine our RRFM with the 7 Day Music Project. Because so many people were involved in that event, the amount of donations and contributions to the potluck was greatly facilitated. Additionally, the 7 Day Music Project / RRFM became an almost 4 hour affair of face painting, tarot card reading and item exchange finally culminating in a concert.

Research for this project was fairly easy  - there are numerous collective groups in every major city hosting this sort of event. On Facebook, the New York City’s RRFM is easily accessible, and you can contact them with any questions. Additionally, the CrimeThinc website has multiple resources on how to set up and maintain a RRFM.

For future projects, it is definitely recommended that publicity should be the top priority. Without participation this project is absolutely nothing and it is only with a strong collective mind can the RRFM continue as a sustainable part of a community.

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Student's Name: Benj Rackliffe
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Transitioning to Local Organic VT Flour in the Dining Hall
Project Abstract:

This project’s purpose was to fund the use of locally sourced, whole wheat organic flour in the GMC dining hall for one semester. This was accomplished by obtaining a grant through Student Campus Greening Fund that covers the difference between what the dining hall pays now for generic white flour and the cost of local organic flour. The idea was initially proposed by Garland Mason, Green Mountain’s RAFFL coordinator, who had created price point comparison sheets comparing the current costs of items purchased by Chartwells compared to what they would cost if similar items were purchased from local sources. Using the data from these comparisons, Garland recommended that local flour could be incorporated into the dining hall with funding to cover the price point gap between generic flour (40¢ per pound) and whole wheat flour from Gleason Grains in Bridport, VT (70¢ per pound). The first step was to meet with Dave and Cindy Ondria, the food service directors in the dining hall. They were already purchasing some flour from Gleason Grains and were excited to transition entirely to their flour for use in the pizza dough and bread baked daily in the dining hall. Dave and Cindy put their support behind the project and wanted to implement it the following semester, spring of 2012-13. After contacting Ben and Theresa Gleason, sole owners and operators of Gleason Grains, they agreed to meet the order and would make two deliveries during the upcoming semester. The funds for the project were acquired through a rolling fall SCGF grant for $500, which was accepted in late November. In the upcoming semester when Gleason Grains flour will be used in the dining hall, Dave and Cindy will partially pay Gleason with the money that would otherwise go toward purchasing generic white flour, and the funds from the SCGF grant will cover the rest. Since this project only enables the purchasing of local flour for one semester, further work is required to provide funding for local flour into the future. This could be done by securing a permanent allocation from the college’s budget or restructuring the budget in the dining hall itself. Research for this project included examining the impacts of industrial agriculture as well as the pros and cons of alternative farming systems such as the local and organic movements. It also included analyzing institutions such as schools, jails, and hospitals around the country that are sourcing more of their food locally. The basis of this project can be adapted to other items in the dining hall and provide a further means to increase locally sourced food at Green Mountain.

 

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Student's Name: Jennifer McKanna and Lily Bradburn
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Local on the Menu: Expanding The Coffee House’s menu to include local food
Project Abstract:

This Delicate Balance Project essentially sought to expand The Coffee House’s menu to include local food. Jenn, Lily, The Coffee House staff, as well as Dave and Cindy Ondria worked closely together to look for local food companies and businesses to buy from and menu items to either addsor modify so that they reflected the food values of the Green Mountain College campus. The culmination of this project was a local food event open to the campus community where the new menu items (which included local grilled cheese and hot chocolate) were first introduced to the permanent menu. Due to the success of the event, the staff, Jenn, and Lily applied for The Coffee House to receive restaurant certification from the Vermont Department of Health Food and Lodging. Working with Addison Country Health Inspector Bob Manfredi, The Coffee House became a certified restaurant. All of the funding for the event and money for supplies and the license fee for the certification was made possible by a Student Campus Greening Fund (SCGF) fall grant of around $900.00.

            For the future many options are possible for expanding this project. Seasonality was not taken into account in this project given that the growing season ended while the project was being implemented.  Connections could be made between The Coffee House and Cerridwen Farm through clubs and initiatives from students. The Coffee House also has the option to sell student-made food items as specialty items and this could be a networking/marketing project for a future student. Currently, the kitchen could use more shelving for dishes and supplies, as well as a new refrigerator (one more energy efficient), and is already fitted with the necessary pipes for an oven. All these options are feasible as projects for the future.

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Student's Name: Johanna Douglas
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Raw Milk Dairy Day in Vermont
Project Abstract:

 

            For my Delicate Balance Project, I organized a Raw Milk Dairy Day in Vermont on Saturday, October 27, 2012, where I asked farmers from raw milk dairy farms across the state to open up their farms to visitors on that day.  The ten Vermont farms that participated in the event were: Cerridwen Farm (Poultney), Earthwise Farm (Bethel), Hazen Monument Farm (East Hardwick), Hollister Hill Farm (Marshfield), Jersey Girls Dairy (Chester), New Village Farm (Shelburne), Taylor Farm (Londonderry), Trevin Farms (Sudbury), Wayward Goose Farm (West Pawlet), and Windy Corners Farm (Charlotte).  The farmers provided tours of their farms, answered questions, invited visitors to interact with the animals, and encouraged visitors to watch a milking.  The visitors learned about producing raw milk while connecting with their local farmers. 

I informed the public about the event through newspaper articles in the Rutland Herald and the Burlington Free Press, Facebook posts, and a flyer.  I made the flyer which had a map of the farm locations as well as a paragraph about each farm describing the farm type as well what the farmers were offering for the event that day.  The flyer was posted on Vermont tourism and town websites (Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Central Vermont Events & Meetings, and Chester Vermont), on farming websites (Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Rural Vermont, Dig In Vermont, Vermont Fresh Network, and American Micro Dairies), and in co-ops (The Co-op Food Stores).

As the Dairy Manager at Green Mountain College’s Cerridwen Farm, I welcomed four groups of visitors to the farm during the Raw Milk Dairy Day.  I provided tours of the farm which included visiting the animals, discussed how students hand-milk Artichoke (a Milking Shorthorn cow) twice a day, described to visitors how they can purchase raw milk on the farm, and explained the laws in Vermont in regards to raw milk sales.

For the research component of the project, I first illustrated how there are multiple economic, social, and environmental benefits garnered from fostering close farmer-consumer relationships.  Many consumers get to know their dairy farmers quite well when they purchase local raw milk and the demand for raw milk is increasing.  I then showed how stricter raw milk laws will ensure cleaner, healthier milk and ultimately, allow for greater access to raw milk to meet the growing demand.

One of my hopes for this project is that is will become an annual event, not just in Vermont but in other states as well.  If this is to be maintained into the future, I think getting the farms to participate in the event once again as well as getting more farms to also join will be important.  Additionally, more advertizing starting at an earlier time (not just two weeks before the event) will be imperative to help get the word out to the public so that more people will come visit the farms.  I have been in contact with Rural Vermont with my feedback on the event with the goal that this will become an annual Rural Vermont or NOFA-VT sponsored event.  Also, I have been in contact with the President of the Oregon Raw Milk Producers Association, helping her to craft a Raw Milk Dairy Day in her state.  Hopefully, more states will want to host an event like this in their own respective states.

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Student's Name: Mary Perotti
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: The Center of the Plate: Helping Students Become More Involved with the Food System and Chartwells at GMC
Project Abstract:

The Center of the Plate Initiative was created in the summer of 2012 by Garland Mason but when the fall harvest season began, a need for a large processing team arose. Mary Perotti and Michael Sharry decided to take control of this initiative and created a Center of the Plate Club with access to funds and over 80 members from the Green Mountain College Community. Throughout September and early October there were multiple (about 7) processing events in the Commercial Kitchen in the Solar Harvest Center on the farm. Once the harvest season slowed, the club took on another approach and looked into different ways of helping Chartwells Food Service including help with communications, doing workshops and meeting with Dave Ondria. Through a local food community event on December 3rd, the club received feedback about what students want to see in the dining hall and how students can become more involved in the food system.

            Also at this time, Harrison Rhodes, a fellow student and Center of the Plate Club Member was working on a SCGF grant proposal with for a Local Foods Sourcing Position which will create a new job for someone in the community who would work in conjunction with Center of the Plate Club as the new advisor. Myself and co-president Michael Sharry helped create this proposal and we will be hopefully be involved with the hiring process and eventually work with this person and the club to do future processings and events next spring and fall.

            Other future implications include the continuation of the Center of the Plate Club, working more closely with the new hire in Chartwells, implementing some of the ideas that students came up with in the meeting on December 3rd, working with administration and faculty on promotion of more local food in the dining hall and overall helping the college become more sustainable within the food system.

            The research portion of this project looked at two topics: The benefits of local food on the economy in comparison to conventionally produced foods on a large scale and how local food systems including farmers and consumers include social responsibility and justice in their everyday lives unlike conventional agriculture systems. This research relates to the project because it gives support for why Green Mountain College and Chartwells Food Service should try to incorporate more local food into the dining hall year round.

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Student's Name: Cameron Pall, Tom Paradise, Nick McEachern, David Goff and Nick Rushford
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Off-Campus Hiking/ Biking Trail Access
Project Abstract:

            As a group of adventure education students, we collectively decided we wanted to complete a project that was closely related to our field of study.  After hearing from a staff member of Green Mountain College that Tom Mauhs-Pugh, the Dean of Faculty, had a large area of land with trails suitable for hiking and biking, we wanted to see if this land could be opened for the entire Green Mountain College community. We also wanted to assists Tom Maugs-Pugh in maintenance of existing trails and the creation of new sustainable trails. Finally, we hoped to host a mountain biking race on this property to create awareness in the Green Mountain College community.

            After meeting with Tom and fully understanding his desires for the land, we soon realized that our original ideas would not be possible. Tom was still undecided on the extent to which outsiders would be able to access his land. He purchased this property several years ago and has developed a deep connection to the nature he owns. He wanted to build his own trails, on his own time, making us realize this land was his hobby.

            Tom still allowed us to enter his land, often times accompanying us on our journeys, in order to digitally map the entire property. I walked to entire trail system with a GPS, taking hundreds of points and playing “connect the dots” in GoogleEarth. Once this map was completed we made it the main focus of the poster.

            By mapping the land and meeting with the landowner, we suggested to Tom that the community would benefit if it was opened for public use. I believe if a preceding Delicate Balance group project follows through with more maintenance of the trials and the assisting of building trails, this land may be eventually opened. Our group put “the foot in the door”, and another group can finish the project in the future.

            My research paper focused on the availability of private land for public use and how to increase this availability. Studies show that current public recreation areas are becoming overcrowded and predicted reports show that outdoor recreation will continue to increase. Areas of land similar to Tom Mauhs-Pugh property need to be opened in order to maintain the delicate ecosystems of the areas.

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