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:
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Author surname:

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Student's Name: Jonathan Arena
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Mountain Bike Trails
Project Abstract:

This fall my delicate balance project start out as trying to pick where other students had  left off with building mountain biking trails. After meeting many different barriers to be able to complete this project my partners and I decided to try to raise more of a mountain biking community on campus in the hope that another delicate student would be able to pick up where we had left off. By raise a mountain biking we had hope to be affiliated with the Vermont Mountain Biking Association through the Pine Hill park chapter and this would allow us to have the backing need to be able to not only build the trail we wanted to at the Deane's Preserve but also get the state funding needed to do so. The project is still in the works of becoming true, we have a small base of riders who support the plans and we are on the way to gaining our membership to VMBA.

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Student's Name: Mike Kearns, Jon Arena and Jon Boumhover
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell and Karen Fleming
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Enhancing the Green Mountain College Mountain Bike Community
Project Abstract:

            Over the past few decades mountain biking has become an increasingly popular form of recreation. The sport has been perused by many as a means for physical fitness, enjoyment and community building. The overall goal of our project was to make these positive attributes of mountain biking have a larger presence in the GMC campus community. To help reach this goal we did a few things. Outlining a strategic partnership between the Green Mountain College Bike Shop and the Pine Hill Park chapter of the Vermont Mountain Bike Association was a major piece. This partnership will give greater access to resources for members of the campus mountain bike community as well as better connect them to a larger community network of mountain bikers. We also worked to further the possibility of establishing a multiuse, mountain bike friendly trail in the Deane's Preserve. It is our hope that these tasks laid a foundation for students in the future to further engage the community in mountain biking. 

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Student's Name: Nick McEachern, Nick Rushford, Tom Paradise, Dave Goff, Cameron Pall
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Potential Recreational Areas for the Green Mountain College Community
Project Abstract:

            Our project had the initial goal of identifying a location for students to partake in outdoor recreational activities, including, but not limited to: hiking, mountain biking, running, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. With this location, we wanted to begin the construction of sustainably built trails with the plan to host an event on the new trail system as a way to raise awareness for the new location. Although a nice idea, our group ran into some minor problems and the final goal of our project was in flux throughout the semester.       

            Initially, we thought that we found a cooperating landowner, the Dean of Faculty Tom Mauhs-Pugh. However, as the semester progressed, our group learned that he was still undecided about what he wanted to do with the land. So, our group ended up mapping the pre-existing trail system on his property in Castleton, VT. It provided us with a wonderful learning opportunity to become educated about things like land access and private land ownership.

Here are some things that future students could do if interested in this project:

  • Devise a plan for the GMC community to utilize this land
  • Incorporate this trail system in GreenMAP trips and academic courses within the adventure education and/or the ELA program
  • Research sustainably built trails and help Tom construct these on his property
  • Host an event (e.g. mountain bike race) on the property to raise awareness and money for the continued development and maintenance of the land.

It is important for future groups of Green Mountain College students to uphold and preserve the positive relationship that we have built with Tom Mauhs-Pugh. For my research paper, I looked at the mental, physical, and environmental benefits of leisure to higher education.

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Student's Name: Nick Rushford, Nick McEachern, Cameron Pall, Dave Goff, Tom Paradise
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Recreation Opportunities for the GMC Community
Project Abstract:

All of our group members have an interest in sharing outdoor recreational activities, more specifically, hiking and mountain biking, with other people. It was on this premise that we decided to search for an area close to Poultney that could fulfill this desire. The Dean of Faculty, Tom Mauhs-Pugh, had expressed interest in developing and improving the existing trail system on his property in Castleton, Vermont. Over the course of the Fall semester, our group visited the property and initiated the first steps to begin this process of creating recreational opportunities on the  private property for public use.

            What we accomplished during this Fall semester was taking GPS coordinates of the land and create a digital map of the trail system. During our first visit to the land, scouting was done to see if what we had in mind would work in regards to the layout of the land. From there, we brought a GPS device and a high performance camera to properly take coordinates and catalog different sections of the trail system. Next, this data was placed into a bird’s eye view of TMP’s land. Using the coordinates we were able to lay down the trail on this view of the land. When clicked on, coordinate points show photos taken at land-markers and points of interest. The land has a very diverse ecosystem and the map in conjunction with the photos highlights this diversity. During our time on the land Tom was planning and started to cut a new trail. It was our hope to assist with this process and help develop similar trails in the future.

             One problem with completing this project was working with a private landowner who is still undecided on wether he wants his land available for public use. Another challenge we faced was completing the construction of new trails before the project’s due date. Conflicting schedules and lack of time ultimately made us realize building quality sustainable trails systems would have to wait until the spring.

            All future developments will have to be approved by the property owner but possible next steps include: continued trail development, more descriptions on trails and images on digital map, possible use of hiking trails for adventure and environmental education use, flora signs or placards throughout the property to assist with environmental education and posted trail map on site to assist with navigation.

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Student's Name: Scott Morris
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Floodwood Mountain Scout Reservation: A Case Study in Sustainability
Project Abstract:

For my project I have crafted a policy statement for Floodwood Mountain Scout Reservation (FMR) in Lake Clear, New York.  FMR is a high adventure base that facilitates multiday backcountry canoe trips for Boy Scout Troops from Northern New Jersey, and is owned and operated by the Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  The camp is off-grid and powers its operation by a large diesel generator that burns approximately 2,000 gallons of fuel in a 5 week span.  In this policy statement I sought to propose a more environmentally sustainable solution that would also be economically sustainable.  To investigate a topic as broad as this necessitated research in a wide array of topics, that took as a central thesis the idea of sustainable initiatives that will be plausible for an organization with very limited capital.  I examined the array of renewable and alternative energy sources available to a large scale, off-grid businesses.  I also investigated how an organization could pay for a potentially expensive energy overhaul with fundraising, grant writing, and investment solicitation.  The administration has been enthusiastic about my project and I look forward to working with them to begin to implement some of my suggested policy changes.

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Student's Name: Tom Paradise
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Potential Outdoor Recreation Areas for the Green Mountain College Community
Project Abstract:

For our project for A Delicate Balance, David Goff, Nick McEachern, Cameron Pall, Nick Rushford and I chose to explore the options of finding new recreation areas for the Green Mountain College community. We were able to do so at Tom Mauhs-Pugh’s property in Castleton, Vermont. He expressed interest in developing and improving the existing trail system. In an effort to do what he was hoping as well as finding a new recreation area for our community, we accomplished a few things.

What we accomplished during this semester was taking GPS coordinates of the land and create a digital map of the trail system. During our first visit to the land, scouting was done to see if what we had in mind would work in regards to the layout of the land. From there, we brought a GPS device and a digital SLR camera to properly take coordinates and catalog different sections of the trail system. Next, this data was placed into a bird’s eye view of Tom Mauhs-Pugh’s land. Using the coordinates we were able to lay down the trail on this view of the land. When clicked on, coordinate points show photos taken at land-markers from ground level as well as points of interest. The land has a very diverse ecosystem and the map in conjunction with the photos highlights this diversity. This map is located on a mapping site through Google. During our time on the land Tom was planning and started to cut a new trail. It was our hope to assist with this process and help develop similar trails in the future. This is something that someone else could pursue. There are plenty of places that we saw for trail expansion as well as spots where Tom Mauhs-Pugh was thinking of adding them on.  It would be great to one day see that this trail system has been expanded as well as opened up to a vast majority of the community. As of now Tom Mauhs-Pugh is somewhat wary about letting anyone use the last but it would be great to see this place one day used as the Deane Nature Preserve is for a multitude of classes at Green Mountain.

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Student's Name: Corinne Colpitts
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Electival Voting Awareness
Project Abstract:

The 2012 Electival Voting Awareness Festival brought up many key issues facing current day voters. In an effort to help get people involved, Electival was an event geared toward informing people of current issues easing the voting registration process, and raising awareness about the impact that every vote can make. Some booths were dedicated to supplying students with absentee ballots, stamps, and envelopes, another brought in speakers to discuss the importance of being aware and taking action, and others supplied refreshments. This project was focused on raising awareness of how issues specific to this state affect the people living, working, and going to school in it, and in return how they can affect the issues themselves. Because presidential election mainly addressed major national issues, it is easy to forget about the smaller concerns each state faces.

            This project highlighted the ongoing debate about the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. As an issue that affects all the people living in the state of Vermont, it is imperative that everyone is aware of the facts regarding this topic. The purpose of this booth was to inform people not only about Vermont Yankee, but also as to how they can get involved and make a difference. Individuals can take action in many ways, including: signing petitions, writing letters to political leaders, actively protesting, and raising awareness by educating themselves about the issues and passing this knowledge onto others. This project was the first step in making students at Green Mountain College aware of the issues in Vermont, which affect them, even though this may not be their home state.

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Student's Name: Domenic Mollica, Forrest Teutsch, & Daniel Fifield
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Political Education Through Presidential Debates
Project Abstract:

The project that we organized entailed screening the fourth and final Presidential debate in the Buttery. Coinciding with the debate screening, we provided pizza and beverages to entertain the attendees. After the initial debate we facilitated an informative discussion regarding who “won” the debate and how each candidate performed. In this discussion we analyzed the various political views presented throughout the debate.

Our mission with this project was to educate the student population at Green Mountain College in the presidential election.  We had witnessed many students holding private ‘debate watching parties’ in their rooms where politically fueled conversations took place long after the debates ended.  We decided that holding an event that allowed students of various political beliefs to watch the presidential debate together would induce campus-wide discussion on political affairs.  This would allow the students of Green Mountain College to experience different points of view which helps to build a more sustainable community through educated voting.

Our research incorporated subjects that included the general views of the candidates, political parties, and party platforms. Additionally, we looked into the importance of primary sources over secondary sources in relation to politics. The third member of our group examined the rhetoric and political frames of the candidates and how these are evident in the debates when properly informed.

In the future this may well continue to be a worth-while topic for Delicate Balance students who wish to keep the populous informed and educate the community on the meaningful and relevant facts in our ever-changing political world.

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Student's Name: Katherine Hansberry
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Organizing for America with the Obama Campaign
Project Abstract:

            For my Delicate Balance project I volunteered with Kelly Kraemer for Organizing for America with the Obama Campaign. The focus of our project was to get Green Mountain College students involved with the Obama campaign and inform them about how to obtain an absentee ballot. We wanted everyone to get involved with the election. We spent the last two months leading up to the election trying to get students excited about the election. We would sit outside Chartwells in the Withy lobby during lunch and/or dinner with information. We had a list of dates, which we were scheduled to go canvassing and hold phone bank events. This table offered students an opportunity to volunteer with Organizing for America. Anyone was welcome to sign up and no previous experience was necessary. We also distributed absentee ballot application forms. We helped seventy-eight people get absentee ballots mailed to Green Mountain College. We were also able to recruit three volunteers to come canvassing one weekend. We went door to door in different neighborhoods in New Hampshire and asked undecided, registered voters a series of questions. We each visited around twenty-five houses. We organized three phone banks and participated in four. We were able to recruit three people to make phone calls to recruit volunteers for the campaign in the Green Mountain College Gorge. Each person called around a hundred people. We were trained with vote- builder (an online program that gives you the opportunity to make phone calls for the campaign from home). We heavily advertised the phone banks around the school and via email. The work we did raised awareness about the campaign. Many students were thankful that we gave them an opportunity to vote and get involved.  The last months of the election were spent making sure people knew that every vote counted. There is no excuse for not voting and we helped motivate more people to get involved. The data we collected from the phone banks and canvassing helped the Obama Campaign narrow down who was still unsure about how they would vote in the election. Our work demonstrated that anyone can be involved with politics and help make a difference.

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Student's Name: Kerry Monahan
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Electival, a Green Mountain College Student-Sponsored Event
Project Abstract:

For the “Delicate Balance” project, I invited Independent Gubernatorial candidate Emily Peyton to participate in Electival, a Green Mountain College student-sponsored event on October 3, 2012 aimed at raising voter awareness of policy issues facing Vermonters.

Ms. Peyton faced difficult odds in the November election. Major media outlets usually do not cover third-party platforms, like hers, until just before the election. She attempted to take part in Vermont’s Gubernatorial debate on Vermont Public Radio (VPR) but was ultimately not invited to participate in the debate between incumbent Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, and Republican candidate Randy Brock, who is a state Senator.

While a lack of support from the mainstream political parties and media made Ms. Peyton’s ultimately unsuccessful bid a steep climb, she has argued, nevertheless, that her positions resonate with the independent spirit of Vermonters. Peyton feels that our political system is broken. The result? A lack of economic and personal prosperity, health, independence and trust in our institutions. She believes that Vermonters are ready to rebuild our political system so that all may benefit.

Ms. Peyton is a major proponent of hemp industrialization, calling for an end to its prohibition and seeing it as a key to our manufacturing and environmental future.

Here at GMC, her positions may especially resonate for students who are seeking to make a future in a green economy that moves us away from traditional fossil-fuel-based industries. This message also corresponds with our college’s mission, which is framed on ideals of environmental responsibility, public service, global understanding, and lifelong intellectual, physical, and spiritual development.  

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