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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Student's Name: Libby Davis
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Electival 2012
Project Abstract:

Abstract: A group of students enrolled in 4000 05 Delicate Balance class assembled and came together to host a musical event that’s main objective was to promote political awareness and participation on Green Mountain College Campus. The target audience, which consisted of students and faculty alike, were provided reliable information on both democratic and republican party platforms. Additionally, they had an opportunity to fill out an application for an absentee ballot from their home state, getting it stamped and mailed at no cost to them, and the chance to discuss with fellow students the importance of civic engagement and exercising the right to vote in today’s society. This event, appropriately called “Electival 2012,” was all conducted in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere of food, live music and guest speakers.

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Student's Name: Luisa Romano, Leslie Clarke, and Tracy Hewitt
Professor: Thayer Raines
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Teaching the Voting Process to Sixth Grade Students
Project Abstract:

            This Delicate Balance project was taken on by Luisa Romano, Leslie Clarke, and Tracy Hewitt. The focus of our project was to teach the electoral process to students at Poultney Elementary School in the context of the 2012 Presidential Election. Our goal was to inspire the students to be active and informed citizens.  Our project consisted of going into Mr. Herrington’s six grade classes to teach lessons on the voting process. To prepare for these lessons we did research on how to teach this topic effectively and to insure that we had an accurate understanding on the topic. We taught two lessons to the entire sixth grade class over the course of several weeks. The first lesson consisted of teaching the students about the electrical college using visuals. In that same lesson we chose appropriate issues from the democratic and republican candidate platforms to present to the students. We then had the students’ explore the different issues by making Frayer models. In the next lesson we reviewed the candidate platform issues and conducted a mock election. During that same lesson we held a discussions on respecting others opinions and the importance of voting.

            The students were receptive to the lessons and demonstrated a basic understanding of the concepts. However, it became clear through assessment that the students needed more time in the form of lessons to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the voting process. This project can be expanded to include more lessons on the electoral process through a unit on the topic. There is also an opportunity to work with the History Club at Poultney Elementary School to address other history related topics and expand on them through working on small group projects with the students. As of fall 2012 Mr. Herrington is the History Club faculty adviser. Questions about interacting with Poultney Elementary School should be addressed to members of the education department at Green Mountain College.

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Student's Name: Luke Carey, Mark Perry and Nicholas Ravotti
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: 2012 Presidential debates
Project Abstract:

Over the course of several weeks, three students, Luke Carey, Mark Perry, and Nicholas Ravotti, collaborated on a series of podcasts to cover the events and topics discussed in the 2012 Presidential debates. The podcast series, a total of 4 episodes (one for each of the three presidential debates, and a fourth on the vice-presidential debate) offered predictions, analysis, and summary of the issues covered in the debates. In addition to this action component of the project, both Mark and Luke wrote and researched several papers on different topics pertaining to the debates. The topics covered in these research papers include polarization in American politics, issue framing and rhetoric in debates, and the psychological aspects of politics and debates.

 

The research conducted for this project was cross-disciplinary, taking a political-science and historically oriented approach, as well as a more political-psychology approach. Both disciplines were useful in that they accentuated aspects of what we had seen while watching the debates, as well as following the process on our own. The historical research was designed to follow the progression of party politics, and how  the platforms we associate with the two major parties have changed over time. Research was also conducted on rhetoric and framing, and the influence these techniques have, or do not have, over voters. Also explored were the psychological tools, such as campaign ads, employed by politicians during campaigns in order to secure votes amongst populations that were undecided on Election Day. The research also touched on the effectiveness of these tools among different age groups.

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Student's Name: Matt Masters, Libby Davis, Meaghan Norris, Corinne Colpitts, Virginia Anderson, Tiernan Smith, and Kerry Monahan
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Electival 2012!
Project Abstract:

In preparation of for the 2012 presidential election a group of individuals came together to organize a multi-faceted event for the community of Green Mountain College. The event Electival 2012! Focused on themes of voter awareness, civic engagement, local issues, and activism. The intent was to bring as many members of the community together as possible to share music, food, ideas and information. Most importantly it was an event designed to help members of the community take the appropriate steps to register as an absentee voter. The hope was to provide a fun and interactive atmosphere where people could get the information they needed to make their voice herd in their hometowns and in their local communities.  All of the information and forums needed to request an absentee ballot were provided. Once the forums were filled out they were collected and mailed free of charge. A picnic style lunch was served along with snacks and sweets while local musicians provided entertainment. Two guest speakers, Tom Williams a GMC professor and Emily Peyton an independent candidate for Governor of Vermont in 2012, both spoke at the event on topics ranging from the election process to the industrial uses of hemp. As a result of the project many within the GMC community were introduced to and assisted with the voting process and absentee ballots.

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Student's Name: Meaghan Norris
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Electival 2012: Abstract
Project Abstract:

                I was part of a group of several students who organized a musical event to get the GMC community energized about political engagement in the upcoming 2012 election. We provided booths with information on the party platforms, an opportunity to sign a local petition, and had a third party representative give a speech. We also had a question and answer period with a professor so students could discuss in an intimate group the importance of exercising your right to vote. To make the event more appealing we provided food from Chartwells and music from fellow classmates. Specifically, I helped set up a booth that provided absentee ballot applications so students could vote in their home states. We took on the responsibility of finding and printing out ballots and, with funding from SGA, providing stamps and envelopes to mail them out. We were able to mail out about 30 applications, however, we fear hurricane Sandy may have had an effect on this process.

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Student's Name: Hannah Weller and Megan O’Keefe
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Know Your Issues: Election 2012
Project Abstract:

The goal of this Delicate Balance Capstone Project was to promote public education about issues relevant to this year’s Presidential election and to encourage social sustainability by hosting community viewings of three documentary films in the Green Mountain College Coffee House. Film showings were followed by a discussion of the issues presented in the films and how they connect to the upcoming election. The first film showing, The Corporation, exposed corporate control of public information and government decisions due to their great ability of persuasion driven by vast wealth, and their legal rights to corporate personhood.  The second documentary we showed, Tapped, addressed the issue of access to clean drinking water as a basic human right and called for an end to the use of plastic water bottles due to the depletion of public water access, health effects, and environmental impacts. Dr. Steven Fesmire led discussion on the “ripeness” of topics in the issue-attention cycle and drew connections to the Bill and Lou issue from the fall of 2012.  Koch Brothers Exposed was the final documentary we showed. It introduced viewers to the billionaire brothers, the Koch’s, who use their wealth to influence political races, privatization of the public sector, and other legislation that advances their business interests at the expense of citizens’ rights.  This film was followed by discussion with Dr. Heather Keith and Dr. Paul Hancock who shared more information on the Koch brothers influence on the current election, including handing out biased “voter information packets” that endorsed certain candidates to all employees of Georgia Pacific, a company owned by the Koch’s. 

Activism @ GMC provided funds to support a tab at the coffee house as well as purchase red, white, and blue local food snacks made by Slow Food Club: homemade potato and beet chips with bleu cheese dip.  Our advertisement campaign featured posters highlighting all three events that were up for the whole month as well as posters for the individual events for the week prior. Our papers included research about the history of voting rights and current threats to voting rights like the voter ID laws passed by some states before the 2012 election, as well as the benefits of using documentary films in public education and further insight into the issues discussed in the films.

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Student's Name: Tiernan Smith
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Electival 2012
Project Abstract:

     The goal of this Delicate Balance project was to get the Green Mountain College community educated on politics in the United States and to make it more accessible for them to be able to vote in the 2012 presidential election.  Electival 2012 was a political mock festival held on October 3rd in the Gorge. Absentee ballots and copies that could be filled out and sent in were available.  Local artists from the GMC community played music and food was used to catch the attention of the students.  Most of attendees came for absentee ballots, which was the main part to this mock festival. Advertisement was put around the school and e-mails were sent to the student body to remind them they could easily vote by coming and filling out ballots. 

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Student's Name: Virginia Anderson
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: Electival 2012
Project Abstract:

Electival 2012 was a festival that aimed to promote political awareness through student involvement, music, and refreshments. This festival tried to promote voter awareness by providing students at Green Mountain College absentee ballots from their home states, bringing in speakers that emphasized the importance of voting, and highlighting some key issues that many people perhaps do not know they can influence. This individual project dealt with making people aware of important issues going on in Vermont at this time, and encouraging people to take action. Even though many students are not registered to vote in Vermont, they can still make their voices heard by signing petitions, attending protests, writing letters to political leaders, and making sure they are well educated about the issues. One of the issues focused on in this project was the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant and the conflicts regarding its recent license renewal. There are several case studies that can be examined to show how the government interacts with the states and with its people to make changes when they are deemed necessary. This system is not incredibly efficient, but it is better than the alternative: one group making all the decisions without considering how it will affect everyone else. Understanding that people have power in government is the first step in creating change. The first step the Electival group took was educating the students at Green Mountain College about their responsibility to vote and take action to change the future.

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Student's Name: Dakota VanTine
Professor: Mary Jane Maxwell
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: High Altitude Nutrition
Project Abstract:

High altitude mountaineering has become an increasingly popular activity in the past few years. Climbers travel to high alpine areas such as the Andes, Himalaya, and Alps and spend anywhere from a week to a month at altitudes greater than 5,000 meters. One of the main consequences of traveling to such high altitudes is decreased athletic performance. Reasons for decreased performance include a negative energy balance, loss of body water, and loss of muscle mass. Scientists have conducted studies that pinpoint nutrition as the prime combatant to fatigue in the mountains. With mountaineering increasing in popularity, it has become important to understand specific nutritional needs of athletes in high alpine environments.

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Student's Name: Dana Vocht
Professor: Heather Keith
Year and Term: F12
Project Title: The Bookshelf Exchange
Project Abstract:

This Delicate Balance project was used to encourage reading for fun on a college campuses. Students would have the opportunity to donate fiction books they wanted others to enjoy. Students could also take books they found interesting, return them when they were done, or keep them if they really enjoyed the book. The project only included fiction books, but many students indicated on an end-of-the-year survey that they would like to see it expand to include non-fiction books as well.

            For the project I needed permission from Paul Millette to place the shelf in the library’s twenty-four our computer lab. After much deliberation the library staff voted that they would rather see the shelf in the library lobby where it would get more attention. The IT department in the library donated the bookshelf. After I secured the space and the bookshelf, I had to make sure that none of the bookshelf books wound up in the library or vice versa. The solution to this problem was a stamp that indicated “Green Mountain College Bookshelf Exchange” on the top of the books. In order to gauge the movement of books, I kept track of the books on the shelf each week

            For research, I looked at the history of libraries and the psychological effects of books on readers. I learned that it wasn’t until fairly recently that libraries were for public use. I also found out that books, specifically novels, are extremely beneficial to readers, especially those in developmental stages.

            In the future I’d like to see the library student workers take over the stamping of new books and keeping the shelf neat and organized. I would also love to see a Delicate Balance student work on expanding the shelf to include non-fiction as a project.

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