I want college again. I want to do it over and do it better. I want to take entire days and write bad poetry out by the labyrinth and spread out on a blanket across Moses Lawn while Quidditch players race around to the discordant rhythm of reggae. I want to teach myself to be a better person than I was at 18, 19, 20.
This project taught me a lot about working within an administrative system to gain momentum for a social justice campaign. It was extremely difficult to work with Green Mountain College to successfully get this project done, and I had to cut back on most of my plans, and change each part to be smaller, and with a lot less help than I had originally planned on. The faculty, apart from my professors, were mostly ambivalent to helping, and adverse to any money going towards it. For example, I could not complete the final fundraising event due to lack of money being given to my budget, and lack of student life to want to work with my event plans because of our strict campus rules. It was interesting to see this happen, because GMC recently got standards by law they had to abide by in accordance with Violence Against Women Act. Even with this, they were confused at what to do on campus to successfully create systems in place to deal with sexual, domestic, and gender based violence. A fellow senior and I were both working on projects to create these systems, and while asking for advice on how to do it, they simultaneously did not support our campaigns. They were invited to participate in the TBTN march (pictured below), and both faculty and residence life did not show, and I believe that is a perfect example of their participation and willingness to put a system in place for discrimination to end on this campus. I wish this project could’ve expanded more within the community and inspired those with power on this campus, but I was extremely happy and excited that this project, and Shai’s project, has inspired Freshman and Sophomore women to continue to fight for the student body for violence and rape to end.
I believe the campus should write grants to fix our broken system, and also educate staff to better handle violence, because they are ignorant on how to handle victims of abuse. The minimum four requirements for a Campus Program are as follows: coordinated community response, prevention and education program, law enforcement training, and judicial/disciplinary board training. Looking into the student start and student powered program at Prescott College, an Eco-League school, would help GMC to better understand what to do. Here are my recommendations to pass onto younger students and especially the new Activism Floor:
-extensive multi-cultural, and gender and victim sensitivity training
-text message service/APP to contact on-call trained staff for women that need help or need to use to hotline to tell someone, without getting authorities involved if they so choose
-strengthen ties with Rutland women’s shelter, and with Poultney police : have meetings and trainings together (this would serve the first required step in the new required program)
-an interactive orientation for incoming students participating in conversations about gender, violence, rape, and unhealthy relationships ran by women and staff trained in these issues, and upperclassmen that are studying these disciplines (like the one Krista, Shai, and Kim ran on campus this semester)
-more women security guards-one on duty every night on the 11pm-7am shift
-students trained in these disciplines, and the staff and faculty that are trained to these new standards, and staff from the wellness center need to sit in the judicial hearings, and are REQUIRED to be in attendance to ALL meetings with ANY staff about relationship violence and rape and stalking cases in determined appropriate steps of action
With these in place, the system can continue to hold everyone that is apart of the GMC community and experience responsible for anything that happens to it’s students.
This project has inspired me to continue this work, and also how to deal with administrations and people in power to start a non-profit or to get a grant.
We will be giving our first ever presentation at Green Mountain College next week! The event will be focused on spreading information and awareness, sharing our mission and goals as a company, and meeting with members of the community and allies in a safe environment. With an emphasis on the experiences trans and nonbinary individuals go through thanks to transphobia and ways to effect change.
Dates and Times: Saturday April 30th from 3-6pm @ East Room Sunday May 1st from 1-4pm @ The Gorge Both locations in Withey Hall
College Address: Green Mountain College 1 Brennan Cir Poultney, VT 05764
It’s a free event, snacks and drinks will be provided, and we would love to see you there!
Even if you can’t make it, we’ll be posting some of our materials used here after the presentation so nobody misses out! If you’re interested in having Ways2Raise do a presentation near you, contact us at email@example.com.