green-mountain-college

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.

I want to go back as I go forward.

Final Reflections and Future Directions

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. 

9

Some of the book recommendations from the second half of the Sistah Vegan, Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter conference, I thought I’d share (US centric):

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community – and all of us - -to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.

  • Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López : Rejecting any simple story of malevolent and obvious racism, Haney Lopez links as never before the two central themes that dominate American politics today: the decline of the middle class and the Republican Party’s increasing reliance on white voters…. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services.

  • The Elephants in the Room: An Excavation by Martin Rowe :
    Through the lens of Rowe’s relationships with two Kenyan conservationists—Wangari Maathai and Daphne Sheldrick—this book surveys a number of prejudices that many of us who are fortunate to be born with the privileges attached to our skin color, sex, and access to resources don’t like to deal with: race, misogyny, and the legacy of empire. By examining the two women’s memoirs (Unbowed and Love, Life, and Elephants), both of which were launched following talks at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, these metaphorical elephants in the room are combined with a study of the exploitation of actual elephants on the continent of Africa, and the iterations of memory that are disclosed or hidden in the writing of memoirs and the collecting of bones for museums. 
  • The Oxen at the Intersection: A Collision (or, Bill and Lou Must Die: A Real-Life Murder Mystery from the Green Mountains of Vermont) by pattrice jones: When Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, announced that two oxen called Bill and Lou would be killed and turned into hamburgers despite their years of service as unofficial college and town mascots, pattrice jones and her colleagues at nearby VINE Sanctuary offered an alternative scenario: to allow the elderly bovines to retire to the sanctuary. What transpired after this simple offer was a catastrophe of miscommunication, misdirection, and misinterpretations, as the college dug in its heels, activists piled on, and social media erupted….The Oxen at the Intersection is a brilliant unearthing of the assumptions, preconceptions, and biases that led all concerned with the lives and deaths of these two animals to fail to achieve their ends. How and why the threads of this story unspooled, as jones reveals, raises profound questions—most particularly about how ideas rooted in history, race, gender, region, and speciesism intersect and complicate strategy and activism, and their desired outcomes.

  • Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak by A. Breeze Harper : Sistah Vegan is a series of narratives, critical essays, poems, and reflections from a diverse community of North American black-identified vegans. Collectively, these activists are de-colonizing their bodies and minds via whole-foods veganism.
  • Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice  by Will Tuttle : This book consists of a series of essays by internationally recognized authors and activists, Edited by Dr. Will Tuttle. The essays focus on how the seemingly disparate issues of human, animal, and environmental rights are indeed connected.

  • Species Matters: Humane Advocacy and Cultural Theory by Marianne DeKoven : “Species Matters” considers whether cultural studies should pay more attention to animal advocacy and whether, in turn, animal studies should pay more attention to questions raised by cultural theory.

  • White Logic, White Methods: Racism and Methodology by Tukufu Zuberi and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva : In this collection of essays, the authors examine how racial considerations have affected the way social science is conducted; how issues are framed, and data is analyzed. With an assemblage of leading scholars, White Logic, White Methods explores the possibilities and necessary dethroning of current social research practices, and demands a complete overhaul of current methods, towards multicultural and pluralist approach to what we know, think, and question.

  • The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad : Following the 1890 census, the first to measure the generation of African Americans born after slavery, crime statistics, new migration and immigration trends, and symbolic references to America as the promised land of opportunity were woven into a cautionary tale about the exceptional threat black people posed to modern urban society. Excessive arrest rates and overrepresentation in northern prisons were seen by many whites—liberals and conservatives, northerners and southerners—as indisputable proof of blacks’ inferiority. In the heyday of “separate but equal,” what else but pathology could explain black failure in the “land of opportunity”? …The idea of black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America, as were African Americans’ own ideas about race and crime. Chronicling the emergence of deeply embedded notions of black people as a dangerous race of criminals by explicit contrast to working-class whites and European immigrants, this fascinating book reveals the influence such ideas have had on urban development and social policies.

Hey everyone! 

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 waystoraise@outlook.com.

-W2R Team 

Green Mountain College to make oxen burgers out of campus animal pals

This is what happens when “working animals” retire: they get slaughtered. Lou and Bill have worked the fields of Green Mountain College’s “sustainable” farm for ten years. Now, at eleven, the college wants to get rid of Lou and Bill. Apparently, at Green Mountain College, that means slaughtering them and eating them in hamburger form. 

Needless to say, many are not happy. But, on the other hand, the college people in charge of this sort of thing make a good point: if these students opposed to killing Lou and Bill eat meat, then why the hell shouldn’t they eat these guys too? And once again, we are back to cognitive dissonance. This is well-worn territory when we discuss omnivore “animal lovers.” In fact, it’s threadbare. Therefore I’m not going to go into it but I will go into how much I resent the way “working animals” are disposed of. 

Look at this video:

That doesn’t look super fun. They’ve done this for ten years. And after they’ve served the school for a decade, the thanks they get is to be made into a month’s worth of artery-clogging lunch. It’s just like dairy cows and racehorses and all the “working animals,” they serve these people and make them money and then they are thrown out like trash. I’m sorry, I can’t even say “working animals” without quotation marks because the idea is so ridiculous. It implies they a. volunteered for this “job” and b. were fairly compensated. Sorry bros: “working animals” don’t have resumes and they don’t get 401Ks. They get worked to the brink of death and then slaughtered for hamburger meat.