November Newsletter & Tent City is Coming!

Life at the Center for Service

Hi all,

We’ve taken a little hiatus from this CSCE Blog but are excited to be back in action!  Please check out our monthly Newsletter (below) that has lots of great information about our stellar volunteers, the cool things happening in our office, and information about TENT CITY!!

TENT CITY: This Saturday we will host a series of events as part of this annual solidarity event on Champlain College’s campus to raise awareness about issues of hunger and homelessness.  You can sign up to volunteer during the day, come to an awesome evening speaker, and/or sleep out on Aiken Lawn with us.  Use this link to sign up: AND – by participating in Tent City and getting your friends involved you can win PRIZES!  Check out this flyer for more information on our points system.

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Tent City FAQ

Have some questions about Tent City? Well, we have answers! If you have any more questions, send us an email!

How do I register to participate in Tent City?

Please use this Signup Genius link to sign up:

What events can I participate in?

There are a variety of ways to get involved with tent city!  The events include:

  • Volunteer work during the morning/afternoon (ranging from 9:30am-4:30pm)
  • Enjoy a soup kitchen style dinner in the dining hall at 5pm
  • Attend a guest speaker event at 7pm in Hauke Conference Room
  • Participate in a candlelight vigil in Hauke Courtyard after the guest speaker (approx. 9pm)
  • Sleep out on Perry Lawn commencing after the vigil
  • If you participate in the sleep out, you will be included in a breakfast reflection on Sunday morning (8:30am-9am)

Who is the guest speaker?

Justin Verette will return to campus this year to speak with our campus community about issues of mental illness and homelessness in the Burlington area.  Justin works with the Howard Center as a street outreach interventionist.  His role, in conjunction with the Burlington Police Department, is to “make contact with people displaying symptoms of mental health, but do not pose an immediate danger to others around them” (read more in this Burlington Free Press article here).  Justin is a very engaging speaker and has been extremely popular among Champlain students.  We highly encourage people to come meet him and learn more about his amazing work!

Where does Tent City take place?

Aside from the service events that take place at various nonprofit organizations in the community, Tent City takes place on Champlain College’s Burlington, VT campus.  Each event will take place in the location listed on the Signup Genius page, but if there are any further questions feel free to email

Do I need to participate in all of the events?

No. You are welcome to participate in just one event, or all of them!

Can Staff and Faculty participate?

Absolutely!  The more the merrier.  Faculty and Staff are welcome to participate in any aspect of the event (service placements, guest speaker, candlelight vigil, and/or sleep out).

Does this event count for Engaged Citizen LEAD credit?

No.  Please note that this is a change from previous years.

Are there any prizes associated with participating?

Yes!  We have created a fun and exciting point system to track participation in Tent City. The point system is as follows:

  • Service event (morning/afternoon)– 15 points per person for each service event
  • Guest Speaker (evening) – 10 points per person
  • Sleep out (evening) – 15 points per person
  • Bonus points for participating in every event (all day) – 5 points per person

Prizes will be given for both an individual with the most points and a group that has the most collective points earned.

What are the prizes?

The individual who has the most points will receive a $50 gift card to a business of their choice.  The group with the most points will receive funding ($5 per person) for either a Pizza Party or a Wings Over Burlington Party!

Can I participate as a team with a group of friends?

Yes!  Creating a team is encouraged.  You will be able to earn participation points as a group, and will have a group of friends to share a tent, attend events together, and so on.

Do I need a sleeping bag and/or tent to sleep out?

No.  If you have one, that’s great, and please let us know (email  Otherwise, we will provide a sleeping bag and tent (to share with other participants) for you.

What should I bring?

  • A tent and sleeping bag, if you have one (email if so)
  • A pillow (we will not provide pillows)
  • Warm clothes – lots of layers.

What should I NOT bring?

People are encouraged to forgo using technology during this solidarity event.  Please plan to not bring your laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc.   This is also a drug/alcohol free event.

Is this a fundraising event?

Yes, all proceeds will benefit COTS (the Committee on Temporary Shelter) in Burlington.  COTS provides emergency shelter, services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont. COTS advocates for long-term solutions to end homelessness.  To learn more about COTS and local homelessness, check out their website:   To learn more about National homelessness, check out this link:

How can I participate in the fundraising efforts?

All donations can be brought to the Center for Service office in room 203 of the Skiff Annex, Champlain College, or mailed to Box 20.  Cash and checks (made out to: COTS) are accepted.  You can also donate online at:

November Newsletter & Tent City is Coming!

Hi all,

We’ve taken a little hiatus from this CSCE Blog but are excited to be back in action!  Please check out our monthly Newsletter (below) that has lots of great information about our stellar volunteers, the cool things happening in our office, and information about TENT CITY!!

TENT CITY: This Saturday we will host a series of events as part of this annual solidarity event on Champlain College’s campus to raise awareness about issues of hunger and homelessness.  You can sign up to volunteer during the day, come to an awesome evening speaker, and/or sleep out on Aiken Lawn with us.  Use this link to sign up: AND – by participating in Tent City and getting your friends involved you can win PRIZES!  Check out this flyer for more information on our points system.

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49 Bye Byes

The time has come. To quote the immortal George Harrison (1943-2001), “all things must pass.”

I remember walking to Tiny Thai (a wonderful family-owned Thai restaurant) in mid-January to meet a colleague for dinner. While the walk was typical of a mid-winter day, frigid and blustery, we warmed up to some Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodle) and inadvertently talked about work at Champlain for a solid two hours. That’s how you know you’re in a good place. When you’re out of the office, you don’t force yourself to not about your job. You don’t escape it, you embrace it.

Today I leave Champlain with emotions riding high. Kyle and Maggie have been mentors, leaders, but most importantly, all around solid human beings. I laughed, cried, and cried from laughter with them for a solid year. Champlain, among other things, is known for its human touch, and no one demonstrates that better than the leaders on campus. All I can hope is that I will pay it forward and be an awesome manager/director myself one day.

There are too many words to say and too many people to praise. This is why we take photos. They encapsulate emotions, experiences, relationships and more. I had the pleasure of working with several schools, community partners, Champlain students and staff over the course of a year. When I told my mom and my roommates that I was essentially getting paid to play Magic: the Gathering and sell lemonade, they had themselves a nice, long chuckle.

We were the ones laughing, though.
We were the ones laughing, though.

Here’s to another year of fun. I won’t be at the Center but Kyle, Maggie and Ale will make sure all the jokes, candy and opportunities to make a difference persist. I’ll hold them to it.




For what, you ask?

For new opportunities to excite, ignite and engage. To build upon a foundation that is solid, leaving us hopeful that the end product will, despite any kinks, wrinkles or snags, ultimately be secure.

Two weeks from today is quittin’ time. When I lock the door to the office that I’ve called my home over the last year, I’ll be handing in the keys as well. A bittersweet moment indeed, but best focus on the present, which, again, is surprisingly active.

Last Saturday, we hosted 5 teens from the Boys and Girls Club. We started off with some delicious Leonardo’s Pizza (courtesy of the club!) and some pressing questions about the college process, which our Champlain folks handled with poise and precision. We then moved things outdoors for Death Ball, a game which is far more fun/less scary than it sounds, as well as a fiercely competitive game of kickball. We finished the tour with a brief visit of Juniper Hall, in addition to some group photos in front of the Center!


On Monday, we hosted the 2nd group of King Street Center youth participating in Tutoring on the Move. Kyle chose some excellent books to read, and the kids became rather ensconced in the comfy chairs in Fireside Lounge. Thanks to Gabriella and the wonderful folks at King Street for collaborating with us!

So many questions out of left field, yet nobody mentioned the banana-colored pants??
So many questions out of left field, yet nobody mentioned the banana-colored pants??

On the docket for next week: a college visit from the ELL program at Burlington High School and a service project with the Summer Bridge group in the City of Winooski. The fabulous Brendon Johnson ’15 has assembled a group of transfer students to roll up their sleeves and help out constructing a composting system at Landry Park. Way to make a strong first impression, Champlainers!

Busybusybusy. The way life should be. With a few moments of respite for sunshine and curling up with a good novel. Just started my 2nd attempt at ‘The Wheel of Time’ series. At this rate, I’ll probably be 30 by the time I get through it.



An Uptick in Momentum

Can you believe it? In a little more than a month, students will be shuffling around our heavily made-over campus again. Summer always seems to fly, so somebody clip its darn wings and ground it!

(sorry, that was bad)

A big week over here at the Center! I was noticeably absent last week helping out with the Imagine College program here at Champlain. Our campus hosted 30 students from VT, NY and NJ and provided them with several informative workshops to aid them with the college process. The program captured the essence of former President Finney’s “Work. Serve. Play.” mantra. Throughout the course of the week, I was able to participate in an Identity Workshop, chaperon a bowling trip to Spare Time, and join in on a service project with the Tommy Thompson Community Gardens down at the Intervale. What a wonderful, holistic experience.

Service project Imagine College


After a riveting Commencement on Saturday night, the kids departed and all was quiet.


For a day or two, anyway.


On Tuesday, King Street Center held their first ‘Tutoring on the Move’ session as part of their Summer Boost reading program. About 8-10 youth and 5-7 staff trekked up the hill to meet a very special guest: President Don Laackman! In only his 3rd full week on the job, Don did a fantastic job reading to the kids and sending them home with little Chauncey beavers. And let’s not forget one of the most amusing Q + A sessions I’ve heard in recent memory:

Youth #1: “Are you the president?”

Don: “I am president.”

Youth #2: “Do you know the President of the United States?”

Don: “I’ve met him, yes.”

Youth #1: “Could you ask him to change bedtime from 8:30 to 11:30?”

I personally would like it closer to 8:00.
I personally would like it closer to 8:00.

We were very excited to introduce Don to life at the Center by connecting him with one of our most valued partners. Thanks Don!

The excitement doesn’t end at quittin’ time, either! Tomorrow afternoon, we host the Boys and Girls Club Teen Program for a fiercely competitive game of kickball and even an even more competitive pizza party. Let us not forget that at the heart of these visits is relationship building, and nothing brings people closer together than a sport in which it is nearly impossible to injury yourself or others.

Nearly being the operative word.
Nearly being the operative word.

Another fine week of another fine summer down!

Stop by Kids Lemonade this Sunday between 11:00am-5:00pm. I’ll make you the best Arnold Palmer in town. Bonus: we are giving out coupon cards that are 10% off when you shop at several local stores, including Ben & Jerrys! Just a little thank you to all the amazing supporters of King Street.







Pictured: silence.

Feel the Fervor!

Another classic Vermont summer is in full swing! Church Street vendors are locked in to their routines, North Beach has a higher population density than Rhode Island, our neighbors from north of the border blitz the town each weekend, to the point where Burlington could pass as a bilingual city.

Speaking of classic, one must use the word judiciously. I started tutoring yesterday with King Street Center’s Summer Boost program, and my tutee made a note of how many books and games I referred to as ‘classic.’ In my defense, when I am suddenly and primarily working with materials I haven’t seen since the Clinton Administration, nostalgia hits like a Mack truck and everything, regardless of whether it was good, bad or ugly, is classic:


Certainly ugly!
Certainly ugly!


Next week, the Imagine College program kicks off at Champlain. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will welcome 30 students from Vermont, New York and other states for a week of workshops, activities and more. The Imagine College program is part of a larger access and success initiative to help students get to, succeed in, and thrive after, college. If you see the students around campus, make sure to give them a heartfelt welcome to Champlain!

Still looking for service opportunities? We received a pretty extensive list of great events being put on by United Way which you can find here. ANEW Place, formerly the Burlington Emergency Shelter, is looking for volunteers to help provide and deliver a meal to ANEW Place to help serve neighbors in need! Our very own Hannah Andersen ’14 coordinates the dinners. Check them out at to sign up!

A final note: as the absolute lowest person on food chain at Champlain, at least in terms of salary, having Don Laackman, the new President, stop by the Center yesterday and introduce himself was a special moment. Institutions like Champlain thrive because of the human touch that students, faculty, staff and administration experience in their day-to-day lives, so even sharing something as simple as a hand shake with the man on the opposite end of the spectrum really strengthens the idea of community for me.

Happy 4th of July! Enjoy the fireworks tomorrow (or tonight, since Burlington/Montpelier/other parts of VT are weird and celebrate a day early).




Yes, yes, and, very yes

I implore you hold off on reading this message until Sunday. That is because today marks the day before the longest day of the summer. How fortunate that the weekend forecast is “mostly sunny and comfortable” at 75 degrees then “mostly sunny and pleasant” at 79. I don’t rightly know the distinction between comfortable and pleasant with temperature preference, but both sound fine to me.

It’s not to say this week has not been eventful, but I am not feeling incredibly articulate, so I think I will simply do a quick “year in review” with a photo I took. Plus, if you do read this blog post tonight, I don’t want to steer your attention away from this beautiful weather for too long:






(some photos are not from this year, but were too precious to be left out)

Highlights include: Tent City 2013, Habitat for Humanity Trip to North Carolina, the DREAM program, Boys and Girls Club visits, CSCE Staff Holiday photo and more!

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership recently, having worked under very influential and positive leadership at the CSCE and having had the opportunity to develop leaders through my programs, and this “less is more” quotation really stuck with me, so I will leave you with it:

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

-Lao Tzu.





On Top of the World (Cup)

I don’t often binge watch TV. I am of the opinion that gathering a group of people together to collectively stare at a screen does not count as hanging out. Though a bit dated, Robert Putnam’s “Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America” still rings true, in my mind. Check it out if you want a nice perspective on the long-term issues related to dependence on technology.

However, I will break my own rules for the next month, because the World Cup is finally here!!! The flags are out. The jerseys are ironed (not quite true, but they are nicely folded). I am ready for some unpredictable, controversial, and most importantly, exciting futbol.

Prediction: Messi’s time is now. He is oft criticized on this stage, and he will silence those critics by bringing his country the glory that his club so often basks in. Upstart Belgium will impress, dethroning reigning champs Spain along the way, but their inexperience on this stage will be the difference as Argentina comes out on top in a riveting final match. 2-1, Argentina.

I won’t inundate you any more with World Cup blather. I’m not a sportswriter, just a super fan.

We had a great start to the week welcoming our new AmeriCorps *VISTA, Alejandra (Ale) Rodriguez, to the CSCE team! No, she doesn’t start until August, but things move quickly around here and we wanted to introduce Ale to some folks around Champlain and the Burlington community. Not to mention we had a pretty tasty picnic on City Hall Park, “catered” by Kountry Kart Deli.

No more living in the Stone Age for the CSCE! The full-time staff attended a swanky lil’ training on Pie Matrix, a web management software that allows you to task manage in a very intuitive way. Not to mention the name constantly gets the salivary glands going…


The most delicious way to manage the web.














We also had our last college visit of the school year on Wednesday, this time welcoming the Winooski Youth Programs to campus. Though the weather was dreary, the kids had a blast, meeting some current and former Champlain students as well as getting a tour of Juniper Hall and a having a pizza party in the Vista room of the library.



Otherwise, we are full speed ahead in planning for next year. With a new school year comes great new opportunities to get involved. Stay tuned, folks. It’s a great time to be at Champlain.

I’ll leave you with a photo from my ascent of Camel’s Hump last weekend. We foolishly braved the trail from Duxbury Road, not Duxbury. For those of you less familiar with Vermont geography, that mental hour resulted in a 13 mile hike and 7.5 hours on the mountain. Considering the workout and the view, I’d say it was worth it:

not pictued: dehydrated, yet delighted, hikers :)
not pictured: dehydrated, yet delighted, hikers🙂