Monday, February 25, 2013

Volunteering Opportunities: Extended Service

An outstanding characteristic of the Saint Mike's student body is the amount of service they do; nearly 70 percent of the student body will participate in MOVE in some way by graduation. MOVE stands for Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts, and it's the organization that runs just about all the volunteer and service opportunities that are found on campus.

Some of these opportunities are weekly programs such as Baked Love (make meals for local organizations and families with Campus Kitchen), Cause for Paws (working at a greyhound dog shelter) and in warmer weather, working at the school's organic garden.

Another opportunity that's offered is extended service, which entails doing a domestic or international service trip over either winter, spring or summer break. Students have to go on a domestic trip before they can go on an international trip, but although rare, it's possible to do both during your freshman year, like one of my friends did.

In a couple weeks, I get to go on my first extended service trip with a group of fellow students to Hope House in Long Island, New York. Each trip tends to be pretty different, and I've also heard from peers who've gone on this trip that you can't really know what it's all about until you get there. One of my best friends went on the trip our freshman year, and he loved every second of it (and was awarded the "how are you moved?" scholarship, which is a prize awarded to a worthy student going on a service trip, for which they have to complete a project on their experiences). Essentially, I'm not quite sure what to expect, but it sounds fantastic and I can't wait to go! We have a group meeting tonight of all of us going on the trip, and then we leave in two weeks. Once again, the semester's flying by...

Thanks for reading! 'Til next time.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Macklemore + Ryan Lewis in Winooski!

As some of you may have heard, Saint Mike's was fortunate enough to book Macklemore + Ryan Lewis for the spring concert this year!

This past fall I was able to catch their show at Higher Ground with my brother and some buddies, but they've never played on campus before, and it would appear that the school is pretty psyched. I've known diehard fans since my freshman year, and became a fan short thereafter. Since then, their popularity has definitely exploded, and it's hard to meet anyone on campus who doesn't know their name.

Tickets went on sale for Saint Mike's students this week, and sales to the general public open up in a couple weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if it sells out fast, so get your tickets soon! I know I've got mine ;)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend in the Outdoors! (finally)

Hey y'all!

So like I briefly mentioned before, I just had a snow-filled, kinda chilly weekend full of wilder-awesomeness. As a part of the Wilderness Instructor Training Program, in which Boates is also participating, us twelve instructors-in-training (ITP'ers) spent this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday getting acquainted with winter mountaineering gear in the field, and developing skills in maneuvering safely and efficiently in a winter environment.

We were split up into groups A and B, so on Friday each group did one activity, switched activities on Saturday, and on Sunday we did the same hike from opposite ends of the trail, meeting in the middle to high-five and exchange van keys. A description of the weekend is also on the WP Facebook page.

I was in group B ("B" for better ;p), so on Friday we began with snowshoeing down by Sugarbush, VT. I had, oddly, never used snowshoes before, so that was a first for me! It was pretty cool to be walking over snow and ice that would be rocks and streams in the summer, and it was just nice to be outside in general.

Saturday was mountaineering day for group B, so we went up to Smuggler's notch to cruise around in the woods with some crampons and ice picks. Now, I said "cruise around", but this is actually some serious equipment, and we were with a trained professional in a potentially dangerous environment, so this isn't something one should just go out and do with buddies (unless y'all are some mountaineering bosses). That being said, it was a great time, we all stayed safe, and I learned a lot. Also, rappelling down ice is REALLY fun. Check out this photo from the WP facebook page:

Not ice, but still fun.
Last but not least, Sunday was the day that us ITP'ers got to plan our own trip. We made time control plans, collected "group gear" (emergency shelters, emergency stove, etc.), and planned a hike at Camel's Hump in VT. It went well; we hiked the same trail from opposite ends and were able to meet in the middle. Our group had some difficulties in the morning (bad roads, finding trails), but although an hour later than the other group, we made it home safe. It was cold and windy, but we had a good time, and learned a lot about planning and guiding trips.

'Til next time, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend in the Mountains!

Hey all!

I just spent a super-sweet long weekend in the mountains trekking through the VT wilderness on snow shoes and learning to navigate mountaineering gear like crampons, picks, ascent devices, etc. It was a great time!

Unfortunately, feeling a little beat after completing my homework, so look for a post tomorrow!

Thanks y'all!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ambidextrous Orgo and Back to the Slopes.

Hey y'all!

It's been an interesting few days indeed. Given my broken wrist, certain things have been a struggle, and some things I haven't done at all. But I passed two milestones this weekend, and I'm pretty pumped!

First of all, Friday morning I took my first Organic Chemistry test of the semester. On top of the fact that I feel like I did pretty well, I also wrote the whole thing with my previously-non-dominant left hand. Earlier in the semester, I was worried about how I'd be able to take tests and do lab work, so it's exciting that I've made it this far. Maybe that means the cast will come off soon? Probably not, but I'll keep the fingers on my left hand crossed.
Skiing with my boyfriend, Trevor.

Second, I just got back on snow for the first time in 32 days and 20 hours. I haven't been counting, or anything, but it was super sweet to be back on skis! Unfortunately, I'm still not able to ski for real because I can't fit a glove over my cast, and even then I wouldn't be able to grip a pole. But these are baby steps, so I can't complain!

Anyway, back to the Sunday night crunch.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bill McKibben and Democracy Matters!

I can't believe it's been an entire week!

Since my last post, Bill McKibben has come to campus and left (but not before we got a picture with him), the rest of the week flew by in a whirlwind, I went to a conference in Albany, had an interview on Monday, and am now using today to do all my homework, write blog posts, and get some sleep :p

Bill McKibben: on Fossil Fuel, Divestment, and the Future
Bill McKibben is one of my heroes. I learned of him for the first time my fall semester freshman year, and since then have continued to be inspired by his work. 
For those unfamiliar, Bill McKibben is a Middlebury professor and founder of He's a prominent figure in the movement to counter climate change, and has written quite a bit on the subject.

Before his talk, a handful of students, mostly Green Up kids, and some faculty got to have dinner with him. I was lucky enough to be one of those students, and it was a really nice event! Some of us were (I was) starstruck, but he was very easy to talk to, and really humble (anyone who's ever interacted with him has said that, though). Basically, on top of the fact that he's a globally-known figure at the front of the movement against climate change, he's still a cool guy (probably has something to do with the fact that he's a Vermonter ;p).

Part of the crowd in McCarthy.
After dinner, we made our way to McCarthy hall, where Bill gave his talk. As one might have guessed from the title of his talk, he spoke substantially on the divestment movement (which sprung from 350's fall 2012 "Do the Math" tour). This talk came at an exciting time for Saint Mike's, since students here have just begun to pursue divestment on our own campus! If you don't know, divestment is a term being used right now to describe the movement of taking one's money out of fossil fuel companies and their constituents, in favor of investing in companies with more environmentally sustainable practices, and a lot of college campuses have begun this process. A list of the main companies from which universities are trying to divest can be found here.

The talk was well-received, and the audience was able to ask some good questions afterwards. I know that I came away from the talk feeling re-invigorated, and I think a lot of others in attendance felt the same way.

Democracy Matters: Getting Private Money Out of Elections

At the end of a busy few days last week, I then got to attend a conference with my boyfriend and other fellow SMC-ers in Albany, NY. The conference was hosted by Democracy Matters, a national student organization that campaigns for publicly-funded elections in lieu of all the private donations that often fund political campaigns. (Democracy Matters has an unofficial chapter at Saint Mike's, but we've begun taking steps towards being recognized as an official club.)

This was also a whirlwind: there were workshops Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. We learned how to lobby, effective ways to utilize social media, and heard from speakers close to the issue. Gary Holder-Winfield, a publicly-funded politician from Connecticut, spoke about his experience running for office, having participated in the "clean elections" system. Obviously, he was a strong supporter of the work that Democracy Matters does, and it was valuable to be able to hear from someone who had actually elected to participate in a publicly funded elections.

So it was a great and politically-saturated week for me, and needless to say I'm pretty tired. But I had a great time, I learned a lot, and hopefully there are many hours of sleep in store for me tonight :p

Thanks for reading!