A MiddLab Project

NERCHE’s 2011 Student Civic Engagement Think Tank Series

Learn more about Service Learning at Middlebury College.

Middlebury College is proud to participate in NERCHE’s 2011 Student Civic Engagement Think Tank Series. As the host institution for Vermont, we look forward to collaborating with over 10 other higher education institutions in the state to discuss what it means for today’s undergraduates to be civically engaged. An examination of various levels of political action, student self-perception and the important role which undergraduates have to play in their communities will be at the heart of this discussion.The New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) is committed to collaborative change processes in higher education to address social justice in a diverse democracy.

’s work is informed by a grassroots approach to developing collaborative leadership, oriented to building diverse and inclusive communities. Committed to higher education’s responsibility to the public realm, we value the principle of equal respect for the wisdom and experience of everyone involved in discovering new knowledge, improving practice, and providing leadership for institutional change. NERCHE strives for the widest possible inclusion of diverse voices—from underrepresented individuals, across role and position, and across institutional types—to foster authentic learning.

Vermont Campus Compact (VCC) facilitates individual, institutional, and community growth by connecting people and ideas and actions. VCC works with campus leaders, faculty, staff, students, and community partners from our member campuses to:
– Improve the quality of education by developing academic and co-curricular policies and practices that cultivate in our students the skills and habits of thoughtful and compassionate leaders, citizens and problem-solvers;
– Engage faculty in community-based teaching and scholarship that address social, economic, and environmental concerns;
– Develop collaborative partnerships among campuses and communities;
– Create diverse opportunities for students to engage in local and global communities, to promote an ethic of service, develop compassion and respect for diversity, and provide real-world experience;
– Advance leadership throughout the state in addressing critical issues and strengthening democracy.


In the spirit of student-lead learning, Middlebury’s event will be entirely created by students, for students. The student planning team is chaired by:

Hannah Wilson, ‘11
Quan Pham, ‘12
Jue Yang, ‘11
Rachel Sider,‘14
Anne Yoon, ‘14

Partners: ACE, EIA, ACE Staff: Peggy Burns, Jillian Hall, Robin Curtis, Tiffany Nourse Sargent, Edward Zlotkowski (NERCHE, Bentley College), Jacob Park (Green Mountain College).


Jillian Hall

AmeriCorps VISTA Service and Activism Initiatives Coordinator
Alliance for Civic Engagement, Center for Education in Action
Middlebury College


Reflections on the planning process:


“What is civic engagement? How should we as college students engage civically and how should our institutions support us? These are just some of the fundamental questions we believe to be at the center of our Think Tank. Working with this group has forced me to think about why I find civic engagement rewarding, what I believe civic engagement to be and how I can use my education to become a more engage citizen. While there are no easy answers to these questions, I believe that in asking them we make ourselves more aware of the broader implications of our actions, an important step in making our civic engagement more effective and meaningful. Thus far I have enjoyed meeting with the other organizers and hashing out exactly what we hope to accomplish in our Think Tank and I look forward to meeting with students and educators from all over Vermont to get a fresh perspective on these and other questions.”


“No matter what community I integrate myself into — let it be my home in Honolulu or college at Middlebury — I want to have a stake in contributing to its future. I see civic engagement as a responsibility for citizens of that community, but I know that people participate on different levels. By assisting with the orchestration of this Think Tank, I will be able to learn so much from my colleagues and the participants. I am thrilled to meet everyone in February.”


“Civic engagement is a topic that I have found increasingly interesting and relevant to college students. Throughout the planning process for NERCHE Think Tank, the inter-connected relationship among community, service and politics has implied new dimensions towards how I learn. I enjoyed working with the other team members to create a platform for others. Each of us has voiced our own visions and, as a team, worked out ways to facilitate a constructive discussion for a larger community.”


“Learning about NERCHE’s mission and its efforts to encourage dialogue among college students about civic engagement has been really insightful. I’ve enjoyed working with the other Middlebur students to create an enjoyable and inspiring Think Tank, and I look forward to leading discussions with students from other colleges. I’ve developed a new perspective on civic engagement and the various ways students our age can be involved.”


“Coming into this project, I guess I was ignorant about all the other facets of civic engagement. But through continual dialogue with my Think Tank peers in preparation for the Think Tank, I have become more aware of how others may see civic engagement. I see my past and future activities of civic engagement differently now; I see it with a new lens that allows me to see my activities connected to a broader continuum of civic engagement.”

Register here for March 4th!

Schedule: March 4


McCullough Social Space

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2 Responses to “NERCHE’s 2011 Student Civic Engagement Think Tank Series”

  1. Congratulations, Annie, Hannah, Quan, and Rachel, for facilitating a series of great conversations and inquiry! Thank you so much for all the hours, thought, and work that went into preparing for the day. Looking forward to the campus-based follow up meetings. And, Jill, great advising!

    Edward, it was wonderful to have you on-campus again, too. Thanks so much for coming up to join us. I’m confident that we’ll be able to compile some useful information for NERCHE.

    Participants–thank you for coming from all over Vermont to contribute to this conversation and research initiative. Very impressive!

    Thank you each and everyone.

  2. hannah wilson says:

    We are working hard here at Middlebury to plan our upcoming Middlebury event. We are hoping to discuss the role that civic engagement should play in the classroom as well as the institution’s role in fostering students interests. What role do you think Faculty should play in encouraging civic engagement both in and outside of the class room?

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