From the president

Shivapriya (Priya) Sudhakaran Nair, a junior at Middlebury College, demonstrates a strong commitment to civic leadership and social change with our Center of Community Engagement (CCE) and beyond. Priya began her undergraduate civic involvement the Community Connected Learning course taught by CCE staff. Her project was in collaboration with Mt. Abraham Union High School to develop BIPOC and LGBTQ+ affinity groups. Priya also participated in the school district’s anti-racism task force at a time of deep need in the local community. The next year, Priya joined Language in Motion (LiM), a program that collaborates with K-12 educators, and became involved with their anti-racism curriculum project. This project involved LiM volunteers and local teachers partnering on the development of anti-racism and anti-colorism materials for schools. She is a dedicated advocate for BIPOC youth. She has navigated these projects with thoughtfulness for the high school students and community members with whom she works. Priya is currently facilitating connections between students and community partners for a course in the Environmental Studies program, and we look forward to where her leadership will take her (and our world).

Laurie Patton


Middlebury College


Personal Statement

In my high school, United World College of Southern Africa, community service was a required two-year commitment. I chose to volunteer at a refugee camp where I engaged with issues of inequity in education. The students I worked with could not afford educational resources and were treated poorly due to their ethnicity and language barriers. I have since been involved in projects that addressed the challenges and possibilities in building relationships between groups with vast cultural differences. Knowing that community involvement was fundamental to my future work, I enrolled in a Community Connected Learning class at Middlebury College where I witnessed global issues of racism and homophobia manifest through the politics of Vermont high schools. I saw the complex systemic threads that overlapped to silence many students’ voices, particularly through the overwhelming bureaucracy of administration, teachers, and parents. I have been involved in creating affinity spaces for those directly being harmed by racism and other injustices. Based on the valuable lessons I gained from Community Connected Learning, I have realized how crucial this learning style is to the development of college students. Therefore, I now work as a facilitator that connects students with community partners in an Environmental Studies course.

Shivapriya (Priya) Sudhakaran Nair

Environmental Studies – Geography Joint Major, Global Health Minor

Middlebury College