Vermont College and University Students to Help Local Communities with Long-Term Recovery

June 12, 2012

As Vermont approaches the one year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, many individuals and organizations are still hard at work on clean-up and recovery from one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history. A number of students from Vermont’s colleges and universities will join in this
summer, continuing the clean-up effort, assessing environmental damage, and helping individuals and communities across the state to come to terms with their losses.

Vermont Campus Compact’s Statewide Internships for Vermont Recovery Project will place thirteen undergraduate and graduate students from 6 different campuses with long-term recovery committees and community organizations around the state. Students will take on a variety of projects that range from working directly with flood survivors, documenting changes to local rivers, and improving emergency response plans.

Cheryl Whitney Lower, Executive Director of Vermont Campus Compact, notes, “Vermont’s higher education students have valuable skills, expertise, and energy to contribute to our state’s recovery. This program will tap into the intellectual capacity of our students, offering them meaningful ways to contribute to long-term recovery while also providing a real burst of energy to organizations that have been at this work for ten months now.”

Students from Green Mountain College, Lyndon State College, Saint Michael’s College, SIT Graduate Institute, Middlebury College, and the University of Vermont will work for the following organizations: American Red Cross of Vermont and New Hampshire Valley; Central Vermont Long Term Recovery
Group; Green Mountain United Way; Friends of the Mad River; Mad River Flood Recovery; ReBuild Waterbury; Southeastern Vermont Irene Long Term Recovery Committee; State of Vermont Irene Recovery Office, the University of Vermont, and Vermont 2-1-1.

Ben Ushkow, who graduated from St. Michael’s College in May and will be interning with the American Red Cross states, “After witnessing the destruction caused by Tropical Storm Irene, I felt motivated to do everything I could to help my favorite state recover and prepare for any unfortunate disasters in the future.”

Katie Emerson, a native Vermonter and environmental studies major at Green Mountain College, is excited to use skills learned in the classroom in the real world. “I will use my GIS and mapping skills to document the Mad River and inform policy decisions. I also hope my work will be useful in educating the public about how rivers move and change over time.”

Please visit Vermont Campus Compact’s website to meet the interns and learn about their projects.

Interns will gather for a two day orientation at Goddard College on June 11-12 before dispersing to different sites around the state to begin their internships. The orientation will include an afternoon of service in Middlesex helping a home-owner remove flood debris from her property; in-person and on-line trainings and reflections focused on professional and civic development will keep the interns connected with VCC staff and UVM facilitators throughout the internship experience.

Vermont Campus Compact is grateful to a host of funders and supporters who made this project possible. Major funding was provided by The WaterWheel Fund for Vermont Flood Recovery at the Vermont Community Foundation. Additional generous monetary or in-kind support was provided by the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, National Life Group, King Arthur Flour, Chroma Technology, TruexCullins, the State Irene Recovery Office, Saint Michael’s College, and the UVM Community-University and Service-Learning Partnerships office.

VCC provides training, networking, grants, resources, awards, and more to advance service, service-learning, and civic engagement on campuses and in communities. VCC is part of a larger national network of 35 state Compacts affiliated with national Campus Compact, representing 1100 college and
university presidents and their campuses, all dedicated to realizing the public purposes of higher education.

Want to learn more about the work being done by students, faculty, and campuses to positively impact our local and global communities? Visit our website or contact Executive Director Cheryl Whitney Lower at

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