Middlebury College Donates $3,500 to Nonprofits on Behalf of Student Volunteers
MIDDLEBURY, Vt.- On behalf of seven of its student volunteers, Middlebury College recently donated $3,500 to various nonprofit organizations in the local community and beyond. At the annual Public Service Leadership Award dinner last April, Middlebury College formally recognized dozens of its students for their volunteer work during the academic year. Citations of commendation were given to more than 35 honorees, and Public Service Leadership Awards were presented to six students. The Alma Gibbs Donchian Award for direct service in literacy was presented by the College's Page 1 Bicentennial Literacy Project as well.
Each award winner received an engraved plaque of appreciation and a cash award of $500 to be donated by the College to a nonprofit organization. The seven students were each asked to designate recipients for a $500 donation. A total of $3,500 was distributed on their behalf to the following organizations: Middlebury Union Middle School; Vermont Special Olympics; Lawrence Memorial Library, in Bristol, Vt.; Addison County Women in Crisis; Middlebury Fire Department; Counseling Service of Addison County; and the William Mmutele Masethla Foundation, in Zambia.
It is estimated that half of the College's students have been engaged in community service projects or service-related initiatives this year. More than 450 students are involved in ongoing individual service efforts, providing a minimum of two hours per week for dozens of local agencies and individuals. Amounting to over 20,000 hours of student volunteer effort per year, it is equivalent to more than ten people working for the needs of the community full-time, year-round. More than 800 students also participated in public service events or projects coordinated by various College student organizations. If measured in terms of currency at minimum wage, the total volume of service adds up to a student contribution exceeding $180,000. At the award dinner, President John McCardell commended the student volunteers, stating that public service ranks among the most noteworthy --more-- Middlebury College Public Service Leadership Awards/Page 2 achievements. "You join a lengthening line of Middlebury students embodying the values of volunteer service, a tradition that has become one of the most respected on campus," McCardell said. "Through your efforts, the lives of people throughout the broad community in which we live are improved."
Keynote speaker for the award dinner was Amy Gibans McGlashan, executive director of Vermont Campus Compact. "Lead your generation to prepare society for the 21st century," McGlashan told honorees. "Create new and productive institutions, politics, and social structures based upon principles of love and compassion."
To begin the award selection process, Middlebury College seeks nominations from the local community in February or March of each year. The nominations are then reviewed by a committee of College students, faculty, and staff. Selection is based upon demonstrated dedication to a cause, level of help toward making a positive change for an individual or for the community, and initiative toward encouraging the involvement of other Middlebury College students in the public service ideal.
Award recipients included senior Negar Ashtari of Gaborone, Botswana, for her leadership efforts in the Middlebury-Mozambique Relief Initiative, Baha'i community service projects in Addison County, African awareness initiatives within the Middlebury College community, and volunteerism with the Tahirih Justice Center in Falls Church, Va.; senior Christopher Clark of Pittsford, N.Y., for his service with the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association; senior Carol Williams of Bristol, R.I., for her efforts in the Middlebury College Volunteer Service Organization and Volunteer Preview, Danny's Team-Vermont, the People of Addison County Together Youth Summit, and the Counseling Service of Addison County's Evergreen House; junior Benjamin Pratt of Eddington, Me., for his service to the Middlebury Fire Department; and sophomore Joshua Raufman of New York, N.Y., for his efforts on behalf of the Vermont Special Olympics' swim team.
Middlebury College's Page 1 Bicentennial Literacy Project co-founder and active participant Abigale Stoller, a senior from Gibsonia, Penn., also received a Public Service Leadership Award for her literacy service to the College and local community. Sophomore Elizabeth Beetem of Los Altos, Cal., received the Alma Gibbs Donchian Award for her participation in Page 1 efforts with the Bristol After-School Kids Program, in Bristol, Vt. Page 1, the College's Bicentennial service initiative, connects members of the Middlebury and local communities with literacy volunteer opportunities, and distributes children's books collected through its comprehensive book drive.