MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Several faculty members and students from Middlebury College received recognition at the 2008 Vermont Campus Compact Gala, which took place last night at the University of Vermont Davis Center in Burlington. Vermont Campus Compact (VCC) is a statewide consortium of colleges and universities strengthening the civic mission of higher education. Each year the organization honors students, faculty and staff, as well as the local agencies with whom they partner, for their contributions and impact on Vermont communities through campus service, service-learning and civic engagement.

Visiting Assistant Professor of English and American Literature and Director of Teacher Education Claudia Cooper was a finalist for the Engaged Scholar Award, recognizing faculty members from VCC member campuses who make civic engagement an integral part of their teaching and research. Cooper was honored for her winter term course, “Ethiopia: Reading Culture, Writing Lives,” which included a two-week service-learning placement in Addis Ababa.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Nadia Horning was a finalist for the Excellence in Community-Based Teaching Award, which acknowledges faculty members who make active public service an integral part of their teaching. Horning taught a senior seminar titled “African Government: The Political Economy of the Neo-Patrimonial State,” in which many of her students worked with the Association of Africans Living in Vermont.

Junior Hallie Fox was named winner of Middlebury’s Commitment to Service and Engagement Award, given to one student per VCC campus, in honor of her service to Middlebury’s “Sister-to-Sister” program, which pairs middle-school girls with college women. As part of the program, Fox has mentored two local girls, managed monthly events, and organized an annual summit that involved workshops, discussions and activities for more than 50 girls in the community. Last year, Fox applied for a grant from the American Association of University Women and helped to coordinate a three-day conference on issues women face in the workplace.

Senior Emily Peterson was a finalist for the Madeleine M. Kunin Public Service Award, honoring a student from a VCC member institution for his or her outstanding public service and leadership, demonstrated through a spectrum of efforts. Peterson, a native of New Orleans, was noted as a cofounder the Middlebury’s Hurricane Relief Coalition, as well as for her involvement over the years with the college’s organic garden, and her aid to a family in Thailand in constructing an organic garden to serve as a model for the village. She was also an assistant for Ark for Children in Botswana, serving adolescent AIDS orphans.

The Addison County Farm Worker Coalition was named winner of the Vermont Campus Compact 2008 Campus/Community Partnership Award. This overall award recognizes one exceptional partnership between a VCC member campus and a community partner that works in mutually beneficial ways to produce measurable improvements in people’s lives and enhance student learning. Associate Professor of Spanish Gloria Gonzalez Zenteno, who is also a member of the Farm Worker Coalition, was present at the awards ceremony to discuss how service to farm workers and their families was integrated into the curricula of Spanish language and Latin American Studies courses at Middlebury College.

The American Cancer Society-Relay for Life, represented by Middlebury 2007 graduate Ross Lieb-Lappen, received the Engaged Community Partner Award, given to one community partner per VCC member campus that has worked to support the civic mission of their partnering campus. Relay for Life has become one of the most important annual events for the Middlebury community, and has forged a unique and fruitful partnership between the American Cancer Society, the greater Addison County community, and Middlebury College.

A list of award winners and finalists and descriptions of their accomplishments is available at www.vtcampuscompact.org/gala.php. For more information regarding the VCC Gala, contact Amy Gibans McGlashan, VCC Executive Director at 802-443-2510 or agibansm@middlebury.edu.

Vermont Campus Compact is a statewide consortium of 22 college and university presidents and their institutions committed to creating a flourishing democracy. VCC presidents believe that through sustained and creative student, faculty and institutional engagement with communities, higher education can help prepare tomorrow’s civic leaders while strengthening Vermont communities and improving the lives of Vermonters. VCC facilitates individual, institutional and community growth by connecting people and ideas and action.