JusTalks is a peer-led initiative that began with a group of students meeting weekly during the 2011-2012 academic year to discuss structural inequality and its manifestations on campus. Those conversations led to student advocacy that gathered the support of 60 student organizations, sports teams, interest houses, and academic courses to develop a curriculum that could be used to integrate JusTalks into the Middlebury student experience. The result was the inaugural JusTalks Forum held in January 2013. Since then, JusTalks has been structured in various ways, but the underlying mission to create space for critical conversations and social change has remained the same.

JusTalks is a community of trained student facilitators that provides the space for conversations, passive education, and interactive workshops in a non-academic setting. These initiatives are designed to empower a community of students interested in advancing or having dialogue around equity, diversity, and social justice at Middlebury College. We are focused on using empathy as a tool for understanding the individual and social barriers faced both on campus and in our broader communities. We do this through authentic engagement – such as naming these barriers and larger systems of oppression – to foster the skills to recognize, address, and create necessary change towards the issues we face. Ultimately, it is through these mediums and resources that JusTalks hopes to inspire a compassionate community that can continue the work towards dismantling the systems of oppression we navigate throughout our lives. 


JusTalks facilitators lead workshops that create space for students to discuss an array of social justice topics. Some previous workshop topics include: Race & Queerness, Money@Midd, Toxic Masculinity, Interracial Hookups, and more. 

When leaving the workshops, students will have skills to engage in difficult conversations and social justice related topics. 

In addition to workshops open to all students, JusTalks facilitators collaborate with student organizations, clubs, athletic teams, and different departments to create tailored workshops to address specific themes. In the past, JusTalks has collaborated with First-Year Orientation, athletic teams such as frisbee and football, Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC), the Office of Health and Wellness Education.

In past years, JusTalks has held other types of programming including a winter course and forums. More information regarding previous programming can be found below. 

To receive up to date information about JusTalks workshops, programs, and more, join our email list at go/justemail and follow our Instagram page at @justalksmidd

Previous Programming

JusTalks at Middlebury Winter Course

The JusTalks at Middlebury (INTD 0227) course has two primary goals: (i) to develop students’ capacity to facilitate dialogues between peers, and (ii) to prepare students to develop the curriculum for peer education workshops. The course explores both the dynamics of power and privilege that reinforce systems of oppression and how those dynamics manifest in the attitudes and behaviors that occur in workshop settings. Students learn how to create space for critical conversations not only about inequity at the structural level but also as it gets reinforced through interpersonal interactions.

JusTalks First-Year Forum

In past winter terms, JusTalks has hosted a First-Year Forum to create a space for first-year students to engage in critical conversations about social justice and social change. The First-Year Forum has previously been planned, hosted, and facilitated by students enrolled in the JusTalks at Middlebury J-Term course. The JusTalks Peer Education Facilitators offered concurrent workshops on a variety of social justice topics for first-year students to explore what the issues mean for them and for the broader Middlebury community.  The First-Year Forum is intended to (i) foster the habits of listening empathically and responding constructively when engaging in complex discussions that address topics such as privilege and difference, and (ii) develop greater awareness of how to contribute actively to building an inclusive community. The knowledge, skills, and dispositions that students will develop in this course are consciously intended to be transferable to other settings and transformative for the Middlebury community.

JusTalks Roles

JusTalks Facilitators

Students can apply to be JusTalks Peer Education Facilitators for the year-long program. Facilitators meet weekly throughout the academic year to continue developing their facilitation skills and to increase their capacity to recognize and be responsive to the dynamics that occur in workshop settings. Facilitators also develop workshops on social justice topics of their choosing and that they find to be relevant to the campus cultural context that they facilitate for peers in various contexts (in residence halls, for student organizations, for athletic teams, in academic courses, etc.). This is a paid position, and facilitators are paid for each part of the work (weekly training, curriculum development, and workshop facilitation). The regular weekly commitment is two hours each week plus any time spent facilitating scheduled workshops.

JusTalks Coordinators

Each year, two students are selected to serve as the JusTalks Co-Coordinators. These students coordinate the logistics of the JusTalks Program, lead team meetings, and are the main points of contact for external correspondence. Coordinating logistics of the program include overseeing all projects, meeting regularly with the JusTalks advisor, spearheading recruitment for prospective facilitators and collaborations, coordinating with campus partners (in Residential Life, Student Activities, Athletics, student organizations, sports teams, and courses) to schedule JusTalks workshops by request, managing the JusTalks email, organizing the JusTalks training schedule to ensure facilitators are assigned to develop and facilitate requested workshops, and compiling assessment data for individual workshops and the overall program. This is a paid position that typically involves eight hours of work each week.

JusTalks Advisor

As of the 2019-2020 academic year, the JusTalks Program is supported by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to provide support and development to ensure the Program’s success and continuity. The Assistant Director of Education for Equity and Inclusion, Crystal Jones, serves as the JusTalks advisor, provides ongoing training and development for the JusTalks Peer Education Facilitators, and provides guidance and support for the JusTalks Coordinators in the management of the program logistics.