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Delicate Balance Projects

GMC's capstone course, A Delicate Balance, culminates in a project that combines a student’s academic area of focus with civic engagement. Students take the lead on the projects from beginning to end, and many have made a lasting impact on campus and in the community. The following are some recent examples.

Debunking JunkDebunking Junk Fashion Show
Cody Currier, Amanda Elder, James Robertson
The Debunking Junk project culminated in an ecologically based fashion show featuring outfits made entirely out of found, free or recycled materials. The design and concepts for outfits represent concerns for a more sustainable future, including over consumption, agriculture, safe sex, and others. In addition to the actual garment, each concept included some performance aspect relating to the theme, from monologues and poems to interpretive dancing. The overall mission was to creatively promote social change using fashion and performance. Final fashion pieces were showcased in a mixed media recycled fashion show December 5, 2009.

Outdoor ClassroomOutdoor Classroom
Ashley Staron, Jenna Darling, Graham Johns, Scott Perkins
The goal for this project was to design and build an outdoor classroom on the GMC campus. Construction used low environmental impact concepts and materials, and was completed during Earth Week 2010. Benches are constructed from local slate. The classroom seats 30 - 100 people in an ampitheater style space excavated from the side of a hill near SAGE Hall.

350.org Otter Creek Waterfall Project
Erik Debbink
The 350.org Otter Creek Waterfall Project raised awareness regarding the global importance of climate change. On October 24, 2009, people from all over Vermont met to kayak the Otter Creek waterfall in downtown Middlebury 350 times or 350 vertical feet. Why 350? 350 parts per million is the number scientists believe is the upper limit of carbon dioxide safe to have in the atmosphere. The goal was to set a record for the largest number of boaters paddling over the falls from this easily viewed spot, highlighting the need to reduce global atmospheric carbon levels.

Killington Lodge Greenhouse Project
Katie Kerr, Evan Bassarab
This project investigated the construction of a greenhouse near Killington Lodge, and explored whether this may be a sustainable way to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to resort & hospitality management students. The project also explored how a greenhouse could reduce carbon dioxide emissions resulting from food transport, and how a greenhouse could be used as part of the RHM curriculum.


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