Green Mountain College makes a concerted effort to engage the community in numerous ways.
The Meeting House
The Meeting House is a newly renovated historic building at the gateway of Poultney’s Downtown. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy helped us formally open the renovated Bentley Hall following our 177th commencement ceremony in 2014. The Queen Anne-Colonial Revival house, built in 1900 and historically known as the C. W. Humphrey House, underwent substantive renovations, and now serves as a community center for the town of Poultney and the college. The project won a 2014 Preservation Trust of Vermont award for creative re-purposing of a historic building.
College & Main Sustainability Newsletter
As part of Sustainability 2020 and Poultney 2020‘s effort to build connections between Poultney and GMC, the College & Main newsletter was created to communicate sustainability events and initiatives happening on campus or in the Town. The newsletter, which is released monthly and distributed around campus and at local Poultney businesses, is also be available for download here. View past issues of College & Main below (PDF). Production of the newsletter will continue in a quarterly format starting in the fall of 2015.
Community Stakeholder Engagement
Green Mountain College has a long and rich history of engaging community stakeholders through various means in relation to planning. These efforts were formalized in 2014 in the Community Stakeholder Engagement Protocol. The protocol is only meant to serve as one method of engagement. For example, the College often has community conversations open to the public and engages in two significant volunteer days per year. GMC also continues to play a strong role in carrying-out the Poultney 2020 community-building initiative.
Poultney 2020 is a deep partnership between members of the College and the larger community of Poultney. It was initiated by students due to their strong desire to become more involved with the local community and create new ways to build social connections in town.
In the spring of 2013, the effort evolved into an official program, representing a partnership between the John F. and Dianne S. Brennan Professor of Business and Economics Matt Mayberry, the Poultney Downtown Revitalization Committee, and the Sustainability Office’s Community Outreach Program. The program launched with a conference, which took place at both college and town venues. By the end of the day, over 150 attendees voted on four priorities to focus efforts on to build the vibrancy of the community. The priorities included the creation of a community art center, enhancement of our local food system, a main street park, and promotion of Poultney’s outdoor recreational resources. Three of the groups have continued work based on members’ interests and are making significant progress in achieving their goals. Students have played a critical role in each group as they bring in their creativity, youthfulness, and great talents to the table. Groups consist of Poultney community members, faculty, staff, students, and even people from out of Town who have a vested interest in seeing Poultney flourish as a hub of arts, culture, and recreation for the region. In the spring of 2014, the program celebrated its one-year anniversary with an all-day green up effort throughout the Town, followed by a festival of free food and music at Li High School on Main Street. Each of the group’s shared progress on their focus areas and hosted activities to engage the community, including Shakespeare performances, poetry readings, slate drawing for kids, and recreational runs on the trail system.
Poultney Earth Fair
The Annual Poultney Earth Fair is held on Earth Day at Poultney High School every year, and has been going for eight years strong. Planned in partnership between GMC, Poultney are schools and the local community, the themes focus on promoting sustainability. Themes include: “A Balanced Life, A Balanced Earth,” “Powering into the Future,” “Affordable Green,” “Growing Green Together” and “Old Ways, New Days.”
Previous participants include Central Vermont Power Service, Merck Forest, N.O.F.A., Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District, Slate Valley Museum, Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, Vermont Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy.