Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Indeed, it's November. I'm having a hard time believing this to be true, mostly because I am not experiencing a school semester like I have for the past 16 years. Even though I work with students everyday and hear all about their semesters, it's very different not experiencing it for myself. November has seemingly crept up on me - I was watching some TV last night and the number of Christmas commercials was a little startling!

Work continues to go well; I am currently working on planning a first-year service trip for students during J-Term (also known as "winter term" or the month-long term at Middlebury between first and second semester. Instead of having several weeks off at Christmas, Middlebury students have the holidays off, but come right back after New Years for a month-long term where they take one class and are able to take other fun workshops, go skiing and enjoy a slightly more relaxed pace. They then have a week off at the very beginning of February and return for second semester then), which has taken up quite a bit of time. I've been searching for potential sites for out students to go to, which has been surprisingly hard.

The recession has definitely negatively impacted the service world - staff cuts and pay decreases make it more difficult for organizations to accept volunteers, which seems counter intuitive. Because the trip will be over a weekend, most organizations would have to make special arrangements to have staffing at their site, and most of them simply don't have the energy or funding to do this additional work during this economic climate. I did make some great progress today and found a few organizations that have worthy projects for these students to spend their weekend with.

I'm also in the midst of planning the Martin Luther King Day of Service, advising student organizations, planning Thanksgiving Basket donations to the local food shelf and getting ready for "Giving Trees," the annual holiday gift donation project. I'm keeping busy for sure!

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