“This is by far our largest January Convocation crowd,” President Wolk stated as he welcomed back Castleton students for the spring semester. The event was titled “Let Freedom Sing.” Wolk kicked off the spring semester with some very exciting news for students and the Castleton community members attending the event. Many of the updates taking place around campus last semester are now complete.
Wolk discussed the up-to-date look and bright colors now present in the Jeffords Center. As well, a green house will be added to the campus sometime next month. The air conditioning system installed in the library is also ready to run when the weather gets warm. Most importantly, Wolk stated that the South Street cameras are indeed working, which was questioned by many around campus, last semester.
Several of the other changes that took place around campus may go unnoticed but they are part of Castleton’s commitment to being green. These changes include but are not limited to the placement of occupancy censors on bathroom toilets, a new dishwasher for Huden, campus-wide green cleaning products, and the electricity usage is being monitored diligently.
“The campus is changing in amazing ways, and [Wolk] cares about every aspect of the change,” Samantha Greeno, who is the Commuter Student of the Semester, stated.
In accordance with becoming a green campus, Wolk formally signed the Presidents Climate Commitment in front of those in attendance. The document states the college’s dedication to fight global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wolk expressed his enthusiasm for students encouraging him to do the right thing and become part of this green commitment. It was important for Wolk to sign the formal document in front of students and members of the community.
Wolk also announced a new campus-wide initiative called CHANGE. The letters in the word CHANGE stand for Creating, Honoring, Advocating, and Nurturing Gender Equity. “We have established what I hope will be an enduring and empowering group in order to promote gender equity at Castleton,” Wolk said in an e-mail to group members.
The CHANGE group will put forward efforts to eliminate sexual assault, sexual harassment, and homophobia. Wolk stated that the initiative will be implementing new community education and prevention programs designed to change the culture, recommend change to current policies and programs such as Soundings and FYS, and evaluate current and future programs with a focus on measuring cultural change.
“Although we are at the beginning stages of this initiative, I have hope,” said Linda Olson who is a co-chair. “The CHANGE Initiative brings together people from all parts of the community: students, faculty, student life, public safety, and the administration with the goal of changing the campus culture so that gender equity is central.”
Wolk even stated in his e-mail to group members that space for the CHANGE Initiative would be reserved in the plans for the new Campus Center.
“I think that President Wolk is an extremely genuine and caring guy. I believe that he is truly doing the very best that he can for Castleton and the community,” Greeno said. This statement most likely resonates with many students and community members as President Wolk has spear-headed Castleton State College’s green initiative and has begun carving out a place for the college in the future.
Wolk also introduced students to the seven newest members of the CSC faculty and staff, announced the Commuter Student of the Semester, gave an award to Darla Patch for outstanding service to the college, and announced Ken Ward as the Employee of the Semester for his dedication to the college and the students.
“Let Freedom Sing” was also designed to honor the memory and inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Esau Pritchett and Dr. Michael Kiernan recited with intensity, three days after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the most famous speeches given by these two American leaders before their untimely deaths.
Both King and Kennedy fought for a nation of wisdom, acceptance, compassion, and justice.
With all of the changes that are occurring around campus, Wolk is forming CSC into “what it ought to be,”-a place for wisdom, acceptance, compassion, and justice.