It’s no secret that Castleton College President Dave Wolk is always putting the college and his students’ needs first. So when the idea of expanding the college into Rutland came up, an idea that would produce numerous new opportunities for students, Wolk wasted no time setting this plan in motion.
Last Thursday night, his efforts were unveiled in an open house at the new Castleton Downtown building in the Opera House on Merchants Row in Rutland. The location will house the Castleton Polling Institute, Center for Community Engagement, Center for Entrepreneurial Programs and Center for Schools.
During his remarks, Wolk touched on why he has so much passion and love for this school and city.
“Because I love our students and believe this is a great opportunity for them develop themselves and a real love connection with Rutland,” he said.
Being a Rutland native himself, he said he grew up in the area and sees Rutland as a place full of potential.
The goal of the downtown project is to create a stronger relationship between the community of Rutland and the students of Castleton. By doing this, there will be new facilities and programs for students to be a part of. As for the Rutland region, it will have the advantage of having fresh, young, intelligent college students involved and participating in local organizations.
Student Hollie Nop, a senior at Castleton, explained why the city of Rutland is such a prime location.
“With Rutland being so close in proximity to Castleton, there would finally be a strong visible presence of the college in Rutland,” she said.
Nop also talked about how not only will this generate more internships for students, it help drive Rutland’s economy.
Professor Christopher Boettcher, who attended the open house, agreed with the assumption that the addition of Castleton Downtown is exactly what the school and area needs.
“This expansion will allow a connection with the Rutland region and Castleton students and is the biggest opportunity for everyone as a whole,” he said.
A main component of this ongoing project, college officials said, is the Center for Entrepreneurial Programs, which aims to match college students and programs with the needs of the city’s local businesses. This allows students more opportunities to gather career experience, networking opportunities and a mentorship from business owners around Rutland.
Castleton College’s mission consists of the promise to help grow the region’s communities, education programs and local organizations. Chrispin White is the man in charge of pinpointing the needs of the students and then meeting those needs with internships and civic projects.
“I plan on going out and finding the needs and goals of students to create a database that will allow me to pick out the most discussed necessities of the students,” he said.