Castleton University already has a presence in Rutland with the art gallery, polling institute, Spartan Arena and a partnership with the Paramount Theater – but it could have so much more.
Education majors could help students who are struggling in the Rutland School system. Business majors could partner with Rutland to bring in revenue and market the city. And health Science majors could work alongside staff at Rutland Regional Medical Center to provide assistance for those struggling with sickness, injuries, and diseases.
College students have the ability to impact the community in many positive ways and having more programs in Rutland will allow students to expand their knowledge from the classroom to the work force. Castleton University students will have more of an opportunity to engage with professionals if they are centered in the community.
The partnership with the Paramount Theater has shown to be very beneficial to both the community and university. The community has the ability to engage with college students while watching plays, musical performances, and prominent speakers.
Also, Castleton University’s Polling Institute has been able to draw in community attention through telephone surveys on various issues in the news. They also have made it possible for many community members to take in the current electoral debates at the paramount theater.
In 2004, Americas Promise notes that postsecondary institutions can serve as a catalyst, conveners, providers, partners, innovators, and civic generators.
Castleton University could expand service learning programs and internships for students that put them in a community based setting. From there, as a university we could build initiatives designed to provide training, technical assistance, and building supports to the Rutland community.
It is not hard to envision Castleton University students making an impact.
Some, however, may argue that such a move would ruin the “small campus” environment that many people have grown accustomed to. They’ll say we don’t need to expand further in Rutland and need to focus more on growth within our own campus. This would include adding more dormitories and parking space.
But, to prosper these days, it is essential that students reach out of their comfort zones and strive to be better students, and more importantly community members.
And while some may see Rutland in a negative light, we see opportunity for these students.