On Thursday, Jan. 31, Castleton University celebrated its fourth annual Castleton Engaged event. The 1787 Room in the Campus Center was filled with loved ones, students and faculty as students were given a chance to present their projects. Six project groups presented their work in what they called a “flash panel.”
After a short opening statement by Dean of Special Academic Programs Ingrid Johnston and President David Wolk, each project was presented without introduction.
Wolk started his opening remarks stating, “As the students know, when they come to Castleton, we expect them to make a difference in the university, as they make a difference in the community, before they all go out to make a big difference in the world.”
From there, it was clear that the event hit home for Wolk,
"It’s such a wonderful thing to see how students transform, and then I’m always thinking how students transform us," he said.
The topics moved as quickly, and gripped the audience's attention. Everyone in the room fell quiet while they listened to all of the proposals. The projects ranged from worldly topics such as "Heal Kenya" and the sensitive issue of Syrian refugees, to things that impact our immediate community such as tutoring programs, composting, biodiversity and voter registration amongst the student body.
After the presentations came an award ceremony conducted by Director of Community Engagement Chrispin White.
“We want to make sure that our partnerships really give something out that’s meaningful for everyone,” White said.
The sole award that was presented for the night was the Community Partner Award, which was given to the Rutland County Meals on Wheels. Speaking on behalf of the Meals on Wheels program was Joe Mark.
Mark said a great deal about the program and the people in the community that keep it running. He then invited all Castleton students to join the Meals on Wheels effort, ending with a story of Canice Thierry, and how the organization personally delivered her dinner on Christmas.
“She was the MOW client that I was most concerned about that year,” Mark said, “so on Christmas Day, I went to her house and brought her the same Christmas dinner we had had.”
“You would’ve thought I had given her the moon. Little did she know she had given me much more than I gave her,” Mark finished emotionally.
There were many projects at the event that didn’t get to be presented during the flash panel. After the presentations were done, the crowd got a chance to converse with not only those who had just done presentations, but also with people whose projects were in their infantile or proposal stages. These projects seemed to be much more localized than their presented counterparts.
When asked what project stood out to the presenting students the overwhelming response was Heal Kenya.
Patrick Cote-Abel, a presenter during the event said that, “her's (Teagan Waite, the presenter for "Heal Kenya") was something she was passionate about well before she had even come [to Castleton].”