Castleton University’s long history of civic engagement has been made possible because of clubs, organizations and classes on campus. But soon students will have a new opportunity to engage and change the campus with their own ideas.
Vice President of the Student Government Association Dalton-Jesse Cummins is leading the creation of Project 1787. Cummins’ project will allow students to write proposals to improve Castleton’s campus. The winning proposal will be awarded $1,787 to bring their idea to life.
“Mariah O’Hara was talking to me be about stuff that has been done in the past. She told about this project where they (SGA) gave out money to students at random to do a project if they came up with a proposal,” Cummins said.
He thought that it would be cool to do again and it would help people understand what SGA can do for the campus.
“The cool part about this is it lets students and residents understand what can be done in their community. And when someone can see what they do on campus, it’s really helpful and effective to the community to show what an idea can do when it comes true,” Cummins added.
Cummins plans to send out emails, make flyers and personally recommend students to participate.
He also said he hopes commuters will submit ideas to Project 1787.
“I believe that commuters are singled out and this would be a great opportunity for commuters to get involved and let them feel like they are part of this campus,” Cummins said.
He hopes the project will grow in the future and that SGA will become a stronger symbol of community on campus. Others on SGA, like Vice President of Community Relations Emma Blaiklock, share the vision of Project 1787.
Blaiklock doesn’t have a major role in the project but is an active supporter. She believes this project will help students have their voices and ideas heard in a way that hasn't happened for a long time.
“People who really want to initiate a change on campus are going to be able to create a real plan and propose it to be given money to make it a reality,” Blaiklock said.
She hopes that the project will allow changes to be made and for students to realize even the smallest idea can be supported and made into reality.
“We have an incredible make-up of students enrolled in our university and I can't wait to see and hear what they think can improve the quality of life here at Castleton,” Blaiklock said. “I think the project really projects the Castleton way of encouraging and helping others to be able to initiate change for the better.”
Cummins has support from the Castleton leaders as well.
“I endorse it because I think it’s a nice strategy to get people to look at the college and meet the mission of SGA, which is creating projects to better the lives of students, the community and the university,” Dean of Students Dennis Proulx said.
Proulx believes that Cummins and SGA have built a strategy that uses their resources as an incentive for people to think creatively.
“One-thousand-seven-hundred-eighty-seven dollars is a lot of money to create some change on our campus. It’s not a huge amount, but it’s a good amount. I hope it will allow people to start thinking, looking and figuring out low cost ways of improving our environment,” Proulx said.