Southern Vermont College and Bennington Museum Honored at Vermont Campus Compact Higher Education Conference

April 24, 2012

Several members of the Southern Vermont College (SVC) community were named finalists or award recipients for the 2012 Vermont Campus Compact (VCC) Higher Education Conference, as a result of their commitment to service-learning. VCC is a consortium of Vermont’s colleges and universities committed to civic engagement. The Bennington Museum was also recognized as an Engaged Community Partner for its ongoing service-learning work with students, faculty, and staff at Southern Vermont College. 

On Thursday, April 12, an SVC student, faculty member, and staff member were honored for their accomplishments at a statewide Recognition Reception and Ceremony at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Montpelier, Vt.

Karen Rouse of Bennington received the Commitment to Service and Engagement Award for her community involvement. Currently a nontraditional sophomore majoring in Healthcare Management and Advocacy at SVC, Rouse has dedicated much of her time with the United Way of Bennington County. At United Way, she worked in the dental program and helped to launch a program initiative to combat hunger and to aid the homeless in Bennington County. She has built a relationship with several community partners outside of SVC, including volunteering her time during many summers as a cook at a camp for children with special needs. Rouse is a Licensed Nurse Assistant at the Visiting Nurses Association in Bennington.

Learning Differences Coordinator David Lindenberg was a finalist for the Campus Leadership for Civic Engagement Award, honoring his role in the Quest for Success program and his role as Coordinator of the Office of Learning Differences. The Quest for Success course is required by first-year students and establishes a link between the community and campus. Through the service-learning requirement in his Quest for Success course, Lindenberg has involved students in planning, implementing, and assessing projects in the Bennington community. As a result, his students learn teamwork, organization, problem-solving, decision-making, and budgeting. After taking Lindenberg's courses, students are prepared to become effective leaders in the communities they enter upon graduating from the College.

Professor Lynda Sinkiewich of SVC’s Hunter Division of Humanities was a finalist for the Award for Excellence in Community-Based Teaching. The award recognizes innovative teaching within a curriculum employing service-learning or community-based research that develops student voice, civic agency, and critical thinking, using real-life application and relevance. Professor Sinkiewich is an engaged educator who fosters student involvement and leadership in the community. With the students in her Creative Writing class, she organized a contest for local elementary school students. With the students in her Effective Speaking class, she organized the first Dorothy Sarnoff Speech Contest at SVC, which involved students from local middle schools. Sinkiewich has also been active in promoting literacy by encouraging advanced-level literature students to be a part of literacy events at the elementary school in Arlington, Vt.

As a community partner of SVC, the Bennington Museum received the Engaged Community Partner Award. The award is given to a community partner by a VCC member, like SVC, in recognition of the support for the campus’ civic mission. In partnership with SVC’s Quest for Success service-learning course for the past six years, the Bennington Museum’s key staff members have served as model service-learning and civic-engagement educators to SVC students in various teaching and support capacities.

Also, in attendance at the VCC Higher Education Conference was SVC student Tyler Morton of New Bedford, Mass., who was one of 162 students from across the country to receive a Newman Civic Fellows Award this year by Campus Compact, the national coalition of college and university presidents. The Newman Civic Fellows Award recognizes inspiring college student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. Morton was one of two students from Vermont who was recognized.