April 2, 2014
Kaylie Hale of Underhill has received the Vermont Campus Compact’s 2014 Engaged Student Award for Johnson State College. A senior majoring in psychology and sociology at JSC, she will receive the award at the VCC’s annual Engaged Campus Forum on April 4 at St. Michael’s College.
“Kaylie is a well-rounded volunteer who has a passion for giving back to the community and sharing that passion with others,” said Krista Swahn, JSC’s director of student activities and community service, who nominated Hale for the award.
Hale’s first connection to JSC came as a high school student, when she participated in the Upward Bound program on campus for four consecutive summers.
Since enrolling at JSC, she has participated in eight alternative-break experiences as part of JSC’s Badger Alternative Breaks program, starting with a trip her freshman year to Chicago, where she and other JSC students worked on urban poverty and community development issues.
The JSC program is associated with Break Away, a national organization created in 1991 to support alternative break groups on U.S. college campuses. Rather than travel to traditional spring break locations, students perform community service projects tied to specific social issues.
In addition to volunteering in Chicago, Hale has twice helped with cleanup and restoration projects in New Orleans following in Hurricane Katrina; worked on environmental efforts at the Catalina Island Preserve in California; toiled side-by-side with high school dropouts to renovate housing for low-income residents in West Virginia; and worked at an animal shelter in Chestertown, Md. Hale also participated in leadership training in Atlanta and last summer was chosen as a as a site leader for a national Alternative Break Citizenship (ABC) school at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
“I consider myself an alternative breaker for life,” Hale said. “As you travel and participate in these programs, you learn the root cause of social issues and how you can have an impact. Then you begin to understand why it’s important to make the community your priority and make life choices around what’s good for the community. I believe the local community is as important as the national or international community.”
To that end, Hale has volunteered extensively at JSC and in the community. Among other commitments, she currently co-chairs the Badger Alternative Break program; assists at the free, weekly Johnson CommUnity meal program; and helps at-risk youth with their school work through the Laraway Homework Club. Through her affiliation with JSC’s SERVE Local program, she also helps coordinate the college’s twice-yearly blood drives and the annual Drop & Swap, which connects area residents with donated goods and clothing free of charge.
VCC is a statewide consortium of 18 college and university presidents committed to “creating a flourishing democracy.” The Engaged Student Award is presented annually to a student at a VCC-member campus who invests significant time and energy in activities that promote and support engagement at their institution and among their peers.
For more information, contact Krista Swahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802-635-1478.