An interview with current GMC student: Lili Pappaterra by Krista Shugart

Name: Liliara Pappaterra
Year: Junior
Major: Adventure Education
Hometown: Roxbury, New Jersey

As a transfer student where did you transfer from and how do the schools differ?

My first school was County College of Morris (CCM).  It is a community college, entirely made up of commuter students.  The student dynamic here is very different.  At a county college, you meet people of all ages, from high school students trying to get ahead to an eighty year old who finally followed her dream of college!  Because people are coming and going everyday, I could count on seeing different people at the college according to the day of the week and the time of day!  People who go to county college most often work and study; their lives are more complex as they juggle multiple work, school, family, money, and adult responsibilities.  Green Mountain is a little freer, and students are generally younger so they have a lot more leisure time.  The small community and close-knit style makes Green Mountain College feel like its own little world.

 

What do you like about GMC?

I love the environmental mission and the knowledge and passion of the professors.  The community is full students with unique backgrounds and stories to tell.  Its great living in a small community in which I see the same faces everyday and can know people at a deeper level than you can at larger schools.  I have found good people here.

Who is one of your favorite professors? Why?

My favorite professor this semester was Chuck Domenie, instructor of Outdoor Living Skills.  As his first class at GMC, we got to watch his growth and development as a professor while we also grew in our outdoor camping skills.  It was a class based on doing and physically practicing skills as opposed to your traditional “sit and take notes” class.  Much it was based on reflection and understanding the experiences that we shared.  The emphasis on giving and receiving feedback and overall teamwork set the mood for a very relaxed and informal class setting with a lot of inside jokes!  At the same time, we maintained a level of mutual respect between teachers and students and learned a lot. 

What is your favorite GMC class so far…why?

My favorite classes were marked by memorable experiences and moments of full interest and learning.  Things like doing body condition scores on cattle, checking on sheep and chickens during Basic Vet Care and learning to throw atlatl, making bow drill fire, and braiding rope out of plant fiber in Indigenous America come quickly to mind. 

My favorite class so far, however, was Program Planning and Leadership with Thayer Raines.  We learned to facilitate the process of human and group development through games and activities.  Shorter class sessions were followed up with long labs in which we taught each other the games and activities we prepared.  At this time, Thayer would step back, actually taking a facilitator role as opposed to the teacher role, a new experience for me in a school setting.  The highlight was reaching out to the community by facilitating activities for the elementary school kids for several weeks.  The after school program was in serious need of help, after many of their plans for the year fell through, and the kids were great! Their bright eyes and sweet smiles, their ability to fall over their own feet and the way that they craved your love and attention made this very memorable.

What is one or two of your favorite clubs/activities on campus?

I never thought I would be a Contra Dancer.  In fact, I had no knowledge of contra dance until I happened to walk in to an advertised dance in the East Room on the first week of school.  As the school year went on, I started going to contra dances with New Folks club in nearby towns and helping them to organize another dance in the spring semester.  One of the highlights was a dance festival in Saratoga Springs NY called Flurry.  Three days of Contra, Latin Dancing, Ballroom, Cha-cha, Waltz, and others!  Amazing!!!  I have done some really unique things through the club like traditional Scottish dancing and even a techno contra!  I was blessed with the opportunity to bring a lot of friends from outside of the club to try contra dancing and they all had a great time.  I would recommend this club without a doubt!

Also if you are new to GMC, I would recommend checking out the Movement Studio, Boulder Cave, and Blue Moon Raccoon Coffee house.  At the movement studio I have attended Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Self-defense, Tae Kwon do, Shakti Tribal Dance (Belly Dance) and even fire dancing!  Students often teach a lot the classes and all of them run on student enthusiasm.  If you are feeling active in a different way, come hang upside down in the boulder cave for a while!  You are sure to meet interesting people who are usually wiling to teach you a trick or two!  The Coffee house is for the more mellow nights when you crave a milkshake or snack and want to hang out, talk, watch movies, and listen to bands & poets.  All of those places are integral to the student life at GMC.

 

What are your plans for the summer?

This summer is going to be very exciting!  I have two jobs, each one representing an integral part of my life at GMC.    The first is a marketing and networking position at the nearby Larson Farm in Wells.  The second job is directly related to my Adventure Education major; I will be guiding white water rafting trips in the Adirondacks!  

At the Larson farm, my job is all about community building!  This smaller scale and organic farm produces raw milk, delicious eggs, and grass fed beef.  My goal this summer is to use a web page called www.yourfarmstand.com to bring the area farmers together and using the online market option as well as the traditional farmers markets that they already participate in.   I am very excited to be working with professor Eleanor Tison on an independent study that will give me sociology research credits for the project.  This gives me the opportunity to contribute to the Farm Intensive Semester at Green Mountain, as I will host the farm students at the Larson’s and teach them about the way that sustainability happens here!  I intend to facilitate some great group discussions about different ways that people can be sustainable and exchange ideas among the group members!  I would like to also help them build on community connections that they can use while they are in school and after they graduate.

At Wild Waters Outdoor Center, my life will have a different rhythm.  I will be living the active and fast-paced lifestyle of a white water raft guide on the Sacandaga and the Hudson Rivers.  I will get a chance to practice a lot of the theory and work on my hard skills from the Recreation classes!  There is a lot of human development and pushing of personal boundaries on the part of participants, which must be matched by my ability to frame, execute, and debrief the activity.   Personally, I love the water and the excitement of the fast paced river.  I will be camping out while I am there, living in a tent, practicing the outdoor skills I have picked up at the college and previous recreation jobs.  The opportunity to meet and get to know the other guides on the river, experience the water several days a week, and the constant practice of new skills will make me a much better person, I hope, by summer’s end.

By simple virtue of living at the Larson farm, I practice sustainability, simple living, and environmentally conscious consumption.  Already I see a shift in my way of thinking about my relationship to the environment and I know that I still have much to learn.  While camping out at Wild Waters Outdoor center, studying the river, and gaining an ecological and human understanding that go with rafting, I know I will be a more confident, capable adult.  By coming to Green Mountain, I made the conscious choice to seek a lifestyle that is more environmentally conscious.  By seeking these jobs and aggressively looking for the right opportunity, I get to live it!


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