Name: Heather Marsh
Hometown: Pittsfield, MA
What do you like about GMC?
How is GMC different from other colleges/universities? Green Mountain College is such a special place. It makes me feel like I am really part of a community. No one is anonymous at GMC. I stayed for graduation to sing at commencement with the choir and I found that I knew almost all of the names of the graduating seniors after just one year at school. I was friends with a few of them and it was sad to see them go! People take the time to really know each other and build strong bonds. Students who identify themselves with counter culture find the school especially welcoming. I feel like I can wear and act how I want at school, I am much more self-conscious out in the “real world”. Students are nurtured in a way that allows them to explore aspects of themselves that are repressed in other contexts and I believe that students leave school more powerful because of this. When I am asked about what kind of school I go to I always bring up the fact that students show up to class barefoot on a regular basis, this always elicits confused expressions. It gives people an idea about how laid back GMC is.
Do you have a favorite professor?
I love being a Sociology/Anthropology major because it means working closely with Eleanor Tison and Mark Dailey. The soc/anth program is small at GMC but I feel that it can work to my advantage because I get so much one on one time with my professors. Mark and Eleanor are masters of the subjects that they teach but what makes them special is their commitment to their students. I feel that they really try to know their students and teach in a highly personal way.
What clubs are you involved with on campus?
I am involved with a few clubs on campus such as Intercultural Awareness Club, Anthropology Club, and Shakti Tribal Dancing, but the one I am most enthusiastic about is Activism@GMC. I have learned so much and built so many strong connections through this club. Club activism has a strong presence on campus but we do not isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. Last semester it seemed like we went on adventures every weekend! It was exhausting and exhilarating. We went to Virginia for Mountain Justice Spring Break where we learned about mountain top removal and nonviolent direct action and then participated in two non-violent direct actions, we were trained to be trainers in NDA in New York City and then trained a few groups in Vermont, we joined Occupy Vermont in Burlington to show Obama that we were not happy, and participated in Power Shift New York, to name a few. We were able to do so much because we were able to get so much support from each other. We already have a lot of events planned for next semester and we are excited to get more people involved!
What are you doing this summer?
I have been working as a caretaker of sorts this summer. I am a babysitter and I look after a woman with dementia a couple days a week, but my full time job is with an organization called Berkshire County Arc. It places people with mental disabilities in community homes that look no different than any other house. There are about 30 BCarc homes in Berkshire County. Some of the individuals that live in these homes are high functioning and have jobs, but all individuals are active within their communities. I have spent most of my time thus far at a home that houses five older male individuals. They are all non-verbal and need assistance with hygiene and meals. The first time I worked at the house I was very intimidated! The house was huge and old and the individuals looked very different than people I usually interact with. After I worked there for a couple of weeks I started to get to know the guys and all of their quirks. Things that I used to find scary were now endearing. My co-workers are also very fun to be with. I feel that I am learning a lot about human diversity by working with this organization. I study people in school but the only way to really understand them is to put in your time and treat them like people. My work this summer has been enjoyable and humbling. I have made new friends and I am now very comfortable working with people that on the surface seem very different from me.
What class are you looking forward to next semester?
I am excited about all of my classes next semester. People are always surprised when I tell them about my courses because they are so unique. Some of the courses I am taking next semester are Intro to Shamanism, Ethnoecology, and Feminist Philosophy. I am looking forward to taking Feminist Philosophy very much. I am taking this course not only for the content but also because of the professor teaching it, Susanne Claxton. I have taken two courses with Susanne so far and I am looking forward to taking many more! I learned something new from her every class, things that I could never have learned in a library. It is so important to find professors that inspire you.