Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 81.82
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date Feb. 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Green Mountain College
IN-24: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Ryan Ihrke
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Innovative Support for Community Arts Organization, Stone Valley Arts

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

In 2013, Green Mountain College partnered with the Poultney Downtown Revitalization Committee (PDRC) and the greater Poultney community to inspire local entrepreneurship and bring together the resources needed to support a significant new revitalization effort. We call this initiative Poultney 2020, and through community conversations, we envision a place where small town and small college have partnered to preserve the local culture, protect the natural environment, create financial security and improve the quality of life—a model for sustainable rural communities in the 21st century.

The following year, after listening to community residents say Poultney lacked an organized arts scene, Poultney 2020, spearheaded by former Green Mountain College professor, Dick Weis, founded the 501(c)3 certified nonprofit, Stone Valley Arts (SVA), which immediately began to serve its community in the performing, literary, and visual arts.

In 2016, Green Mountain College’s Environmental Ethics course worked with Poultney 2020 to focus on five themes of community engagement as a semester-long project: multi-generational connections, environmental and community literacy, sustainable food systems, communication and social capital, and Stone Valley Arts collaboration. Through this last focus, students rallied around two main goals: help SVA to have a permanent home for the arts in Poultney and to increase collaboration between the college and the nonprofit’s work.

In order for a permanent home to be established, Stone Valley Arts was tasked with raising $25,000 by the Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV), who after community and financial support had been demonstrated, would donate a handicap accessible historic building to the organization. In order to achieve greater collaboration, students hosted environmental art workshops and participated in exhibitions, and they wrote two grants that would benefit the capital campaign.

Requesting funds from the Student Government Association and the Student Campus Greening Fund in the name of increasing social sustainability and providing greater access to arts and culture in rural America, students were approved for a full student membership to Stone Valley Arts for the 2017 year. Typically, the college is unable to provide donations to outside organizations; however, the students here found an innovative way to achieve both their goals and helped SVA succeed in their capital campaign, which now ensures that the arts organization will remain in Poultney, benefiting not only the students, but almost more importantly the whole region and greater community, many of whom are unable to financially contribute and access the culture of the arts.

It is no doubt that Green Mountain College is a clear-sighted and visionary supporter of Stone Valley Arts, and this partnership is slated to be most innovative and successful for years to come. By GMC providing arts memberships for all its students, the college is also addressing several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 4 (4a), Goal 8 (8.3, 8.9), Goal 9 (9.1), and Goal 11 (11.4).

Without the support of the college, SVA would not have achieved its capital campaign goal, and the donation of a building worth approximately $250,000 would not have been finalized through the PTV. Since SVA provides access to the arts for all, the innovative partnership and redefining of community truly builds the infrastructure for fostering and furthering innovation, especially in a safe, sustainable, and inclusive community space.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement
Visual and Performing Arts

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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