Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Middlebury College students take a realistic look at challenges facing a small Vermont town

Read Abby Goodnough's story about Starksboro, Vermont's consultation with Middlebury College students here. Here is an excerpt:
Like other New England towns rich in history and tradition, Starksboro, 20 miles south of Burlington and population 1,900, is eager to preserve its uniqueness in the face of growth. But hoping to head off the conflict that often stymies planning, this fall it tried a new approach.

Starksboro asked students from nearby Middlebury College to spend the semester interviewing its residents to document what they value most about the place. It intends to use their thoughts to influence decisions about its future.

Here's a telling quote from one student involved in the project:

“I’m guilty, like most of us, of really romanticizing Vermont life and Vermont towns,” said Max Kanter, a junior from Phoenix. “Now I have a sense of the challenge they have to stay afloat.”

The story touches on many rural and New England themes and is well worth a read.

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