Growing up in Vermont I had the opportunity to attend our annual Town Meeting. Held on the first Tuesday in March, it’s one of the most well-known Vermont traditions and an example of democracy in its purest form. I remember sitting and listening to my fellow community members raise their questions and concerns about the town budget, the school district budget and other items of concern. Some folks just listened; some spoke passionately about their issues (usually a tax increase); some argued, and others just applauded. The important thing is that each year these meetings allowed residents in my town to gather and plan for the future. I saw my town grow stronger and become more intimately aware of the issues facing our community.
After seeing many of my classmates and fellow medical students become involved in our small UVM College of Medicine community in many different ways, I, as well as other members of the Student Council, began to realize that we could be more effective by creating a forum for conversation. So began the monthly Town Hall Meetings. These meetings became a place for the members of Student Council, the Wellness Committee, and the Student Education Group (SEG) to gather and discuss the affairs of each group. These meetings also create a safe space in the middle of the day for students to ask questions, make suggestions, and voice concerns to all of the main student groups. The Town Hall Meetings are for students only; no faculty or staff attend these meetings. This allows students to voice concerns and make suggestions with their peers. Having the meetings during lunchtime allows students easy access to the meetings, instead of having to wait until 5 p.m. or later for the Executive Board meetings, or other group meetings.
In the past these meetings have led to great discussions between the different student groups, and between various classmates. These discussions have strengthened partnerships between the three groups, and allowed for suggestions to come to light and be implemented. Hopefully these monthly meetings will continue to bring forth new ideas and conversations that will strengthen our community.
Town Hall meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month in MedEd 301 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. All students are welcome to participate in any capacity, from asking questions about creating a Student Interest Group, to making a suggestion to SEG, or learning about wellness resources available at the UVM College of Medicine.